Meet Our Education Program Interns
Born and raised in South Florida, Shalimar was intrigued at a young age by its diverse ecosystems. She graduated in December 2016 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Marine Biology from Florida International University. During her undergraduate, she learned to scuba dive and went on to becoming a certified AAUS Scientific Diver where she fell in love with the world of marine biology. Last summer, she worked in Key Largo helping a lab from her University doing fish surveys of herbivorous species on the reefs as well as helping with other ongoing projects. Shalimar is now very excited to be spending her summer again in the Keys working with Coral Restoration Foundation to learn more about the methods of reef restoration and to share that critical knowledge with others in her community.
Christina is a South Florida native, born and raised in sunny Fort Lauderdale, a proud mother to a miniature dachshund named Jake, and a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a BSc in Marine Science. During her time at UF, she traveled abroad to Akumal, Mexico where she conducted field experiments on how tourism affects reef fish behavior. It’s in Mexico where she fell in love with field research and coral reef ecology and has been involved as a research assistant and scientific diver at UF ever since, working mostly in the Caribbean and the Florida Keys. Christina has aspirations to go to graduate school and earn her Ph.D., focusing on coral growth dynamics and exploring the question of how we can use ecology to better coral outplanting efforts. She is very excited for the opportunity to continue her education as a researcher at Coral Restoration Foundation and to educate the local community on how everyone can get involved and promote a healthy ocean and coral restoration!
Originally from scenic New England, Joe grew up with a passion for wildlife in all forms. During his undergraduate career he became a certified Divemaster, logged over 120 dives, and participated in research projects in Jamaica, Honduras, and at his alma mater in Long Island, NY. Before graduating, he took a semester abroad to live in Útila, Honduras where he volunteered with the Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center. In May 2017, he graduated from Stony Brook University with his B.S. in Marine Science and Environmental Studies minor. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Joe began his internship with CRF. Now in his second term, Joe is looking forward to working harder and doing more to help the ocean.
Victoria graduated from the University of Vermont in May 2017 where she majored in Wildlife Conservation and Studio Art. While studying abroad at CIEE Bonaire, Victoria focused on tropical marine ecology and conservation, and did research on the effects of structural complexity on Canthigaster rostratra, the Caribbean Sharpnose-Puffer. During her time in the caribbean, Victoria visited Coral Restoration Foundation’s nursery at buddy dive resort which inspired her to join the CRF team in Florida upon graduating. Over the summer, she became a Plastic Tides brand ambassador and is happy to continue working on the issue of plastic pollution at CRF for her independent project. Victoria is passionate about finding creative ways to solve environmental problems and is excited to be applying this approach while interning at CRF.
Natalia has known that she wanted to be a marine biologist since she began collecting seashells at the age of six. Since then, she has spent as much time as possible learning about the oceans, eventually attending the University of Pennsylvania and earning a bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. During her time in school, experiences like studying abroad right near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, conducting research on topics as diverse as ctenophore biology and shark behavior, and becoming SCUBA certified up to the Divemaster level have only further intensified her love of marine science. Natalia is now overjoyed to be working with the Coral Restoration Foundation and using her passion for ocean conservation to inspire others to care for the coral reefs worldwide.
Danielle is a New Jersey native who graduated with a BSc in Zoology from Kent State University. After graduation, she wanted to explore potential careers in the field which led her to the Philippines. There, she volunteered for a marine conservation NGO that focused on establishing marine protected areas. During her stay, she attained her Divemaster and inevitably fell in love with the ocean and the intrinsic role it plays to all life on earth. Fueled by her new-found passion to protect our ocean and its inhabitants, she returned to the states and interned at Mystic Aquarium in their research department, where she evaluated the top 50 imported marine ornamental fishes into the United States to target them for aquaculture as a sustainable alternative to wild harvesting. After a year out of the water, she jumped at the opportunity to work for an NGO, out planting corals and creating artificial reefs in the Bay of Ranobe, Madagascar. Danielle is thrilled to begin her next adventure with the Coral Restoration Foundation and gain valuable experience in a field she is so drawn to.
Surrounded by deserts in Phoenix, Arizona, Lydia grew up dreaming of making it to the ocean. During college she studied abroad with CIEE Bonaire where she got her first taste of coral research and she has been hooked ever since. After graduating in May 2017 with a degree in Molecular Biology she went on to work for CIEE Bonaire as the laboratory intern working with 3D modeling of corals and finishing up a 10-year benthic analysis of the island. She is excited to be working with CRF getting hands on experience in reef restoration while helping to spread awareness about this vital ecosystem.
