Humble ISD JASON Argonauts Diana Avila and Amaya Douglas returned from their weeklong stay at the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas with many new experiences to share.
Humble High School 9th-grader, Amaya Douglas and Kingwood Middle School seventh-grade science teacher, Diana Avila were chosen to participate as JASON Argonauts in the spring of 2016. JASON Learning’s Student and Teacher Argonaut Program give selected eighth-grade students and middle school science teachers the opportunity to work side-by-side with scientists and engineers at research locations, similar to the Cape Eleuthera Institute. Both Avila and Douglas were joined by 20 other students and teachers in the Bahamas for their stay at Cape Eleuthera. To be chosen for the JASON Argonaut experience, students and teachers must apply through a highly competitive and rigorous selection process.
Filleting fresh fish was one of the many firsts for the Humble ISD JASON Argonauts this summer.Teacher Argonauts had the opportunity to participate in the full student experience but as teachers. There were lots of new experiences for Avila, even as an adult.
“As an educator my experience benefited me the most because I was exposed to what really works,” Avila said. “I got to see some awesome things at Camp Eleuthera. The way they interacted with the students and the expectations they had for us to be part of the community was remarkable.”
Dissecting squids, cliff diving, swimming in deep parts of the ocean and snorkeling were a few of the adventures they were able to experience throughout the week.
“I would encourage anyone who is interested in applying to be a student Argonaut to really be passionate about science,” Douglas said. “If you are interested in the science field and want to explore more options you will definitely enjoy this experience.”
Students were encouraged to document their research and findings by taking photos, videos and writing a blog post each day to generate awareness about their excursions. Working next to scientists each day and making real-world connections to the topics discussed back home in the JASON curriculum, provided students like Douglas a glimpse into what it is like to pursue a STEM career. JASON focuses on integrating sciences into the real world and Argonaut camp did not shy away from hands-on activities for the students and teachers.
“All of our expeditions made me want to explore the world a lot more,” Douglas said. “I now want to travel to study science, meet new people and learn new things.”
Douglas admits she was totally shocked to be selected for the experience. She has always loved science and math and would like to pursue a career in science. Anesthesiologist, surgeon and industrial and occupational psychologist are at the top of her list for possible careers. Before leaving Camp Eleuthera the Argonauts took time to reflect on their time at Argonaut camp and they were encouraged to share their experiences with others.
“This was truly a once-in-a- lifetime experience,” Avila said. “I learned a lot about myself but I think we both pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones.”
Avila and Douglas both hope to share their story with others around the district to continue to encourage the importance of STEM education and career paths. For more information about the JASON Project and applying to become a JASON Argonaut please visit, www.jason.org.