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Southern Association of
Marine Educators (SAME)

Making known the world of water, both fresh and salt.

Outstanding Resource Award

Outstanding Resource Award Recipient 2014: Joan Turner

Photo: Joan TurnerJoan Turner, a marine educator at Dauphin Island Sea Lab, joined SAME in 2003. In the years since then, she has become a dedicated leader in the organization.  She was successively President-Elect in 2005-06, President in 2007-08 and Past-President in 2009-10.  During that time Joan assembled the proposal for an NMEA annual conference Sea the Gulf, Join the Roux in Mobile, AL and began preparing for of the event.  Joan’s outstanding organizational skills were manifested in several ways.  Leadership for the 2013 NMEA conference was spread among the three co-Chair.  Joan is an excellent marine educator, who instructs students and continually pursues professional development to inform her instruction.  Joan readily shares her knowledge, ideas and materials with other educators through presentations at meetings and teacher professional development. 

Outstanding Resource Award Recipient 2008: Dr. Sharon Walker

Photo: Dr. Sharon WalkerDr. Sharon Walker has spent her life working with marine education. She began her career as an advanced biology, chemistry, and environmental marine chemistry teacher at Ocean Springs High School. She moved into the informal education arena as an educator-communicator intern with the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC), then as the marine education specialist. Currently she is a professor emeritus for the Department of Coastal Sciences, College of Science & Technology at the University of Southern Mississippi and director of education with the MASGC. She also serves as special projects coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Education and the National Sea Grant College Program.

Outstanding Resource Award Recipient 2005: Johnette Bosarge

Johnette Bosarge is the a dministrative assistant for the JL Scott Marine Education Center, in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. She began working for the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in 1973. Her working relationship with Dr. Sharon Walker began in August of 1987, and she has provided support for her programs ever since. In 1999, Johnette began working for and joined NMEA, then SAME later that year. Johnette’s favorite “marine activity” is collecting seashells and beach combing.


Outstanding Resource Award Recipient 2004: Denise Keaton

Photo: Denise KeatonDenise Keaton is the scheduling coordinator at Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama. A Bayou La Batre native, Denise dropped out of Alba High School in the 10 th grade, got married and became a mother at age 16, and then divorced two years later.  She earned her General Education Diploma, went to business school while working at Taco Bell and got her first office job at Bender Shipbuilding.  Eventually she went to work with the Mobile County Commission, first as a receptionist, then as a buyer in the purchasing department.

When Denise and her current husband, moved to Dauphin Island in 1995, they both thought it would be nice to get a job on the Island.  When a receptionist position came open at the Sea Lab, she applied and was accepted.  When the opportunity presented itself, Denise became secretary to John Dindo when he was the director of Discovery Hall Programs. She also served as the registrar for visitors who came to the Sea Lab and Estuarium each year and the coordinator for the Estuarium Docent program.  Her new position as scheduling coordinator has Denise working with teachers to help bring their students to visit the Sea Lab.

 Denise grew up on a shrimp boat, and says she loves the water and everything in it.  She has fond childhood memories of staying up late at night with her father at the wheel, asking him questions until she fell asleep. Aboard the boat, she enjoyed digging through her family’s catch, looking for treasure – sea horses, starfish, cowfish, crabs, and puffer fish.  Denise says now when she tells people she took horseshoe crabs home and played with them, they think she’s crazy.  That practical education helped prepare her for her work with Discovery Hall Programs. 

“Here at the Sea Lab, they teach children and adults about the ocean and the animals that live there,” Denise said. “They don’t always use the same names we used as children, but the animals are the same.  Being able to share the sense of discovery that I felt as a child is as if I’ve come full circle.  Knowing how it must feel to learn that sea horses and starfish are real and not just characters in story books gives me the sense that I’m following my destiny.  Did I mention that I love my job?”

Denise is married to Steve Keaton, is the mother April Harrell, and has four grandchildren.

This site is hosted by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program
Louisiana Marine Education Resources Web site.