From Savannah to the salt marshes

I AM SAVANNAH SMART

From Savannah to the salt marshes

Knee-deep in mud. That’s Dr. Dionne Hoskins-Brown’s happy place. “I love being in the field on a hot summer day. I can’t believe I get to do this for my job,” says the Savannah State alumna.

Dr. Hoskins-Brown is a fisheries biologist, an associate graduate professor, and Director of NOAA Sponsored Programs at SSU. “We’re inspiring the next generations of scientists – particularly from underrepresented backgrounds – who can do the oceanic and atmospheric work that our world needs.”

How? Tons of research. Dr. Hoskins-Brown connects students to hands-on experiences like monitoring green sea turtles in St. Croix, analyzing fishermen’s reports on black gill disease in shrimp, and observing oyster population growth across 19 sites in Georgia (including the salt marshes in SSU’s backyard). She’s also incorporating social sciences in her research by documenting Gullah/Geechee fishing families.

But for Dr. Hoskins-Brown, the next generation of scientists shouldn’t start and stop with college students. That’s why she founded SSU’s Coast Camp in 2007.

For 10 years, Coast Camp has been on a mission to boost ocean literacy for Savannah’s underserved seven- to 18-year-olds. For a whole month, kids explore the outdoors and jump into sea-centric activities and trips. They’re dolphin watching on SSU research boats. Visiting the Georgia Aquarium and touring Pin Point Heritage Museum. And studying topics like sea level rise, coast water runoff, and beach erosion. Coast Camp even teaches to Georgia science standards to help the campers when they return to school in the fall.

The best part? Seeing the kids grow into Coast Camp counselors, or better yet, marine and environmental science majors when they head off to college. Who knows: They may just end up as Dr. Hoskins-Brown’s graduate students one day, up to their waists in muddy water. Seriously Impressive

SSU is the only HBCU to co-op with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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