November 20, 2023

Mesa College Unveils Permanent Display based on San Diego Kelp Forests

Collaboration to be exhibited in Math and Science building

By Paul Detwiler

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San Diego, C.A. –  An interdisciplinary collaboration of scientific expertise and artistry has resulted in a visually stunning interpretive display in the hallway of the 3rd floor of the MS Building. Led by biology professor Paul Detwiler, the production team included Jenny Armer, Museum Studies ILT in the Department of Fine Art, and Museum Studies students Gaby Espina and Sara Shah. Together, they created realistic models of marine species while also including specimens from the biology department’s teaching collections to represent a microcosm of undersea life.

“This was a wonderful collaboration that offered our museum studies students the opportunity to hone their exhibition design and fabrication skills” said Alessandra Moctezuma, Art Gallery Director and Museum Studies Professor. “There are so many ways in which the creativity, observational and visual communication skills that we use in the arts are of great value to other STEM disciplines such as the natural sciences and engineering.” Professor Detwiler agrees. “The display looks amazing, and we hope to develop more artistic collaborations between Fine Arts and the School of Mathematics & Natural Sciences to showcase student talent, stimulate interest in STEM fields, and communicate science topics to the Mesa community and beyond.”

The public is invited to view the permanent display (located next to room MS 313) and to learn more about the biodiversity of our local San Diego kelp forests by accessing the display’s accompanying website (

Museum Studies Department

This three-course program provides theory, instruction and practical experience in all aspects of design and installation of art exhibitions. Students receive an overview of the history, functions and operations of art galleries and Museums. Museum Studies Program and Courses | San Diego Mesa College (


About San Diego Mesa College

San Diego Mesa College is a fully accredited, comprehensive community college committed to access, success, and equity. We honor those commitments as a diverse community of students, faculty, professional staff, and administrators who collaborate to foster scholarship, leadership, innovation, and excellence in an inclusive learning environment. By promoting student learning and achievement that leads to degrees and certificates, transfer, workforce training, and lifelong learning, we empower our students to reach their educational goals and shape their future.  Among the largest community colleges in California, Mesa College serves 30,000 students per year, 25% of whom are full-time. Mesa offers nearly 200 associate degree and certificate programs and is one of 15 California community colleges offering a four-year baccalaureate degree. Mesa ranks as San Diego’s top transfer institution, is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution and a Military Friendly School, serving more than 3,500 veterans and their families.


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Tags: Press Release, Museum Studies, San Diego Mesa College Math and Science, Marine Biology