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Humble ISD student, teacher chosen to lead marine research expedition in Bahamas with JASON Learning

For Kingwood High School freshman Marshall Hartung and Creekwood Middle School teacher Gregg Hensley, this summer will be a learning adventure of a lifetime. The two have been selected to study with a team of prestigious scientists as part of a hands-on science expedition in the Bahamas. 

Exploring underwater ecosystems, caves and underground tunnels, and tagging wild marine species are some of the research experiments that Hartung and Hensley will experience this July as part of the JASON Learning curriculum created to engage students in scientific exploration through an active learning environment.

“I’m really excited to see how science is done in the real world and not just reading about it,” said Hartung. “I love geology and learning about what makes up the stuff around me and how everything works together.”

During the expedition at the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, every day will be an adventure. Along with 30 other Argonauts, Hensley and Hartung will spend their days on exciting outdoor excursions such as cliff jumping into the Atlantic, joining interactive field educational lessons, exploring the wide range of the island’s scenic bodies of water, and documenting their experience on blogs and social media for other students in the community to follow. 

Science teacher Hensley is eager to depart, but is even more excited to bring back some insight for his students.

“The trip offers hands-on experience in how to manage our role in an ecosystem at minimal cost.  I intend to bring back some practical, project-based ideas that will allow our students to apply the same principles here in Kingwood,” said Hensley. “I want to offer my students and their families a chance to fully experience the beauty of our surroundings, while helping to make a long-term contribution toward their preservation.”

Argonauts are elected through a competitive application process and their work on the expedition is designed to help students learn how scientific research can be applied in real-world settings, how to identify invasive species and their impact on the environment, and the importance of marine life conservation.

“Our Argonaut Program connects students and educators with real scientists to teach and inspire a love of exploration and inquiry, promote self-confidence, and develop leadership skills,” said Dr. Eleanor Smalley, President of JASON Learning. “Thanks to Chevron’s vision the Houston area is developing new ways of teaching and learning in STEM and JASON is happy to part of that model.”

Since 1990, JASON’s National Argonaut Program has provided unique learning opportunities to 460 students and educators worldwide, many of whom have gone on to pursue degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).