University of South Florida

USF College of Marine Science


Spoonbill Bowl – A Virtual Success!

Plunging into Our Polar Seas was the theme for this year’s competition, where students competed virtually for the first time.

Plunging into Our Polar Seas was the theme for this year’s competition, where students competed virtually for the first time.

Written By: Carlyn Scott, Science Communication Assistant at USF CMS

Teresa Greely, PhD, can add another “first” to her extensive outreach resume: first statewide, completely virtual Spoonbill Ocean Sciences Bowl competition! Along with the Spoonbill regional co-coordinators, Savanna Finley, Ryan Simonson, Kate Koenig, and Sarah Grasty-Prueitt, she orchestrated the group of about 60 volunteers, 15 student teams, and coaches in a mind-bending web of spreadsheets, Zoom meetings, and emails. So many emails.

The team is incredibly pleased with the quality result of this year’s event.

“With a terrifically talented coordination team, the 17th Annual Spoonbill Bowl competition went delightfully well,” said Greely.

Spoonbill Bowl Teams 2021

The virtual aspect created space for the addition of Polar Express, a speed-dating style career panel for competing students to attend. “We wanted to do something more engaging than a webinar for the students and we also wanted it to go beyond having scientists talk about their research,” said Sarah Grasty-Prueitt. “This is where the virtual platform can be really powerful. We were able to connect with polar scientists from all over Florida and even all the way up in New Hampshire.”

A testament to sheer positivity, grace under pressure, and planning prowess, Greely and the committee turned a less than ideal situation into a true success.

“I am so proud of all the teams and coaches who prepared for months to learn all things ocean,” said Greely. “I am taking away that when talented, dedicated, and enthusiastic volunteers and Polar scientists come together, wonderful things happen for the benefit of many.”

Congratulations to all the students and coaches and a huge thank you to the committee and volunteers that made this online event possible!

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Mission Statement

Our blue planet faces a suite of challenges and opportunities for understanding and innovation. Our mission is to advance understanding of the interconnectivity of ocean systems and human-ocean interactions using a cross-disciplinary approach, to empower the next workforce of the blue economy with a world-class education experience, and to share our passion for a healthy environment and science-informed decision-making with community audiences near and far.