2016 Grants Challenge
🎉 Winner

AltaSea: Where STEM Meets the Ocean

AltaSea and our partners are inspiring the next generation to explore the ocean and to generate blue solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges: food, energy and climate security.


Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, Ocean Exploration Trust, Los Angeles Maritime Institute, Catalina Sea Ranch, Blue Robotics

Please describe your project proposal.

Using cutting-edge blue technology and state of the art ocean research, AltaSea’s STEM network provides ocean-based programs to middle school students at the LA Waterfront. Through hands-on exploration of the ocean, students will be empowered to be part of the solution to the planet’s sustainability challenges and ultimately to see science/STEM careers as an option. Our long term goal is to motivate our youth to be 21st century champions for a sustainable ocean.

Which of the LEARN metrics will your proposal impact?​

College matriculation rates

District-wide graduation rates

Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math

Student education pipeline

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South LA

South Bay

Gateway Cities


Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to LEARN?

AltaSea and our partners, Blue Robotics (BR), Catalina Sea Ranch (CSR), Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI) and Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), introduce students to ocean exploration, technologies and sciences. Students have access to cutting-edge science and technology, one-on-one interactions with accomplished scientists, tech innovators and entrepreneurs. AltaSea programs strengthen STEM education, develop career skills, inspire entrepreneurialism and give students opportunities to see firsthand careers in the blue economy sector.

Through a bold plan conceived in concert with the community and stretching decades into the future, AltaSea is making a lasting mark on LA and the planet through leadership, innovation and by inspiring the next generation. The program introduces students to the ocean world by sailing on LAMI’s tall ships, talking with scientists of the Exploration Vessel Nautilus, learning about sustainable aquaculture and new technologies in underwater robots. Our long term goal is to motivate our youth to be 21st century champions for a sustainable ocean.

Specific programming activities include:

Sustainable Aquaculture: CSR educates students in the importance of raising protein sources within ocean ranches and the sustainable methods for aquaculture. The students learn about mollusk breeding programs and how to increase productivity and resilience to climate change for this valuable form of protein.

Local Ocean Ecosystems: LAMI programs introduce students to the local ecosystem on tall ships. These rigged vessels were purposely built for youth education at sea. In addition to offering a close-up look at marine life, the students become a part of a working sailboat crew learning the importance of teamwork, nautical navigation and the physics of sailing.

Ocean Exploration: OET’s President and Founder, Dr. Robert Ballard and OET bring the new frontier in ocean exploration to the students' classroom through telepresence technology. Telepresence connects scientists, teachers and students on shore to live images and real-time data from EV Nautilus and from their remotely operated vehicles working on the ocean floor.

Blue Technologies: BR use Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to present STEM lessons that emphasize critical thinking and the principles of engineering. Through lessons which consist of building and operating ROVs, students are encouraged to continue their education in engineering and math in middle and high schools and to explore careers in ocean robotics.

The AltaSea network brings STEM ocean experiences to students, inspiring them to pursue an education that will lead to careers in the expanding blue economy sector. These programs target students who might not otherwise become aware of our planet's extraordinary ocean. Visits to AltaSea and the LA Waterfront ignite a lifelong passion and curiosity about the ocean, motivating this generation to be guardians for a sustainable future.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

Our long term measure of defining success will be that students grow into champions for a sustainable ocean and planet. In addition, our goal is that students increase their participation in STEM classes in middle and high school, attending college, and ultimately choose careers in STEM sectors. AltaSea is in the process of developing a tracking system that will allow us to keep students engaged with the network. AltaSea’s 2016 partnership with OET is being independently evaluated.

Currently, the AltaSea network relies on internal evaluations to measure our short term successes. Some indicators of success are:

* When youth discover abilities they did not know they possess and realize they are capable of achieving anything in life through hard work and determination.

* When at-risk students realize what they are learning in the classroom has 'real world' significance and opportunities for a 'better life' abound at shore and at sea.

* When students make an emotional connection to learning through exploring the ocean and develop a love for the ocean and life-long learning.

* When under-performing students' grades improve and students stay in school and pursue STEM-related careers as a result of their participation in our programs or Youth Crew.

* When our community becomes more aware of the preciousness of our local waters and threats to marine life, and develop daily 'good stewardship' habits to preserve and conserve the oceans entrusted to us.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?



Advisors/board members



Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support