Mission Statement

Our mission is to end the disparity in access to ocean-related opportunities for students from underrepresented backgrounds and under-resourced communities.

About Ocean Connect

Ocean Connect grew out of an independent research project that our founder started during her first year in high school and continued as part of her internship at the Girguis Laboratory for Ecophysiology, Biogeochemistry, and Engineering at Harvard University.  At the time, it was clear that more needed to be done to foster diversity and inclusiveness in marine science. So, she proposed studying the different ways to increase the participation of underrepresented students in marine science programs. Given her love of the ocean and interest in ensuring its long-term health, focusing her research on marine science seemed the logical choice. However, she also saw the need to create something broader in scope to highlight the different ways underrepresented students could engage with the ocean.  And that meant expanding the discussion beyond science to bring other areas of human interaction – like art, commerce, and advocacy – into the conversation. After all, just because you don’t want to be a marine scientist doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the opportunity to engage with the ocean in a meaningful and impactful way. And neither should coming from a particular race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, or socioeconomic background.

And it was that belief that led to Ocean Connect.

But for Ocean Connect to be truly useful, it had to do more than just set forth all the different opportunities students may have to connect to the ocean. It also needed to provide them with the means to turn those opportunities into reality. So, the goal of Ocean Connect is to serve as both a source of information about the different pathways to connect to the ocean and as a resource to help make those connections. Its ultimate purpose, however, is to widen those pathways so students who have historically been underrepresented in the ocean-related sciences, arts, commerce, and advocacy can have those same opportunities.

About the Founder

Noa Gottlieb is currently a student at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut. From 2020 to 2021, she was a member of the initial cohort of the US Youth Advisory Council for the United Nations Oceans Decade, a diverse group collaborating to further the UN Ocean Decade goals in a way that best served the members in each of their communities with a commitment to inclusion, outreach, and engagement. Ms. Gottlieb was also a co-lead delegate representing the Connecticut chapter of the Ocean Climate Action Platform in lobbying the U.S. Congress to pass the Ocean Based Climate Solutions Act. During the summer between her first and second years of high school, she was an intern at the Girguis Lab for Ecophysiology, Biogeochemistry, and Engineering at Harvard University. In 2022, she was accepted into the University of California San Diego/Scripps Institution of Oceanography Research Scholar Marine Science Program, where she took courses in marine biology and oceanography. Ms. Gottlieb co-authored Climate Change and its Implications on the Heat Flux of Rocky Intertidal Organisms, which has been published in the peer-reviewed UC San Diego Journal of Marine Science. She returned to the Marine Science Program in the summer of 2023 as a teaching assistant and student mentor. Ms. Gottlieb is also the lead author and researcher for Ocean Connect’s “Ocean-Shot” submission to the U.S. National Committee for the Ocean Decade (under the auspices of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine). Ocean Connect’s Ocean-Shot concept is to develop a model program for university-sponsored internships that will afford students from underrepresented backgrounds and communities the opportunity to explore, pursue, and ultimately contribute to ocean science.

Ms. Gottlieb is also a classically-trained ballet dancer and danced in a pre-professional program with the New England Academy of Dance and, prior to that, with the Kaatsbann Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. She is currently a member of her school’s audition-only multi-discipline dance performance team. In 2022, Ms. Gottlieb combined her love of dance and desire to engage in community service by starting an adaptive dance program at Miss Porter’s School that provides dance classes for senior citizens designed to help increase mobility and combat memory loss.

Message from the Founder

I want to thank Professor Peter Girguis, Jenn Thomson, and Brooke Travis of the Girguis Laboratory at Harvard University. Without their patience, support, and continuing guidance, Ocean Connect would not have been able to get off the ground. I would also like to thank Dr. Mathieu Freeman, Director of Research at Greens Farms Academy, for helping me develop the skills to conduct research at an advanced level.