Current students

The following is a list of students that are official advisees – I also work with quite a few other students on projects, but this group occasionally needs a signature from me.  I may have some comments, but the text and pictures are largely supplied by the students. I recently gave a recap of what they were doing over fall/winter break at the marinestudiesatcoa blog, the link is here.

Graduate students

Abby-BarrowsAbby Barrows.  I grew up on a Maine island and had the ocean as my playground.  From a young age I loved exploring the outdoors.  My passion for travel brought me to the University of Tasmania, where I earned a degree in Zoology with a focus on Marine Biology.  After spending time mapping the canopy of old-growth temperate rainforests and trapping Tasmanian devils, I studied seahorse diversity, distribution and trade in Papua New Guinea,  published two academic papers on the research.  I  then travelled extensively from the South Pacific to the Himalayas, the Middle East, Mediterranean and South America, before returning to New England.
Since 2012 I  have  been directing microplastic research , initiating the first baseline data map of microplastic pollution distribution in Maine. I used this research to help push through plastic reduction legislation and recently helped write the Maine Marine Debris that was approved in March 2016.  I currently manage a lab for Adventure Scientists where we process and analyze international water samples, enabling a rare glimpse at the extent of plastic contamination in remote, understudied ocean and fresh waters.
In 2016 I began the Graduate program at College of the Atlantic, focusing on the distribution of microplastics in the marine and freshwater environment, the chemistry of microplastics, and the policy surrounding microplastic pollution.


Class of 2017

Renate Braathen.  Renate is a fourth-year transfer student at COA that is hoping to go to vet school in the EU. She is spending December in Germany doing intensive language courses.  This picture was taken in December 2016 in Germany, the story behind the tower is given in the marinestudies at coa blog.

Porcia Manandahar. I grew up under the foothills of the Himalayas in Kathmandu, Nepal. I had never left my home country until I came to College of the Atlantic with an interest in Biology and Mathematics. After my first year, I became more confident in studying and exploring the field of medicine and public health but I also found new interests in fine arts and pottery. Besides this I love swimming, cycling, cooking, photography, and now birding though I have a hard time identifying birds in this continent.porcia-lowres
I spent my first summer as an undergraduate jumping back and forth between COA’s two research islands-Mount Desert Rock Island and Great Duck Island, banding and researching nesting herring gull population. This experience reinforced my interest in research and I am combining research with my long-term interest in medicine. In the winter of my second year, I started working in the Jackson laboratory as an academic intern. During the summer of 2015 I will split my time between a biomedical research internship at the Jackson lab and taking part in a program in Global health issues in South Africa jointly run by the Organization for Tropical Studies and Duke University. For the summer of 2016 I did  an internship at Bowdoin College with Dr. Clare Congdon on bioinformatics.  I’m spending the winter in Nepal doing ethnographic work with HIV patients at public hospitals as part of my senior project.

michelle-pazminoMichelle Pazmino.  Being born and raised in Ecuador, a multi-ethnic, pluri-cultural country and one of the most biodiverse places in the world,  my interest has been in biological sciences and indigenous/local communities. I am interested in people’s response to environmental problems, especially those induced by climate change and economic development. From the perspective of the scientist to the traditional knowledge of the shaman along with that of governing political figures’ and land developers’, ecological impacts are contemplated differently. One of my goals is to see how these -quite often clashing- perspectives interplay in the implementation of conservation decisions.
During my time at COA I have developed my research skills. I also have had the chance to be part of delegations at UN Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions as well as activism movements that allowed me to see one perspective in relation to how humans are trying to ‘save the Earth’. Studying Protected Areas and interning in one let me see a different side of this picture. For the summer of 2016 I am doing an internship as a field ecologist in the Amazon in Brazil.  After spending December 2016 in Cancun at the UN Biodiversity Conference I’ll be in the Galapagos interviewing lobstermen for my senior project looking at the relationship between conservation, management, and local fishermen.
One of the best parts of living in ME is the smell of the coastal shore (fishy and salty), but also learning how to deal with the cold weather.

