Born and raised in Baltimore, Symone Johnson's interest in marine science started when she participated in the High School Volunteer Program at the National Aquarium. That experience led to her attending Hampton University, where she graduated with her B.S. in Marine and Environmental Science. During undergrad, Symone began to work with youth in her free time, specifically in the Mentoring Young Scientists Program held at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. Symone also played a major role in planning and leading sessions at the Teen Environmental Conference, held in Hampton, VA in 2011 and 2012. Symone received the NOAA Educational Partnership Program Undergraduate Scholarship and completed two internships at NOAA facilities. The last internship under this scholarship program sparked Symone’s interest in sharks, so she attended Delaware State University for graduate school studying Sand Tiger sharks in Delaware Bay.
At the end of her graduate career, Symone was selected as a recipient of the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Fellowship and spent one year in NOAA’s Office of Education. Upon completion of the Knauss Fellowship, Symone accepted a position at the National Aquarium as the B-WET Project Coordinator. This program brings Baltimore City Public School sixth graders to the Aquarium campus to complete a set of water quality activities to investigate what lives in the Baltimore Harbor.
Symone also provides professional development and ongoing support for the teachers of participating students to ensure that they are prepared to teach the pre-lesson and post lesson. Symone has introduced a new internship within this program between the Aquarium and local colleges and universities in Baltimore including Morgan State University, Coppin State University, and Towson University.
Currently, Symone manages the education programs at National Aquarium. Aside from her position at the National Aquarium, Symone also works for NOAA as a targeted recruiter into their undergraduate scholarship programs and fellowships. She hosts an online web-based educator video resource called Ocean Today, Every Full Moon. This resource is designed to be used by informal and formal educators, and the general public, to share the many fascinating aspects of the ocean. Collections are released each month (on the full moon) and topics range from “Endangered Ocean” and “Animals of the Ice” to “The Remarkable Horseshoe Crab” and “Maritime Archaeology.”