The Christian Science Monitor

She’s bringing the ocean – as well as science – closer to low-income youths

Shara Fisler, founder of Ocean Discovery Institute, stands near the site of its $17 million Living Lab, which is set to open by early 2018. Source: DAVID KARAS

Carla Camacho grew up in the San Diego neighborhood of City Heights, in which some 30 languages and 100 dialects are spoken in the schools. Besides its diversity, however, the neighborhood is also known for high poverty rates.

Ms. Camacho, now in her mid-20s, acknowledges that, like many other City Heights youths, she was isolated. “You never really understand what else is in the world,” she says.

That all changed at the age of 14, when she joined Ocean Discovery Institute for an intensive science research project in Mexico’s Baja California. “With Ocean Discovery, they helped me to discover those things,” she says of the opportunities out there. “You’re doing awesome things like swimming with whale sharks.”

Founded in 1999 in San Diego, Ocean Discovery is a nonprofit organization that aims to open up new

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