Class of 2018

Rose Edwards.  rose-edwardsI  have lived in Maine my whole life. I was homeschooled through high school, spent a semester at Chewonki Semester School in Wiscasset, ME, and recently got my Divemaster certification through Odyssey Expeditions in the British Virgin Islands. I am in love with scuba diving, sharks, and fanged bioluminescent monsters of the deep, as well as writing fiction, taking photographs, and painting furniture in bright, vivid colors. I plan to focus on these three passions – marine conservation, writing, and art – while at COA, though I expect that my plans will probably change, because that’s what happens when you’re alive.  For fun, I like to swim, roller skate, and drink tea, but not at the same time. For the summer of 2016 I am doing an internship at the Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC). Rose is spending the 2016-17 academic year splitting her time taking classes in the Caribbean and in New Zealand. For an example of her writing you can check out her writing for the marine studies blog here.

morganMorgan Heckerd.  I came to COA with the determination to become a marine biologist, but it wasn’t long before the school knocked me off my feet. I’ve found myself studying sustainable methods and practices including renewable energy, permaculture design, as well as some marine studies. Growing up on the coast of Maine I had the opportunity to explore the ocean on a sailboat. It’s in this background that my love for the environment is deeply rooted. In the summer of 2016 I spent a second summer working on a small island farm on Monhegan Island. CP – Morgan also  writes some powerful poetry, and is in the teacher certification program, and will graduate with the a teaching credential – so perhaps she will be teaching island children some day.
maxim-web-8Maxim Lowe.
I come from Sarasota, on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Growing up near the ocean helped instill in me a love of nature and science, and I have drawn for as long as I can remember – as a result, my two passions are art and science. I was homeschooled from 4th grade through high school, and during that time, volunteered for eight years at a local wildlife rehabilitation center, spent half a year in French public middle school, went to Conserve School (an environmental stewardship semester school), and dual enrolled at the State College of Florida during my four years of high school.
Now, at COA,  I’m  combining art and science. I also hope to get my teaching certificate while at COA, as some of my biggest goals include using art as a tool to teach, through children’s books, comics, and animation. While my exact plans will probably change, I am sure they will involve science and art. Some of my favorite things to do are cooking, eating, and drawing – which I’ll be doing plenty of during my time at COA!  After spending time in Japan with a COA group during the summer of 2016, I’m spending winter 2017 in Taiwan as part of a set of COA courses taught by COA faculty Bonnie Tai and Suzanne Morse.

Kenya Perry.kenya-perry-lowres  I grew up on an organic vegetable farm in a small town in Maine. I spent a few weeks of every summer on the ocean, and discovered my love for waves, water, and boats. When I was in 11th grade I participated in a semester program called Kroka. We skied the length of Vermont in the winter living out of a tent, carrying our supplies in our backpacks. In the spring we whitewater canoed into Canada, rowed the length of Lake Champlain, and biked from New York back to Kroka’s base camp. This program was a challenge for me, I learned how to live in a close-knit community, take care of my type 1 diabetes, all while learning how to live in the wilderness. The summer after Kroka I started farming again but I wanted to be challenged by the outdoors. I started working on an 1870’s schooner, and fell in love with old boats and sailing. College of the Atlantic is the perfect place for me to challenge myself and to learn about marine life. CP –  Last year she also built a treehouse with her partner, did an internship at a natural food’s store and is focusing academically on nutrition and outdoor education.

Siobhan Rickert Siobhan Rickert. I grew up in San Francisco, California spending my free time at the beach watching the waves and looking for animals. I was homeschooled in high school were I could dive into my interests and find my passion. My fascination with the ocean led me to volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands for five years, rehabilitating California marine mammals. My experience working with the sick marine mammals sparked my interest in a veterinary career. In my free time I like to be outside scuba diving, hiking, and rock climbing. During my time at College of the Atlantic I plan on studying to prepare for vet school and ocean conservation with a focus on marine mammals. For the summer of 2016 I am living back home in San Francisco working for a 24-hour veterinary hospital in San Francisco.

ite-s-lowresIte Sullivan.  I Grew up in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, an area known for its abandoned factories, polish food, and the site of one of the worlds largest oil spills.
I also grew up knowing that marine science was in some way or another going to be my life. An idea that boggled my artist parents who couldn’t figure out where I had pulled the desire to study the ocean from living where I did, considerably distanced from any body of water that was safe to swim in, and close to several polluted spots so saturated with centuries of industrial waste that they bubbled in the summer.
At present, I still love marine science, I am passionate about estuaries, salt marshes, and bioremediation in marine systems.
At COA I hope to draw upon the wide array of courses, science and otherwise, to figure out exactly what I want to do within marine science… I hope to find my niche so to speak.

