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. In the last year a  recap of what they were doing over fall/winter break and over the summer of 2017 at  the marinestudiesatcoa blog, the links are here. and here.

Graduate students

giulialowresGiulia Cardoso.  I fell in love with the ocean on a very special island in the Indian Ocean (that shall remain unnamed) when I was 20 years old, and I have been catching up on the time lost ever since. While studying for my undergraduate degree in Geography at King’s College London, UK, I took every opportunity I could to get involved in marine research and conservation. I went SCUBA diving in Cuba to study the ecological drivers of invasive lionfish abundance for my undergrad thesis, I patrolled the endless beaches of Sal, Cabo Verde to protect nesting loggerhead turtles from poachers and I spent a summer on the island of Madeira, Portugal to earn my divemaster certification. Not having had enough of island life and warm weather, I moved to stunning Eleuthera, The Bahamas, where I worked at the Cape Eleuthera Institute/The Island School for a little over a year. I divided my time there between sharks and stingrays, the deep sea and drone-based research, with the occasional dip into the world of corals and turtles. I also got a chance to learn some life-changing skills such as cracking open a fresh coconut and not setting your boat on fire (it was not my fault). Co-advising a research class for a small group of Island School students and leading experiential education sessions for visiting groups opened up my interest in teaching, and after stopping by in Italy to quickly restock my pasta supplies I took up a three-month stint on Cape Cod, MA, at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy as an educator. In the meantime, I successfully wore down Chris to the point that he accepted me as his new grad student – which has led me to yet another (much colder) island and COA. Here, I will be focusing on my newfound interest for fisheries and work with downeast Maine fishing communities. I’m looking forward to the next two years as part of an institution that supports a well-rounded education, and that lets me explore my interests in art, videography and community building.


Class of 2020

allie-with-snails-2017Allie Ceuvorst.  I grew up in a rural mountain town nestled in the Colorado Rockies.  After my freshman year at College of the Atlantic, I returned back to the mountains to pick up a summer job waitressing and looking after disabled children.  The extra income has allowed me to take some wild adventures around the country. In June, I found my way up to Eastport, Maine where I visited some relatives.  I then ventured a little further North into Canada to see the astonishing Campobello Island. Later on in the summer I reunited with more family members in Casper, WY.  In Colorado, I drove four hours to Great Sand Dunes National Park to splash in Medano Creek at the base of the dunes.  In August I will board a plane to Anna Maria Island, FL for some fun in the sun.  Throughout the summer I have been routing a road trip back to Maine and figuring out the logistics of the upcoming academic year.  I can’t wait for the adventures it will hold!

Petka with kidPetka Laucikova.   I was born in Slovakia, in a small mountain town. I am of Gypsy heritage and proud of it. Raised by very traditional Eastern European parents, I grew up eating sauerkraut, a lot of potatoes and helping my grandfather fermenting fruit from his garden into alcoholic liquors. I am the oldest child for my parents and I have always been a rebel. I really wish my sisters would appreciate how low I set the bar for them. Growing up, school was always boring for me. At the age of 14 I started volunteering in Gypsy villages in Slovakia and two years later I was accepted to an international boarding school in Italy. There I had an opportunity to work in a refugee center and fell in love with it. My passion for disaster relief and humanitarian aid work developed during my two gap years which I took after high school. I spent my time working in a refugee camp in Serbia and traveling the world. Knowing that disaster relief work is what I want to do in life, I chose COA for my undergraduate studies. I fell in love with the idea of being able to organize, develop and be responsible for my own education. While in Bar Harbor, I mostly focus on human rights, conflict resolution and humanitarian development work. Next academic year I will be interning at the Permanent Mission of the Slovak Republic at the UN in NYC and after that I am hoping to work with a disaster relief organization.

