Shark Research and Conservation Program (SRC)

Program Type

Hands on/Project-Based
College Readiness

Target Audience

All Students

Black/African American


Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander

English Language Learner




Grades 9 - 12

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

The Shark Research Conservation program gives young people in Miami, Florida inspiring, hands-on science experiences unlike any other. In 2013, for example, it brought more than 1,100 young adults on 71 trips to do actual field research on sharks and marine biology, With sufficient funds, some 3,000 more young people could , and many more youth could benefit from virtual expeditions, school visits, and teaching materials for schools..


Program Overview

The SRC program gives high school students exhilarating hands-on research experiences in marine biology. The Program helps students actively grow as scientists while supporting ongoing research crucial to shark conservation.

The goals of the Shark Research Conservation program are: (1) to provide high school students with engaging scientific research opportunities that inspire youth to learn STEM skills and (2) to foster development of marine conservation stewardship, attitudes, and behaviors.

In addition to the actual shark field-research expeditions attended by students, teachers implement a custom-designed online curriculum that conforms to Florida State standards in STEM. Online resources include a virtual shark-tagging experience to prepare students for field research. University of Miami graduate students also visit classrooms to prepare students for the expedition by working with teachers to implement curriculum and train students in data collection.

How To Get Involved

It costs about $3,000 to bring about 15 young people on an expedition. The program's leaders aim to attract students from new areas of Florida, such as Palm Beach and the Florida Keys.

Funders and Partners

The Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, UMiami; The Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, UMiami; Batchelor Foundation, Inc.; Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund; Wells Fargo; National Geographic Society; Biscayne National Park; Everglades National Park


Neil Hammerschlag, Professor & Director

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Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.