Dobyns-Bennett High School Takes Competition to the Next Level

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Dobyns-Bennett High School Takes Competition to the Next Level

The school’s first National Ocean Science Bowl team travels to North Carolina to challenge their knowledge of ocean processes at Regional Competition

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 2:30pm

CAMPAIGN: Eastman Corporate Responsibility

CONTENT: Article

Dobyns-Bennett High School announces its first competitive team in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, reinforcing its commitment to empowering students to apply the principles of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) to real world problem solving.

Students and coaches from coastal communities and landlocked states recently rallied together at the Regional Blue Heron Bowl in Wilmington, NC around the theme of marine renewable energy: Blue Energy – Powering the Planet with our Ocean.

What makes this team unique?  The Dobyns-Bennett team is made up of four young ladies-  Elizabeth Batts, Lilly Kramer and Allison and Jamie Cahill.  These ladies set a great example of the importance of equipping girls in STEAM and encouraging pursuit of these careers to develop a diverse workforce.

Competing against North Carolina’s top performing high schools in math and science, Dobyns-Bennett finished in the top 5 at the Regional Competition.  In addition, the coaches and volunteers at the event awarded the team with the “Sportsmanship Award” for their positive enthusiasm throughout the event. Team captain, Elizabeth Batts, shared “working together and applying the strengths of each team member allowed us to have fun while competing.  The experience was amazing and the exposure to The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Marine Science Center is definitely something we will remember.” The team agrees that they are all looking forward to competing again next year. 

Dobyns-Bennett’s interest in ocean science goes beyond the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.  In January, the school launched its inaugural capstone course with a focus on ocean processes.  Through a partnership with Eastman and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, students are challenged to apply cross-disciplinary learnings to real world issues and problems.  By interacting with some of the world’s top ocean scientists on active research projects, students are exposed to unique experiences that will give them a competitive advantage while continuing their education and entering the workforce.     

Why bring ocean science to East Tennessee?  It’s simple.  The ocean matters everywhere.  It drives our weather and climate and is an integral part of the food web.  The ocean plays a key role in transportation, telecommunication, and national security. It is the source of 97% of the world’s water and 50% of the oxygen we breathe.  And yet, the ocean is still not sufficiently understood.  “Change begins with education and what better way to engage in a global need than to inspire the best and brightest young minds around the endless possibilities of applying educational skills to impact the issues of our changing world,” said Natalie Pickett, instructor of the capstone course at Dobyns-Bennett. “The opportunities and benefits associated with our partnership with Eastman and their support of the world’s leading oceanographic research institution is certainly a differentiator for our students and presents them with exceptional experiences that are unique to our region.” 

“The integration of ocean science into our curriculum is a great example of how effective public private partnerships empower the next generation of thinkers, makers and scientists to be the catalysts for change that our global community needs,” said David A. Golden, Eastman’s senior vice president and chief legal & sustainability officer.   The ocean processes course was developed with the assistance of the world-class scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  Golden continued, “Problem solving in the real world requires an interdisciplinary approach and that is what the course employs.  Using advanced math, chemistry, physics, biology, robotics, and computer coding as an underpinning, the course develops real world problem-solving and critical thinking skills and provides these students with a strong foundation for their future careers.”

Exposure to a capstone course in ocean processes is a unique experience for students and Dobyns-Bennett is one of only a few select high school in the United States offering such a program.  Expanding curriculum in the areas of STEAM and increasing a problem-based approach to learning compliments the school’s ongoing plans to introduce a new science and technology center, also known as DB 2.0.

About Eastman

Eastman is a global advanced materials and specialty additives company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With a portfolio of specialty businesses, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. Its market-driven approaches take advantage of world-class technology platforms and leading positions in attractive end-markets such as transportation, building and construction and consumables. Eastman focuses on creating consistent, superior value for all stakeholders. As a globally diverse company, Eastman serves customers in more than 100 countries and had 2016 revenues of approximately $9.0 billion. The company is headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA and employs approximately 14,000 people around the world. For more information, visit

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About the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB)

The NOSB encompasses numerous scientific disciplines and encourages an increased understanding of the science needed to sustain strong communities, including improving community awareness; addressing erosion and increasing coastal populations and development; restoring coastlines; protecting estuarine ecosystems and services; and improving coastal disaster projection, preparedness, and response. The competition tests students’ knowledge of ocean-related topics, which include cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology. The NOSB is an interdisciplinary ocean science education program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership based in Washington, D.C.

About Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is the world's leading, independent non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, exploration, and education. Scientists and engineers push the boundaries of knowledge about the ocean to reveal its impacts on our planet and our lives. WHOI’s hard-won experience at sea, innovative technology, and commitment to research and education make the institution a reliable source of valuable knowledge about the ocean for scientists, decision-makers, and the public.

Media contact:

Amanda Allman

CATEGORY: Education