Grades 6-12 Gulf of Mexico Exploration Teacher Workshops and Teacher-At-Sea Opportunities


The Gulf of Mexico Exploration Teacher Workshops were designed to introduce teachers to the science of the deep ocean and the organisms that life in it. Workshops provided content and inquiry-based lessons (aligned to standards) that are appropriate for grades 6-12 relating to the DEEPEND projects. Those that participated in the 1-day workshop had the opportunity to join the DEEPEND Team on 1 of 2 research cruises/year. Through an application process, teachers were selected to participate on a cruise during April/May or August of that year.  The Teacher-at-Sea posted their experience through the DEEPEND Blog while we were out at sea, fielded questions from land, and created curricula that related to the activities onboard to share with the DEEPEND Education community.



Teachers at Sea

Megan Ehlers - DEEPEND Cruise DP01

Megan Ehlers is a Marine Science teacher at Sarasota High School.  She received her Bachelors degree in Marine Science from Eckerd College, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from University of Florida in Science Education.  In addition to her teaching duties, she is director of the Carefree Learner Program, the school’s “floating” classroom.  The boat provides district students, community groups, and various agencies with opportunities to learn about Sarasota Bay’s ecosystems.

Carol Gordy - DEEPEND Cruise LF2015A

Carol Gordy teaches marine science at Sunlake High School in Pasco County, Fl.  She has been teaching for 25 years and is always on the lookout for new opportunities to share with her students back in the classroom.

Alisha Stahl - DEEPEND Cruise DP02

Alisha Stahl is the Science Department Chair at Manatee School For the Arts in Palmetto, Fl where she teaches Marine Science Honors, Zoology, AP Biology, and Biology. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology from Southampton College of Long Island University where she focused primarily of the behavioral biology and ecology of marine mammals. During and after college she spent much of her time researching orcas in Washington, studying haul-out sites of harbor seals on Long Island, observing symbiotic relationships among reef fish in Vanuatu, and researching the behavioral biology of spotted dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2006 she decided to start teaching because she wanted to educate and share her passion and love for the ocean and all of its extraordinary creatures with students. Her goal as an educator is to make her students stewards of the ocean and to create an environment where learning if fun, engaging, and challenging. When she isn’t teaching she is enjoying being a wife and raising two mini scientists!

Christia Hewlett- DEEPEND Cruise DP03

Christia Hewlett is a teacher at Sheridan Hills Christian School where she teaches Marine Biology and Middle School Integrated Science. She received her a Bachelor’s in Science in Biology and a certificate in Environmental Studies from Indiana University. She is currently finishing her twelfth year of teaching and is completing her M.A in Integrated Technology from Nova Southeastern University. In addition to her teaching, she enjoys learning about Florida ecosystems by participating in Florida Master Naturalist Program courses. She leads a school 4H club and enjoys helping students learn about science through hands-on learning. If she is not working she can be found enjoying Florida's National Parks, reading or spending time with her husband and daughter at the soccer field.

Christopher Valdes - DEEPEND Cruise DP04

Christopher Valdes is the COAST magnet instructor at Cutler Bay Middle School, 6th-grade team lead, Read 2 Succeed lead, and a member of the curriculum council.  As a Miami native, he grew up in and around the pristine waters of South Florida and grew fond of the unique ecosystems. The grandson of a successful, retired teacher, he always had an appreciation and passion for teaching. He graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor's of Science in Education with a degree in both Community and School Health education. After interning with the Florida Department of Health, Christopher spent the next 10 years teaching biology and anatomy/physiology for Miami Dade County Public Schools. In 2013, he became the COAST magnet instructor at Cutler Bay Middle School and immediately initiated the developed and implemented of an innovative marine biology magnet program providing students the opportunity to interact with Florida's unique coastal environments.