Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Ocean Life, Planet Health

Keller BLOOM Program for Maine High School Juniors


An Ocean Science Research Experience for Maine High School Juniors

BLOOM CruiseBigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is pleased to host the twenty-fifth annual Keller BLOOM Program May 18-22, 2014.

The Keller BLOOM(Bigelow Laboratory Orders Of Magnitude) Program was begun 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 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

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 two 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.

Want to learn more about the program activities? Visit the Keller BLOOM Program blog.

Participants live together in housing in the region, 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 academic record, level of interest, and communication skills as evidenced by a written essay and two letters of recommendation.

Application and Requirements

The deadline for receipt of the application and supplemental materials is April 11, 2014. Applicants should complete the online application, which includes submitting the answers to the essay question and a copy of their high school transcript.

A complete application consists of the following: 

1) The application form
2) Transcript of high school work to date
3) A one-page essay describing, "What marine invertebrate would you like to be and WHY?" (to be attached to the online application)
4) Two letters of recommendation from teachers (at least one from a current science teacher) who can speak to your academic success and interest in science

For more information call Valerie Young at (207) 315-2567, ext.107, or email: