2024 Margalef Award Recipient

Robert Chen

The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) presents the Ramón Margalef Award for Excellence in Education each year to recognize outstanding teaching and mentoring in the fields of limnology and oceanography. The 2024 Ramón Margalef Award for Excellence in Education is presented to Dr. Robert F. (Bob) Chen for his unparalleled enthusiasm, skills, and dedication to improving young scientists’ abilities in and commitment to broader impacts. Dr. Chen will accept the award at ASLO’s 2025 Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Charlotte, NC, USA (26-31 March 2025).

Dr. Robert Chen, Professor and Interim Dean of the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston, practices science and education with a broad and open curiosity. With more than three decades of teaching and mentoring, he is a globally recognized leader in developing educational programming for “k-to-gray”. Dr. Chen has supervised more than 30 graduate students and dozens of undergraduates, while spearheading local, regional, and international aquatic science educational initiatives through his dedicated service as ASLO Education and Engagement Committee Chair, principal investigator of COSEE OCEAN and Boston Science Partnership, and as the Director for the Center for Coastal Environmental Sensing Networks. His vision and leadership in aquatic science education has inspired new, creative, and sustained efforts to diversify how aquatic scientists and educators bring research into their communities.

Dr. Chen’s collaborative spirit and relentless commitment have brought sustained funding and organization to various educational initiatives at UMass Boston and beyond. For example, as primary PI of the Boston Science Partnership, he led the effort to provide professional development training to more than 600 science teachers. Within COSEE OCEAN, he spearheaded the distribution of a set of over 50 high quality hands-on ocean science activities to more than 10,000 ocean scientists and educators worldwide. He is also a founding member of the ASLO Global Outreach Initiative (which has supported 28 engagement projects in 20 countries since 2012) and championed the ASLO Storytellers Series, which gets scientists face-to-face with children in local communities at ASLO conference locations. Dr. Chen is rarely deterred, and his “let’s figure out how to get this done” approach translates to successes across a multitude of efforts from training new faculty on teaching large-format classes to establishing transdisciplinary mentoring programs.

ASLO President Pat Glibert says, “The Ramón Margalef Award for Excellence in Education recognizes Dr. Chen as a scientist who exemplifies how curiosity and ingenuity in educational programming can promote the understanding of science. He has energized a generation of scientists and educators to push the boundaries and innovate at the nexus of science and public engagement.”

Scroll to Top