MAS Director Wins Educator Awards
Chris Petrone, Director of the Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service (MAS), received the 2018 President’s Award and the Informal Educators Award from the Mid-Atlantic Marine Educators Association (MAMEA) for his service to the organization over the years and for his role in educating the public in the Mid-Atlantic region on ocean and coastal science.
The Informal Educator Award is given every year to someone who provides marine education in a non-classroom setting, such as a museum, aquarium, zoo, or science center. Employees with government agencies who provide marine education are also eligible.
Prior to being named MAS director, Petrone was the education specialist for the Delaware Sea Grant. In that role, he created and ran education programs for schools, scout troops, 4-H groups and others to bring children to the university’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, where he would teach on marine science and wind energy.
He led teacher workshops, providing classroom teachers with professional development so they could give their students the most up-to-date content in the field. He reached many others in the public as a driving force and on-camera presenter for 15 Second Science videos, which Delaware Sea Grant has produced for three years and shares on social media to educate viewers on a variety of marine science topics.
Petrone said that his favorite part of informal marine education is being able to apply the research that takes place at the University of Delaware, Delaware Sea Grant and the marine world in general to different audiences.
“I like applying it to everybody from 3rd and 4th graders to Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H camps, all the way up to life-long learners,” said Petrone. “The life-long learners come here for a program, or I go off site to a program, and I am able to show them the cutting-edge science that’s happening right now, at our institution and in general, that has to do with the coast, the ocean, or estuaries.”
The President’s Award is selected by the President of MAMEA and typically goes to an individual who has performed service to the president or to the organization.
Petrone has a long history of service to MAMEA since 2005, when he was the education specialist at Virginia Sea Grant, and he has held many roles in MAMEA, with the exception of secretary and treasurer.
“I’ve been the Delaware Rep since 2011. I’ve served as President. I’ve done social media for MAMEA, newsletter editor, and I’m chairing the strategic planning committee right now,” said Petrone who said that he was extremely honored to receive both of the awards.
Petrone added that anyone interested in marine education should join the organization in order to become a part of the network.