2020 Data Labs Fellows


The goal of the Data Labs Fellows initiative is to expand and improve the collection of resources available for undergraduate educators to incorporate OOI data into their classes.  A cohort of 10 fellows was selected via an external review process from a pool of nearly 50 applicants. These projects will provide insight and feedback on how OOI data can be used in undergraduate teaching or that further develop new resources for undergraduate educators and students.

The Fellows will share the results and products generated from their projects in Spring 2021, in a series of blog posts and webinars.  Please sign up for our monthly newsletter and our blog in order to stay updated and participate in the conversations!

Implementation Fellows

Implementation fellows will utilize the existing collection of OOI Data Explorations to help evaluate how students build data literacy skills. Fellows will field test select Explorations in their classroom, create supplemental materials and assess student learning, with the results informing how these Explorations can be more effective with students.

Dr. Jean R. Anastasia

Jean R. Anastasia obtained her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Stony Brook University in 1999 and that same year, joined the faculty at Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) where she is currently a Professor in the Biology Department.  During her twenty years of teaching, she has taught courses in biology, marine biology, oceanography, and environmental science.   In addition to her teaching, Dr. Anastasia was Assistant Chair of the Biology Department for 9 years, Co-Chair of the Assessment Advisory Council for 5 years, and is currently the Program Administrator for the Liberal Arts and Science: General Studies Program at SCCC’s Ammerman campus. For her involvement in many assessment initiatives and curriculum development projects, Dr. Anastasia was awarded a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Faculty Service in 2019.

Dr. Meg Blome

Meg Blome grew up on the East Coast, in Virginia just outside of DC. She went to college at the College of William and Mary expecting to major in Archaeology, but fell in love with geology after her first class (taken to satisfy my “gen ed” requirement).  Her undergraduate thesis combined her interests in geology and archaeology, and she spent a year working as an archaeologist in DC between a Fulbright Scholarship studying Arabic in Jordan and beginning graduate school!!

She received her doctorate in 2012 from the University of Arizona where she researched paleoclimate in East Africa over the last million years using a 300-meter long sediment core from Lake Malawi to develop a record of past lake level.  Dr. Blome was lucky enough to travel to Malawi for a short time to do field work!

After graduate school she worked as a geologist at an energy company in Houston, TX.  She helped map the distribution of oil and gas resources in tight reservoirs in Texas for six years, working with multidisciplinary professionals from all over the globe toward a common goal.

Dr. Blome began working as a Teaching Assistant Professor at East Carolina University in the Fall of 2019, teaching large introductory geology courses, including Oceanography lecture and an online laboratory course.  She believes in the inclusion of more active learning and real-time data analysis in large lecture courses within the department, and the integration of more interactive exercises into online laboratory assignments. This was her motivation for applying for the 2020 Data Labs Implementation Fellowship.

Dr. Natasha Gownaris

Natasha Gownaris (Tasha) is a Marine Ecologist in the Environmental Studies Department at Gettysburg College. At Gettysburg, Tasha aims to incorporate data science and literacy skills into her courses on ecology, marine ecology, oceanography, and fisheries. Tasha’s research focuses on using demographic and foraging data to inform seabird conservation.

Dr. Melissa Hicks

Melissa Hicks received her B.S in Geology at Juniata College in 1999, my M.S. (2001) and her Ph.D.  (2006) both in Geoscience from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  Her masters and PhD research involved the ecology and extinction of archaeocyathan-microbial built reefs in the Early Cambrian.  She has done research in the Nevada/California, China, and France.  After graduating, Dr. Hicks took a position as a Senior Research Geologist for ExxonMobil, where she taught numerous in-house classes ranging from Field Geology to Seismic Interpretation.  She also researched and interpreted well logs/cores/thin sections for the exploration company in order to improve extraction of oil in various acquisitions globally.   In 2009, Dr. Hicks moved to Syracuse, NY where she began a 3-year position as a Research Associate for Syracuse University in their Earth Science Department.  There, she researched freshwater carbonate stratigraphy and ecology in rift systems in Africa and the western U.S.  In 2012, she attained a position as an Assistant Professor at Onondaga Community College and was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 2016.  She teaches introductory courses in Geology and Oceanography, including a study abroad program on Bahamian Ecology.

Dr. Janie Johnston

Janie A. Johnston received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Science and Geology from the University of Miami (FL).  She received her Master’s degree in Geology and her Ed.S degree in Science Education from the University of Georgia. Janie has worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory from 1993 – 2015 on R&D, science education, and nuclear material waste management.  She has many years of experience teaching science at middle and high school levels, as well as at the college level both at the University of New Mexico – Los Alamos and Aurora University.

Dr. Sara Smith

Sara Smith teaches at Bellingham Technical College (BTC) in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences Department. Her background is in Pacific salmonid management, including habitat restoration, population monitoring, and hatchery production. At BTC she teaches a range of subjects, including salmon hatchery production, shellfish aquaculture, and freshwater and marine sampling.

Development Fellows

Development fellows will build new resources for educators and students using reusable coding notebooks (e.g. Python notebooks). Our existing collection of static Data Explorations provides an easy way for educators to incorporate OOI data in their courses, however the datasets and topics included are limited. Development Fellows will create new notebooks, and data-based and data-driven activities that provide more sustainable resources for faculty to access OOI data for teaching.

Dr. Tom Connolly

Tom Connolly is a physical oceanographer who studies circulation in the coastal zone from an interdisciplinary perspective. His research interests include coastal upwelling dynamics, the formation of low-oxygen zones, transport of toxic algae blooms. As an Assistant Professor at Moss Landing Marine Labs, Tom works closely with students from a wide range of disciplines who are interested in physical processes in the ocean. Tom received his Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Washington in 2012, where he studied shelf and slope circulation off the coasts of Washington and British Columbia, and was a postdoctoral scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from 2012-2015.  Tom uses a variety of techniques to study coastal circulation patterns, including analysis of observational data from ships, moorings and buoys.

Dr. Sean Crosby

Sean Crosby is a U. S. Geological Survey researcher studying coastal processes contributing to flooding, erosion, and changes to ecosystem habitats. He is also an affiliate and adjunct at Western Washington University where he teaches coastal and estuarine processes. He is a graduate from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is also an avid runner, cyclist, and kite-surfer. 

Dr. Hilary Palevsky

Dr. Hilary Palevsky is a marine biogeochemist, climate scientist, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College. Her research combines field measurements at sea, autonomous sensor data from moorings and robots, satellite observations, and global climate model simulations to investigate how the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thereby influencing the global carbon cycle and climate. She has previously worked with Ocean Observatories Initiative data in both her research and teaching, including ongoing research studying the biological carbon pump at the Global Irminger Sea Array and which has enabled her to provide undergraduate students with OOI-based research experience in data analysis and seagoing fieldwork. Prior to her current position at Boston College, Dr. Palevsky earned her Ph.D. in Oceanography and a Graduate Certificate in Climate Science at the University of Washington, completed a Postdoctoral Scholarship in Marine Chemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and taught at Wellesley College and The Evergreen State College.

Dr. Tracy Quan

Dr. Tracy Quan is an Associate Professor in the Boone Pickens School of Geology.  She is a geochemist whose main focus is evaluating past environmental conditions in sedimentary systems using elemental, isotopic, and spectroscopic techniques. Dr. Quan currently teaches several classes in Geochemistry, as well as an Introduction to Oceanography online course. She is also active in outreach programs that introduce geology and oceanography to students, teachers, and the general public.


Detailed information about the application criteria can be found here.