Keller BLOOM Program

May 19, 2024 – May 24, 2024

The Keller BLOOM (Bigelow Laboratory Orders Of Magnitude) Program was founded by Bigelow scientist Maureen Keller and Trustee Emeritus James McLoughlin to provide students a hands-on ocean science research experience. BLOOM offers Maine students interested in science the opportunity to work alongside professional researchers, exploring the biological, chemical and geological characteristics of the local marine environment through field and laboratory work. Program participants are immersed in a research environment and, through engagement in field sampling and laboratory activities, including data collection, synthesis and analysis, learn what a career as a scientist involves.

Program Activities

Instructor showing students experiment on boat.

On the first full day of the program, BLOOM participants learn sampling and data collection methods, and put these into practice using standard oceanographic equipment on a research cruise of the local Sheepscot River estuary. The next three days are spent working with scientists on four different activities in the lab, using state-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation to explore phytoplankton, zooplankton, pigments, nutrients, bacteria and marine viruses. On the final day of the program students give a presentation on their research and experience to their friends and families. During the program students also engage in formal and informal discussions with scientists on topics such as public policy and scientific ethics, and attend a Marine Science Career Night, where they learn about undergraduate marine science programs in Maine, and related career possibilities. Students who participate in BLOOM will leave with a better understanding of ocean science and be equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in a science.

Participants live together in housing on Bigelow's campus, under chaperoned conditions, and all meals and snacks are provided. There is no cost to participate in the program.

What Students Say About BLOOM

"This experience has greatly strengthened the interest I have in science. I've been introduced to real world science at Bigelow and it has been extremely insightful in teaching me about career opportunities and possibilities in science."

"I learned so much about the ocean, being a scientist, plankton, and myself during the BLOOM program, and I also met life long friends."

"This was an amazing experience and it has helped me realize that I do want to study marine biology. I enjoyed meeting people (and becoming friends with them), who enjoy the same marine interests as me."

Who Should Apply

Maine home-schooled, public, and private high school juniors who are curious about ocean or environmental science should apply; sixteen students from around the state are selected to participate.

Selection Criteria

Applications are evaluated based upon level of interest and communication skills as evidenced by two written essays and two letters of recommendation.

Application and Requirements

Applications will be accepted starting January 15th, 2024, and supplemental materials must be received by April 8th. Please complete the online application form. If you have any questions about the application process, please email

Due to the ongoing impacts of the recent storm on power and internet connectivity in Maine application deadline has been extended to Monday, April 8th at midnight.

A complete application consists of the following:
  1. The online application form
  2. Essay 1 - A one-page essay describing, What motivates you to participate in the Keller BLOOM Program? Include a description of your interest in science and how science connects to your life. Essays should be 1 page, 12 pt Times New Roman Font - up to 500 words. (upload at online application site)
  3. Essay 2 - A one-page essay describing, What marine invertebrate would you like to be and WHY? Explain why you would like to be that organism, connecting to your lived experience. This essay should be 1 page, 12 pt Times New Roman Font - up to 500 words. (upload at online application site)
  4. Two letters of recommendation, with at least one from a science teacher, who can speak to your academic success and interest in science
    (Recommenders: please submit your letter here)