Bianca canoeingBianca Massacci. I come from Sardinia, a beautiful island located in the middle of the Mediterranean. I grew up hiking and swimming by the sea, activities that naturally led to my passion for being in nature and taking care of it, which is also what brought me to COA. I came to the College with the idea of studying ecology and sustainability, but also of exploring new fields. During my first year, I took particular interest on food related issues, and now I intend to continue my studies within the areas of mathematics, physics, and ecology. CP – This picture is of Bianca during her OOPS trip the weeks before she started her first year t COA.  Yes, she is always smiling.

emmawebEmma Ober.  I grew up in Lincoln, Vermont, a small town in Addison County on the mid-west side of the state. Throughout my life I have developed a passion for the study of the biological and marine sciences. At College of the Atlantic (COA), I have taken classes focused on marine biology, ecology, math, computer science, chemistry, and conservation science. Last year I was an RA for COA’s on-campus housing and have been the TA for a number of classes including Marine Biology, Biology Form and Function, and Chemistry. This fall and winter I am doing an Ecoleague exchange to Prescott College in order to attend classes at the Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies in Sonora, Mexico where I will be learning about marine conservation in the Gulf of California and taking a Spanish Intensive and Cultural Emersion course. During my time off from school in the summer, I am attempting to learn more about various fields of marine science through internships and research opportunities. In the summer of 2017, I interned for Allied Whale, an organization run out of COA. I spent half my time in town working as a deckhand, research assistant, and naturalist assistant for the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company. The other half of the summer I spent on COA’s research station, Mount Desert Island, doing an extension of a recent senior project by Alyssa Murad, looking at parasite prevalence in introduced and native crab species. In 2018 I interned at the Darling Marine Center in Damariscotta, Maine working with Marissa McMahan and Rachel Lasley-Rasher to collect ecological data on green crab populations in order to inform the development of a softshell green crab fishery in Maine.

Class of 2021

Celeste Crowley.  celeste-crowleyGrowing up in Sedona, Arizona has given me a huge appreciation for nature. Because of my homeschooling career through high school, I was fortunate enough to be able to do most of my learning outside, whether that was photography, geology, math, costume design, ecology or music and dance. Since my studies at COA began, my passions for finding new ways to communicate through dance as well as music and my growing interest in climate science and awareness have grown and evolved in the most beautiful and unexpected ways. Outside of academia I enjoy rock climbing, exploring Acadia National Park, getting to know new people and discussing the environment and philosophy. I look forward to more academic and outdoor adventures!

sam-low-resSamuel Evans.  In the early morning of Christmas Eve, 1998, my birth in a hospital in Anchorage Alaska was witnessed by my parents, the doctors, nurses, and a bull mouse that was chewing on some bushes in the parking lot. I lived my first 6 years in a small village in south-west Alaska called Aniak. Here I experienced fishing and gutting salmon, blueberry picking, early schooling, and the frigid low temperature of -54 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. I also have a very special memory from this time when I watched a bull moose run through our yard. It stopped to glance at me on the porch of our house and just continued on its way. Ever since I have been fascinated with animals and the natural world. It also helps that both of my parents were science teachers at all levels, from preschool to university. In the summer of 2005, we moved down to Brevard, North Carolina. Finding COA was a purely random event. I found COA through CollegeBoard by search results and, by pure decision to just meet with my counselor, I set off on a journey to Islands Through Time. That program changed me for the better. One name stuck with me and dragged me back years later. John Anderson opened my eyes to the deeper meaning of reality in science and solidified my path. When I returned to COA, I felt as though I had completed my Odyssey. I finally felt at home. Now at COA, I plan to delve into evolutionary biology, ecology, natural history, and anything that captivates my curiosity.

Ekaterina (Katya) Khadonova. 
katya-imageI grew up in Saint Petersburg, a large city on the west side of Russia, where encounters with nature would pretty much be limited to seeing pigeons everywhere. Despite this, my interest in the outdoors and wildlife has always been with me, and so I sought ways to get out as much as I could. I started seriously immersing myself into ecological and biological field studies when I was 9 years old, and have been doing it ever since. When I was 17, I moved to Hong Kong for two years, where I gained even more appreciation for both tropical and marine ecology while doing coral monitoring with WWF Hong Kong and studying biology, chemistry, and environmental sciences. I definitely knew I was going to pursue this path, and that is pretty much how I ended up applying early to COA. Here I indeed have a lot of opportunities to focus and deepen my interests in wildlife ecology, physiology, and conservation, as well as take the full advantage of the amazing outdoors traveling opportunities here in Maine. My current plans include leading an OOPs trip in August-September 2018, and then a while after spending my winter term in Costa Rica for a monster course in Neotropical Ecology & Conservation Biology. I’m hoping to make this journey as challenging, meaningful, and rich as possible, and I’m already sure it will happen.

