The Digital WAVE project is creating and testing a new model for engaging youth in climate science and related IT-intensive careers. Conducted in collaboration with University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) and Miami Dade College (MDC) North Campus, the project targets students in grades 9-12 who are traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) fields.

Students explore topics such as coral reef bleaching, hurricane intensification and sea level changes. They will interact with RSMAS scientists, gaining first-hand insights into ongoing research projects. Student projects will culminate in 3D models to be included in climate change simulations, and launched in the online virtual world known as Second Life Teen Grid. These will result in educational resources that can reach thousands of students worldwide.

WAVE participants acquire 3D graphic design and computer animation skills during Saturday Design Studios held at MDC’s School of Entertainment and Design Technology. They also take part in a Summer Academy where they collaborate with experienced virtual world exhibit fabricators to create science-rich simulations that focus on the dynamics of climate change on South Florida’s tropical environment.

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