Teagan White.  teagan
I was born and raised in central Vermont. My dad grew up in Woods Hole in Cape Cod, so every summer we would spend a long weekend there. I come from a long line of fish-people who love the water, so in high school I joined a program called Ocean Classroom where I lived and attended school on a schooner for four months. I discovered COA through that program because the school generously let us use their pier and library while we were anchored in Bar Harbor. Since attending COA I have taken every marine class I can get my hands on. Thus far I seem to be interested in every aspect of marine sciences, so I hope that through COA I will begin to narrow my interests and build upon my experiences. Not only does COA offer a plethora of programs I’m interested in, it is also located on one of the most productive regions of the east coast! I couldn’t be more excited to pursue my education here. For the summer of 2016 I interned with Allied Whale at COA.

Class of 2019

katie-clarkKatie Clark.  My marine biology inspiration probably came from my early years spent traipsing around the Aquarium of the Bay with my father in San Francisco. He was an employee, so I was able to go behind the exhibits, and I was fascinated by the unique creatures that I saw in each tank. While growing up about a three hour drive from the coast, I was able to make frequent jaunts to my grandma’s house and the beach that was only a ten minute walk from it. That stretch of beach is still my favorite spot in the world. This interest in the ocean led me to COA to study marine science and conservation. My hope is to explore these topics as both a scientist and a photographer in the coming years. For the summer of 2016 I will be spending July and August living out on the college’s research station on Mount Desert Rock studying seals.

nick-tontiNicholas Tonti.  Marine science hooked me when I caught my first fish in the rivers of Northeast Ohio. I grew up in Youngstown, where Lake Erie was the closest thing I had to an ocean. Weekend fishing and camping trips to Lake Erie is where I found a connection to nature, a connection that has instilled in me a love for the natural world. My love for river ecology and ichthyology convergently evolved while I was in high school into a broader field–marine science. Marine science was a novel world to me and this new interest lead me to College of the Atlantic. College of the Atlantic gave me the chance to transport myself from the landlocked shores of Youngstown to open waters, from behind class desks to a distant shore; it brings the books to the bay; it brings illustrations to life. My interdisciplinary education has lead me to participate in Williams College Maritime Program–where I spent time sailing, traveling and learning about the different ecosystems of California and Louisiana, and completing my own research projects in oceanography, marine policy, and maritime history. My experiences at College of the Atlantic and Williams College have given me the drive and education to pursue marine research and graduate school. For the summer of 2017 I will conduct research on the effects of climate change on blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) with researchers at Mystic Aquarium

amruta-surfingAmruta Valiyaveetil.  I was born and raised in India and have lived in both Kerala and Mumbai. Growing up around coastal regions I spent all my free time looking at the ocean and admiring fishermen and surfers. Eventually I got the courage to enter the waters and learn surfing, which I have grown to in the south and several other places (including my favorite surf paradise Bali).
I am also in love with Scuba diving and spent a year and a half in Thailand working using marine conservation techniques and this sparked my interest in scientific research. Growing up in India and being surrounded by a myriad of diseases I always wanted to be a doctor but got sidetracked by my love for the ocean and this made me come to COA where I could do both! During my time at COA I plan to prepare for med school and eventually also go into International wildlife and biodiversity politics.

Class of 2020

emmawebEmma Ober. I grew up in Lincoln Vermont, a small town near Middlebury, half an hour from our favorite ski mountain, Mad River Glen. Through many great mentors and experiences in my life, I discovered a passion for science, mainly biology. My interests span from marine studies, to neuroscience, genetics, anatomy, and ornithology. This is supplemented by a love of art, graphic design, as well as theater production. I came to COA to expand my knowledge in a variety of fields and hopefully find a focus among them. CP- Emma is pictured here with a hawksbill turtle from WIDECAST turtle project in Costa Rica.