Junior Ocean Explorers

JOE Logo

The Junior Ocean Explorers (JOE) Summer Program is a continuous, 2 week, hands-on marine science program for students in grades 3-6 interested in learning more about our environment. JOE prioritizes teaching youth the basics and fundamentals of swimming and snorkeling. Engaging youth at this age is pivotal to increasing their interest in and curiosity within the marine sciences. Students can use the JOE program to enhance their understanding and appreciation of the ocean and eventually participate in the Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program.

Meet Our Team!

Our team consists of several youth engagement professionals as well as students that are hired each summer as program mentors.
Program Director Howard Forbes Jr. Program Director Howard Forbes Jr.

Howard Forbes Jr. (MSc.)

Program Director
Designated Red Cross certified lifeguard and program lesson design lead
Program Coordinator Jarvon Stout Program Coordinator Jarvon Stout

Jarvon Stout

Program Coordinator
Designated Red Cross certified lifeguard and program lesson facilitator
Water Safety Instructor Amber Knight Water Safety Instructor Amber Knight

Amber Knight

Water Safety Instructor
Designated Red Cross certified Water Safety Instructor 

JOE Program Highlights 

Scroll through the photos below to familiarize yourself with the program.
Eligibility Requirements 
  • Open to youth in grades 3-6 (ages 7-11).
  • Should have an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
  • Student must be able to attend the entire program. (Plan your vacations accordingly)
Program Structure 
  • Program operates for 2 weeks. 
  • The 2023 JOE session will be conducted from June 12-23. 
  • Students meet daily at UVI's Marine Science Center.
  • Housing is not provided as this is not an overnight program.
Program Registration 
  • One-time registration fee of $100 which covers all program-related costs.
  • Registration for JOE opens each year on January 1 and closes firmly on May 1.


Junior Ocean Explorers Registration

  2. The JOE application consists of 2 parts; the Parent/Guardian Application and the Student Application. Both must be completed and submitted before May 1.

  3. Completed applications will be reviewed after May 1st and selected students will be notified via E-mail within the next 1-2 weeks (please check your E-mail regularly). We accept on average 15-20 students which is dependent on funding.

  4. Selected applicants will be provided with additional paperwork to complete such as photo and liability release forms as well as receive information on how to process payment at the University's Cashiers Office. 
Students taking notes
~ 5 minutes to complete
This portion of the JOE application process should be completed by the parent or legal guardian and provides our team with important information such as the applicant's t-shirt / shoe size, known allergies, and emergency contact information.
Students swimming underwater
~ 1 day to complete
This last component of the JOE application should be completed by the applicant. It contains 2 short essay questions that will provide our team with a better understanding of an applicant's interest in the program and STEM.
JOE mentor and swim instructor teaching a student to float
<10 minutes to complete
If you are interested in being a mentor or swim instructor for JOE, complete this application to join our team. Previous mentors have included high school, undergraduate, and graduate level students. Mentors assist with day-to-day activities, provide guidance and support to student participants, and are paid for their support of JOE!


Contact Us!

Our team is happy to assist you.

Office Phone: (340) 693-1672
E-mail: St. Thomas (howard.forbes@uvi.edu)
Website: http://vimas.uvi.edu
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Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service
Center for Marine and Environmental Studies
University of the Virgin Islands

St. Thomas
#2 John Brewers Bay
St. Thomas, USVI 00802