CORVALLIS - Five students from Rockaway Beach's Neah-Kah-Nie High School will be traveling to Washington, D.C., on April 10 after winning top honors at Oregon State University's Regional Ocean Sciences Bowl.

Erin Cooper, a senior, and Paul Walczak, brothers Mark and David McLaughlin and Cole Augustine, all juniors, will get a chance to win a trip to Spain or a week's cruise aboard an ocean-going research ship as they match their skills against high schools students from across the country at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl Competition.

"We really only studied for about three weeks before the competition," said Mark McLaughlin, a junior at Neah-Kah-Nie. "Most of the stuff, we had learned in the past in our marine biology class."

Beth Gienger, the Neah-Kah-Nie coach, has taught a variety of science courses, including marine biology, at the high school for 15 years.

Regional competition was held at OSU on Feb. 27. More than 40 Oregon high school students from a dozen schools spent the day at OSU answering a series of questions on how the oceans affect climate, economic well-being, history, culture and quality of life, said Kelly Chapin, a graduate student in OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. Chapin is a master's candidate in marine resource management and a sciences bowl coordinator.

The Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education, in partnership with the National Marine Educators Association, is sponsoring the competition, Chapin said. As a CORE member institution, OSU was selected to host the Oregon regionals. The 53 CORE members represent the nucleus of U.S. research and education in the ocean sciences.

The OSU College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences operates the R-V Wecoma, a 185-foot oceanographic research vessel owned by the National Science Foundation and offers graduate programs leading to degrees in atmospheric sciences, geophysics, and oceanography. Specializations in biological, chemical, geological, and physical oceanography are available.

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.


Beth Gienger, 503-842-3229