Aly Busse, Assistant Vice President for Education at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, has been named Chair of the National Association of Marine Laboratories’ (NAML’s) new Education Committee—a prominent leadership role and exciting opportunity for Mote to spearhead improved strategies for educational excellence at marine science nonprofits across the nation.

NAML includes more than 100 member and associate organizations ranging from independent, nonprofit institutions such as Mote to universities and government agencies. Overall, NAML works to stimulate research and promote education in marine science—two efforts in which Mote is an international leader.

Busse leads Mote’s diverse portfolio of innovative education activities, including: informal science education programs serving some 30,000 pre-k to adult participants each year in southwest Florida and the Florida Keys; virtual learning programs that reach audiences around the world; a volunteer corps of over 1,500 at Mote’s six different campuses; and college internship programs serving about 220 students per year—including National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported internships known as Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU). Read Busse’s biography.

Notably, Busse is a Co-principal Investigator for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP): Marine Science Laboratory Alliance Center of Excellence (MarSci-LACE) founded at Mote. MarSci-LACE aims to open doors into marine science research, education and careers for underrepresented, minority students. MarSci-LACE is also co-funded by the NSF Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES) initiative.

In her two-year term as Chair, Busse will guide NAML’s Education Committee toward better understanding and addressing the education priorities of NAML members institutions, enabling them to better translate marine science, support students and give back to their communities.

Specifically, the Education Committee is empowered to help NAML institutions meet goals such as: preparing students for diverse careers in marine science and technology; addressing and overcoming barriers to marine science education; conferring essential skills and competencies to students; applying online education effectively; attracting and supporting diverse and outstanding students from around the world, including underrepresented minority students; and much more.

“Most NAML institutions provide education, and our Education Committee is here to give them the critical tools needed to better serve their students, communities and the public overall,” Busse said. “I look forward to exploring what is working well and how we can improve together, while sharing what we have learned through our large-scale and longstanding education programs at Mote Marine Laboratory. I also look forward to strengthening efforts to diversify the field of marine science. Mote recently led the creation of MarSci-LACE to better support underrepresented minority students in our field, and in general, increasing opportunities for diversity in marine science is very important to us and to so many of our peers nationally and internationally. There is a great deal of demand for more programs like this.”

Mote is also working to significantly improve public access to marine science and technology in southwest Florida and beyond, through a planned rebirth of its longstanding Mote Aquarium as the enhanced Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA). The new facility, whose construction is planned over the next few years, will allow Mote to offer nearly 70,000 students from Sarasota and Manatee county schools access to free, annual, education opportunities via three STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teaching labs at Mote SEA, focused on marine and coastal ecology, marine biomedical microbiology and immunology research, and ocean technology and robotics development. The state-of-the-art facility will serve students and teachers with STEM programming, enhanced school curricula, an Educator Resource Center, and free-of-charge visits for the families of students in Sarasota Title-1 schools. (Learn more about Mote SEA and the campaign to create it, Oceans for All, at

Busse is working to lay the foundation for this education expansion, as part of a team led by Mote’s President & CEO, Dr. Michael P. Crosby, who also serves as Principal Investigator for MarSci-LACE.

“Aly has provided a tremendous level of leadership for Mote’s education initiatives at all levels,” Crosby said. “I have the utmost confidence that her leadership of the NAML Education Committee will expand the impacts and scope of what we can all achieve together, whether we are fostering the next generation of marine scientists, connecting underrepresented learners with opportunities to excel, or applying technology to ensure marine science education is accessible to all, no matter who or where they are.”

NAML’s Education Committee is linked to its Public Policy Committee through shared members and complementary goals, enabling the committees to provide intelligent insights for public policy decisions related to informal science education.

Below are the Education Committee members for NAML and its regional organizations.

NAML Education Committee:

    • Aly Busse: Chair, Mote Marine Laboratory
    • Itchung Cheung: Vice Chair, Oregon State University
    • Dave Carlon: Member as Chair of Public Policy Committee

NEAMGLL (Northeastern Association of Marine & Great Lakes Laboratories)

    • Liz Sutton, School of Freshwater Science, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
    • Janet Vail, Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University

SAML (Southern Association of Marine Laboratories)

    • Melina Simmons, Jacksonville University
    • Victoria Young, Savannah State University

WAML (Western Association of Marine Laboratories)

    • Judy Lemus, University of Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology
    • Jeff Bowman, Scripps Institution of Oceanography