JOE Logo


The Junior Ocean Explorers (JOE) Summer Program is a 1 week, hands-on marine science program for students in grades 3-6 interested in learning more about our environment. Much like our Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program that is open to students in grades 7-12, JOE involves a combination of short presentations and lectures daily from UVI faculty, staff, and community partners along with field activities utilizing scientific tools to supplement those presentations. Participants report to the UVI Center for Marine & Environmental Studies but can expect to travel with staff to other on-island locations for field work and activities. 


howard forbes jr Jarvon Stout

The Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program is led by the dynamic duo of Howard Forbes Jr. (left: Program Director) and Jarvon Stout (right: Program Coordinator). Forbes holds both a B.S. in Biology and M.Sc. in Marine and Environmental Sciences from UVI; Stout holds a B.S. in Marine Biology from UVI. Together, they have utilized their training and expertise in the field of science to develop the JOE Summer Program, designing the curriculum to be as engaging as possible. The JOE Summer Program also serves as a perfect opportunity for our selected mentors of the Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program to practice their skills working with youth as well as understanding how each activity is facilitated. Outside of the JOE Summer Program, Forbes serves as the St. Thomas Coordinator for the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS) and Stout serves as the Community Engagement Specialist for the Virgin Islands Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR)


  • Student must reside on St. Thomas as this program is not yet offered on St. Croix.
  • Applicants that do not reside in the Virgin Islands permanently are eligible to apply; however, first preference is given to local applicants. This is not an overnight program and thus, housing is not provided. 
  • The Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program is open to students in grades 3-6 (rising 4th graders are eligible to apply) with an interest in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics). 
  • Interested applicants should be comfortable in the water which includes, swimming, floating, and submerging underwater. Students that are not able to perform these skills are encouraged to take swimming lessons prior to the program.
  • Students who previously participated in the program are eligible to apply to participate again, though preference will be given to new students. 
  • Parents and/or guardians may register multiple children; however, because space is limited, we ask that students who genuinely have an interest in marine science or STEM apply.   



The registration period for the 2021 Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program is now closed. Please check back in early 2022 when the registration reopens for the 2022 program. 



STEP 1: Parents or legal guardians should complete the following online application. Again, please note, this program is not yet offered on St. Croix.

Online application

STEP 2: Child completes the following:

student application

STEP 3: Review checklist; your application is only complete until all of the following have been received:

  • Completed parent application (Done by parent or legal guardian)
  • Completed student application (Done by child)

STEP 4: Check the E-mail address that you provided with your application regularly as all initial correspondence will be done through E-mail regarding your application status and program updates. 

Selected applicants will be required to pay the one-time program fee of $100 no later than 1-week prior to the start date of the program. Cash, check, and credit card payments are accepted; contact for more details.


YOE mentor picture

To be eligible for a mentorship position in the Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program, the applicant should at a minimum, be at the high school level (grades 9-12), have an interest in STEM, be comfortable swimming, and working with younger children. Selected mentors will be required to complete either the Red Cross Life guard training or Emergency First Responder training (costs covered by the Program) as well as attend a week-long training session prior to the start date of the program to familiarize themselves with the activities conducted and best practices in STEM education and engagement. Mentors are paid a monetary stipend for their assistance with the JOE Summer Program. 





Learn to swim  YOE STT

VIMAS coordinates a Learn to Swim Program that is open to children ages 3-18 and focuses on providing them with the basic skills necessary to be comfortable swimming. Interested applicants who are not comfortable swimming are encouraged to register for this program to strengthen their swimming skills. Additionally, interested applicants that age out of being eligible for the Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program can instead register for the Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program which is open to children in grades 7-12. YOE runs a continuous 4-week experience that builds upon what students learned in the JOE Summer Program; adding new content such as highlighting career pathways within the geosciences as well as providing opportunities for participants to get scuba certified. Click any of the above images or any of the buttons below to learn more about that respective program.  

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Our program operates each year via small grants from private foundations and federal agencies as well as donations (monetary or in kind services) from the Virgin Islands community. Your donation could support the program in any number of ways such as covering the registration costs for a student or enhancing the STEM education tools and resources our program provides to participants. If you are interested in providing a donation or to sponsor a student to attend, you can donate to the program by clicking the "Donate" button below; from the dropdown menu, select "Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program" to make your donation. The University of the Virgin Islands is a 501c3 institution so all donations are tax deductible.

Donate to YOE

- CONTACT US -   new

Office Phone: St. Thomas (340) 693-1672
E-mail: St. Thomas (
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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

VIMAS homepage