Featured Outreach


Rutgers Researchers Teach Science to Local Students

outreach school

Josue, a 5th grader at McKinley Community School in New Brunswick, imagines an alien could evolve and thrive in the harsh elements of Jupiter by harnessing the ability to eat gas. Then, he uses clay to sculpt the creature and names his lifeform “Jomama.”

“We asked the kids to show us what an alien on a given planet might look like and what qualities it should possess after assigning them a planet,” said Kenneth McGuinness PhD., an NIH INSPIRE postdoctoral associate researcher with Rutgers ENIGMA, a NASA-funded research team focused on discovering how proteins evolved to become the catalysts of life on Earth. “Josue gave Jomama the ability to eat gas because Jupiter is a gaseous planet. You never know – some form of Jomama might be discovered one day.”

Original article from Daily Targum

Article about Extraterrestrial life at Rutgers Today

Rutgers University Marine Field Station Outreach

Rutgers Marine Field Station (RUMF) have significantly expanded our outreach activities in recent years. Along with our annual Open House events, which have attracted 1,450 visitors to the Station over the last three years, we have also expanded our programs for visiting college classes to include hands-on activities (bridgenet sampling, seining from shore and sampling from boats, sample sorting) and overnight stay in our dormitory and we expect an increase in visiting classes to continue in the future. Rutgers University Invertebrate Identification, Ecological Field Techniques, Estuarine Ecology, and Ichthyology classes, along with classes from Rider University (Behavior of Marine Organisms and Marine Biology), Wilkes University (Marine Ecology), Delran Montessori School (Advanced Biology), Atlantic County Institute of Technology (A/P Biology Students), Cedar Creek High School (A/P Environmental students), Wetlands Institute (Interns), NJ Shore Bowl and National Ocean Science Bowl teams, The College of New Jersey (Oceanography), DeSales University (Ecology) classes have all made good use of instruction in field station operations and research techniques.

Wilkes University field trip October 2018  Shore Bowl Winners Tour – May 2017 


RUMFS has also branched out a bit with new ventures to invite interested members of the public to visit and have meaningful experiences at the Field Station. These include hosting a painting class for those wishing to paint the field station and surrounding natural area as well as an OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) class that introduced participants to local flora and fauna via seining and a group kayak tour.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class – May 18, 2017 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class – May 18, 2017


Janice McDonnell Featured on NJTV News: Science & Technology

JaniceMcDonnell NJTV

Janice McDonnell and the ENIGMA (Evolution of Nanomachines in Geospheres and Microbial Ancestors) project led by Rutgers scientists, launched another interactive K-8 Family Science Night entitled “Exploring Life on Other Planets”, at the McKinley School in downtown New Brunswick, NJ. The Family Science Night event centered on a relatable curriculum for the whole family through five different astrobiology-themed stations. Scientists from the ENIGMA project shared their experiences with this exciting and cutting-edge research in the hopes of inspiring young scientists in research.

Students learn about researching life on other planets
BY Briana Vannozzi, Correspondent | May 14, 2019, 4PM EST

Kids from the McKinley Community School in New Brunswick were back in class after hours getting into existential topics — like where did life on Earth begin, and could it possibly exist elsewhere? Rutgers scientists with the NASA-funded Enigma Project were at the school to share scientific discoveries and research with students. ENIGMA stands for Evolution of Nanomachines in Geospheres and Microbial Ancestors, which is a really long name to describe how researchers are studying life in the universe. As part of the project, researchers perform science outreach for Kindergarten through eighth graders to hopefully inspire the next round of scientists.

Shore Bowl 2019


The Shore Bowl is one of the 25 regional competitions of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.  Local high school teams (grades 9-12) compete head-to-head on rapid memory recall and critical thought questions.   Questions focus on the ocean sciences (biology, physics, geology and geography), as well as other ocean-related subjects such as history, navigation, technology and policy. 

The next Shore Bowl will be held on February 2, 2019 on Cook Campus, Rutgers University.  The winning team will be sent to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, which will be held in Washington DC in April, and prizes will be awarded to the top teams at both the regional and national level.

Head to our new Shore Bowl website for more details about the competition, eligibility and registration.      

For further information, please contact Maeve Eason Hubbard, Regional Coordinator, at

Rutgers University Marine Field Station Outreach

Recently, the Rutgers University Marine Field Station (RUMFS) in Tuckerton, NJ has connected with the public giving them hands-on experience with research, the opportunity to interact with scientists, and teaching them about the estuarine environment.

A continuing education course sponsored through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Rutgers drew participants from throughout New Jersey and even a few from Pennsylvania! This program engaged adults in hands-on activities such as seining and kayaking, and informed them of the history of the field station and surrounding environment.


Next to visit the field station was the winning team of the Shore Bowl. These students drove all the way from West Windsor, New Jersey to explore the Mullica River – Great Bay Estuary. The students participated in long term sampling of minnow traps in the RUMFS boat basin, an explorative marsh walk, and seine sampling at the end of Great Bay Boulevard.

Shore Bowl 1 Shore Bowl 2

Shore Bowl 3 Shore Bowl 4

Lastly, in early June thirty five Advanced Placement Biology students from the Atlantic County Institute of Technology visited RUMFS. During their time at the station they applied concepts learned in class to help explain observations they made throughout the day. Through hands on experience with a long term seining program, students identified various fishes and crabs, recorded data on these individuals, and gained a much greater appreciation and understanding of the work research scientists undertake as evidenced by the student quotes below:

“Thank you for showing us how real research works. A lot of people talk about research and I picture a sterile lab and scientists in white lab coats and goggles but that’s not all research is. My time at the station helped me realize that I would love to be a part of research during my own experience in school. Thank you for taking the time to show us what you do!”

“Thank you all for helping us out on our trip. I had no idea how much work and effort goes into biology research and have a renewed respect for your occupations. On top of that, thank you for taking your time to help us all learn about the local marine life and giving us a sneak peek on the research process. We are all grateful for your time and effort.”