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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

East Providence teacher, Warwick student to help lead JASON Project expedition in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary


KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 12, 2002 -- John Langella, a science teacher at East Providence High School, and Rai Doblmeier, a student at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf in Providence and Tollgate High School in Warwick, have been chosen to work with a team of distinguished scientists to lead millions of teachers and students on a scientific expedition in California’s Channel Islands to examine, monitor and manage the region’s unique animal and marine wildlife.

Sponsored by the University of Rhode Island, Langella and Doblmeier will travel to California next winter with the JASON Project, an innovative educational program for middle and high school students that engages teachers and students in hands-on science by taking them on real expeditions.

Started in 1989 by marine scientist and explorer Robert Ballard after he discovered the RMS Titanic, the JASON Project travels to an exotic location each school year and broadcasts live via satellite and on the Internet to millions of students worldwide. Thousands of Rhode Island students will share discoveries made by Langella and Doblmeier in real time through a direct satellite link to the University of Rhode Island from Jan. 27 to Feb. 7, 2003.

Langella is one of only eight "Teacher Argonauts" chosen from around the world for the JASON XIV: From Shore to Sea journey. Doblmeier will join 24 other "Student Argonauts" selected for the expedition. They will accompany Ballard, now a faculty member at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, and other scientists as they explore the environment from the California coastline to the depths of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary to the landscape and wildlife of the islands themselves.

"As a teacher, the most gratifying reward is the look of amazement and excitement on the faces of students when they experience the ocean," said Langella. "As a Teacher Argonaut it is amazing for me to know that I'm opening a door for students to a world they hardly experience."

Langella has taught for 25 years and has been involved with the JASON Project for 13 years, using its integrated approach in the classroom and training other teachers to use the JASON Project’s standards-based curriculum, supplemental videos, interactive Web site and gated online community.

Doblmeier is entering the tenth grade at Tollgate High School after transferring from the Rhode Island School for the Deaf. He was selected for the JASON Project following a lengthy application process and several videotaped interviews and tests. In preparation for the expedition, he is conducting independent research, communicating with other students on the JASON Project website, completing assigned reading, and participating in several teacher workshops at URI.

Doblmeier said he wanted to participate in the JASON Project because "I really enjoy learning science, especially doing science experiments. I am interested in learning about oceanography and doing experiments." He then added, "I also want to show people that deaf people can learn everything like hearing people. This is a good opportunity for people to learn about deafness from me."

The JASON Project at the University of Rhode Island is coordinated by the Office of Marine Programs and sponsored by URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography and the State of Rhode Island. Other collaborators and sponsors include Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Rhode Island Office of Higher Education, the Rhode Island Department of Education, OSHEAN, RINET, Cox Communications, WJAR-TV, and The Providence Journal.

Media Contact: Todd McLeish 874-7892, Maryanne Scholl 874-6246, Sara Hickox 874-6277

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