K-12 Programs

Virtual, Legacy and Field Trips

CSI’s mission includes engaging elementary, middle and high school students in exciting programming to inspire the next generation of scientists.  CSI programming focuses on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) concepts and ties in real-world applications through the work of CSI researchers and scientists.  K-12 programming includes legacy projects, field experiences, high school internships, teacher resources, guest speakers and virtual programs.  Programming aligns with NC Essential Standards, and are hands-on experiences that compliment the concepts taught in the classroom.

CSI Virtual Programs focus on many of the same concepts but use videos, presentations, and self-guided worksheets and experiments to reach students virtually.  For questions or to schedule a program, please contact John McCord or Parker Kellam or call 252-475-5450.

Programming on campus

The CSI Research and Education Campus is a state-of-the-art facility located on Roanoke Island.  The location of the campus allows us to explore the local ecosystems of the Croatan Sound. The interior science spaces include labs, teaching spaces, and a large wave tank. At CSI, students have the opportunity to learn science concepts in some of the same spaces where research is conducted by the researchers. CSI serves home school groups, after-school clubs, elementary, middle, and high school classes.  

High School Internships

CSI offers internship opportunities for high school students with an interest in the STEAM fields.  The goal of the internship experience is to provide students an opportunity to work in a professional environment while interacting with professors, researchers and staff.  The internship experience will be catered to the interests of the student as well as the needs of faculty and staff.  Experiences have included working with an oceanographer, scientific journalism, individual research projects, working with a horticulturist, and shadowing a geologist.  There are a limited number of internship positions available.


Elementary, Middle and High school field trips

CSI offers educational programs for elementary, middle and high school classes on the ECU Outer Banks Campus.  These programs are created to meet NC Standards and will cover concepts researched by CSI scientists.  These programs are also available for home school groups and after school clubs.

Day Camps

CSI offers science inquiry-based experiences for 8 to 15-year-olds in the summer.  Summer camps combine STEAM education with fun, hands-on experiences and exploring the unique ecosystems of North Carolina. Campers have the opportunity to engineer ocean exploring equipment, as well as go kayaking, snorkel, seining, and fishing.

Virtual and off-site Programming

Virtual Programs

CSI offers a variety of programming that can be utilized virtually, from anywhere.  There are “live” programs where and educator will interact with you through an online platform.  There are also lesson plans, videos and self-guided student resources that can be done independently.

School Legacy Projects

The Institute works with local schools to create activities and projects that relate to the research of CSI scientists.  These programs create opportunities for scientific experiments and data collection while at school, as part of an ongoing research project.  These projects continue to grow and evolve throughout years of partnerships.


Guest Speakers and Career Days

CSI is dedicated to promoting careers in science to students.  We are happy to attend fairs and workshops to promote the work of CSI and the careers of our faculty and staff.  The education staff can also visit classrooms to share how CSI’s research relates to their school lessons. Please contact John McCord or Parker Kellam or call 252-475-5450 with any questions or to schedule a program.


Led by East Carolina University (ECU), The Coastal Studies Institute is a multi-institutional research and educational partnership of the UNC System including North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington, and Elizabeth City State University.


Based at the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI), the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program (NCROEP) advances inter-disciplinary marine energy solutions across UNC System partner colleges of engineering at NC State University, UNC Charlotte, and NC A&T University.


ECU's Integrated Coastal Programs (ECU ICP) is a leader in coastal and marine research, education, and engagement.   ECU ICP includes the Coastal Studies Institute, ECU's Department of Coastal Studies, and ECU Diving and Water Safety.


The faculty and staff at the Coastal Studies Institute come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, as well as departments and organizations including ECU Department of Biology, ECU Department of Coastal Studies, NC Sea Grant, the North Carolina Renewable Energy Program, and the UNC Institute for the Environment.


Tour the ECU Outer Banks Campus and learn about the research, education, and engagement projects of CSI and ECU Integrated Coastal Programs through our 360 virtual tour.


The ECU Outer Banks campus is home to the Coastal Studies Institute.
Located on Roanoke Island along the banks of the second largest estuary
in the United States, this coastal campus spans 213 acres of marshes, scrub wetlands, forested wetlands, and estuarine ecosystems.