Cheyenne’s love for the marine world started as a child, when she could be spotted in the waters of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, as she bobbed up and down to get a glimpse of the crabs and fish below. The love only grew and as an undergraduate she studied marine biology and environmental science at Roger Williams University. After completing her bachelor’s degrees, she went on to earn a Master’s in Animals and Public Policy from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tuft’s University. It was there that she realized her new goal of not only working in the ocean but working as an advocate for the ocean by educating the public about the marine world. To complete her master’s, Cheyenne traveled to Koh Tao, Thailand and had her first experience restoring coral reefs (she also found her precious puppy whom she brought home to America). A true passion was realized and a fire was lit. Cheyenne is now very excited to be working with Coral Restoration Foundation to continue following her dreams of restoring reefs and educating the public about the need for marine issues and how they can help conserve our oceans and its vast array of inhabitants.
Callie Stephenson grew up in North Carolina and attended North Carolina State University, where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology with minors in Wildlife Sciences and Genetics. Her relationship with the ocean entered the professional realm in the summer of 2014 she started working for Broadreach Global Educational Adventures. While living aboard a sailboat and learning to dive, Callie assisted the coordination of SCUBA and sail-based summer programs. Every summer since, she has returned to this organization, leading programs and deepening her interest in ocean conservation. In 2016, she took a semester off from college to travel to Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas, where she worked for the Cape Eleuthera Institute for their educational programs department, expanding her view of what ocean conservation can look like. From both these professional experiences and her personal travel, Callie has cultivated her passion for marine science and education. She is excited to be joining the Coral Restoration Foundation this season to aid in reef restoration and community education!
Raymond is from the southwestern Arizona desert, and has always had a dual-love of the ocean and the past. He attended the University of Montana in Missoula and earned a degree in Geosciences, with a personal interest in paleontology. His passions for the ocean and paleontology did not have much overlap, but he is working towards graduate work in underwater paleontology, researching the evolution of seals and sea lions and their transition back to water. After graduating, he worked in Nebraska at Ashfall Fossil Beds Historical State Park excavating Miocene mammals, but after a conversation with one of the park visitors, he decided that he wanted to do something that mattered, something he could watch grow right in front of him. He is excited to work with CRF and do more scientific diving while making a difference.
Megan grew up away from the ocean in Chicago, Illinois. As a waterpolo player and a swimmer, she still managed to spend most of her life in the water. Upon graduating from Hartwick College with a bachelors degree in Biology and Psychology, Megan moved abroad to Nice, France where she worked as an English teacher. On her roundabout journey back to America, Megan discovered scuba diving in Koh Tao, Thailand and was instantly hooked. Newly certified, she was lucky enough to dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and it was after this experience that she decided that she wanted to focus on marine conservation and play a part in coral restoration. She then interned at Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire and is overjoyed to continue working with CRF.
Born in New Jersey and raised in Pennsylvania, Pat has always been captivated by the ocean but could never quite figure out how to pursue his passion. In 2012, Pat graduated with a BA in biology with a focus in Marine Biology from Millersville University and started an internship at the NJ Department of Environmental Protection which lead to his participation in the NJ Watershed Ambassador program. Not satisfied with the direction he was going in, he took a step back to reassess where he wanted to go and how he was going to get there. Finally things started to come together and Pat was accepted into the CRF internship program and is excited to be pursuing his dream of a career in Marine Conservation.
Nina grew up in Richmond, Virginia. Her curiosity for the ocean began early in life, and it grew as she did, through summers spent on the eastern shore of North Carolina. She graduated from the University of Virginia in December 2017 with a B.S in Environmental Science and a minor in Global Sustainability. While studying abroad in the Turks and Caicos Islands, she fell in love with SCUBA diving and tropical marine ecology, and she developed a particular interest in coral while conducting research on coral bleaching. Since then, she has pursued her passion for marine science by working with several sea turtle conservation organizations, including the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles in North Carolina and the Leatherback Sea Turtle Project at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge in St. Croix, USVI, and by completing a research internship in seagrass ecology at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. She is thrilled to be spending the winter in sunny Florida, making a tangible impact on the health of our ocean by protecting and restoring coral reefs.