Welcome to the Education/Outreach site for the DEEPEND Program!  We are excited to share our science, teaching content, and exciting outreach programs with everyone over the next 3 years.  Part of DEEPEND’s goal for a successful program is to have a robust education/outreach platform for anyone interested in learning more about the projects, the people and the science of the DEEPEND Consortium.  

There are three prongs to our approach:  The public, grades K- graduate education, and the various outreach partnerships we are building as this program launches.  

For grades K-7, the “Creep into the Deep” program run through WhaleTimes, Inc. will engage students in real time with the scientists onboard research vessels as they explore the deep sea.   

Watch videos from Squirt!


Read postcards from the Deep!


For grades 6-12, the “Gulf of Mexico Exploration” Teacher workshops and DEEPEND Teacher-At-Sea Program will engage secondary teachers in learning deep-ocean project content as well as taking science lessons back to the classrooms to share with students.  They also have the opportunity to experience the science in real time through participating on a research cruise with the DEEPEND Team.  Workshops are held once a year (Dania Beach, Fl Y2) and the teachers submit applications to become one of our DEEPEND team members on a cruise in May or August of that year.  Stay tuned for registration start date!

Featured Teacher at Sea

As a Miami native, Christopher Valdes grew up in and around the pristine waters of South Florida.  Learning to fish and enjoy water activities at an early age, he grew fond of Florida’s very unique ecosystems.  The grandson of a successful, retired teacher, he always had an appreciation and passion for teaching. After accepting a full academic scholarship as a scholar athlete from The Florida State University, he decided to study education.  He graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor's of Science in Education with a dual track degree- in both Community and School Health education.

After a successful internship with the Florida Department of Health, he returned to Miami and was quickly hired as a high school biology teacher for Miami Dade County Public Schools. For the next 10 years, he taught both biology and anatomy/physiology as a prerequisite for nursing magnet students.  In 2013, he became the COAST magnet instructor at Cutler Bay Middle School, located in the heart of Cutler Bay, Florida. He immediately initiated the development  and implementation of a stellar and innovative marine biology magnet program. The program allows students the opportunity to interact with Florida's unique coastal environments through several different mediums designed to spark the students’ curiosity. Along with his teaching assignments at Cutler Bay Middle, Christopher is also the 6th grade team lead, Read 2 Succeed lead, and a member of the curriculum council.


For undergraduate and graduate students, there are many DEEPEND projects that will need to be completed throughout the 3-year process as well as opportunities to join the DEEPEND team on cruises.  Please go to the main page for more details about individual projects.  If interested in more details, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Dr. Heather Judkins (Coordinator) - USFSP
Dr. Tracey Sutton (DEEPEND PI) - NSUOC
Dr. Danté Fenolio - SAZ Dept. Cons. & Res.
Dr. Tamara Frank - NSUOC
Dr. Matthew Johnston - NSUOC
Dr. Mahmood Shivji – NSUOC; Guy Harvey Res. Institute; Save Our Seas Foundation
Ms. Ruth Musgrave - WhaleTimes., Inc.
Ms. April Cook (DEEPEND PM) - NSUOC
Dr. Jose Lopez – NSUOC; COSEE-FL
Dr. Denise Kendall - SAZ Dept. Cons. & Res.
Ms. Nicole Sandoval -SAZ Dept. Cons. & Res.