aliza-leitAliza Leit. I am a first-year student at College of the Atlantic. Raised in Rochester New York, I grew up sailing on Lake Ontario and enjoying Rochester’s eclectic art scene. Every summer my family and I would make our way up to a working lobster village, Friendship, Maine, to sail on the bay and swim in frigid waters with my great grandmother. Exploration of the environment around me was a large part of my life whether playing on Maine’s rocky intertidal coast, tending to organic vegetables at The Harley School, or hiking in Alaska on a National Outdoor Leadership Course.  Everywhere that I travel I seek out the waterfront snorkeling in the Red Sea or the Pacific Ocean. After studying marine biology this fall, I am interested in learning more about sustainable aquaculture and sustainable harvesting practices of marine species.

Truth for webTruth Muller.  My interests are ocean life, birds, bats, conservation of all three, collecting a myriad of things both commonplace and bizarre, and reading when and wherever possible. I run an environmental organization, Buddies for Bats, founded in 2011, and I have a lot of experience as both a public speaker and environmental writer. I love to learn! I was born in Kansas, but grew up and identify as a New Yorker, and my roots are in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, the land of Washington Irving and John Burroughs. I was homeschooled from 4th grade through high school, and actively competed in state, national, and international science competitions. I’m a strong believer in community service, logging over one thousand hours throughout high school and receiving the presidential community service award. I was drawn to College of the Atlantic by its ocean setting and unique philosophical take on science and humanities, making it the perfect place to begin my studies of marine science and environmental advocacy. It’s my dream to emulate my idol, Jacques Cousteau, as a prominent marine scientist, naturalist, inventor and communicator. I am not an environmental activist, but an environmental advocate, and I want to devote my life advocating for love and protection for the world’s oceans and the life within their deep blue green folds.

maya-rockweed-low-resMaya Roe. I grew up in a small town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in California and spent my childhood summers backpacking in the High Sierras and playing on the beach at Point Reyes. The questions about the natural world that this upbringing sparked inspired me to study environmental science and marine biology. In high school, I spent a semester at Conserve School in northern Wisconsin, where I learned about outdoor leadership, community building, phrenology, limnology, and winter survival. For my last year of high school and my gap year, I moved to British Columbia pursue my International Baccalaureate diploma at Pearson United World College. At Pearson, I learned to SCUBA dive and achieved my rescue diver certification in the cold waters of the Salish Sea in March. I moved from the Pacific Northwest to New England to attend COA and study human ecology with a focus in marine ecology and writing. Last summer I spent two months working with Chris, Katie Clark, and Hannah Webber from the Schoodic Institute on a survey of rockweed, Ascophyllum nodosum, in Frenchman Bay.

Class of 2022.

Natasha Diamondstone-Kohout. natassha-skiing2As a young girl, my summers were spent running barefoot through the grass, swimming with my father in the river below our home, and painting pictures of the magical realm where my mind dwelt. I haven’t changed all that much, except I now have an unyielding desire to heal the world around me, to make some difference for the better. The question that faces me is: how do I do this?
I have been teaching wilderness skills and mindful living to children for the last five years through Oyase Wilderness School, Otter Day Camp, Kroka Expeditions and Wolf Tree. The winter, spring, summer, and fall find me in the woods showing children how to create a coal with a bow drill, how to track turkeys or how to close your eyes and listen to the woodland creatures move about you. I believe this union with the earth is essential to creating a healthier world. My own wilderness education “peeked” as I climbed a 19,000ft Andian glacier after a four-month expedition through Ecuador in my gap year.
Art of all kinds continues to captivate and nourish me. I was commissioned to illustrate Pathways-The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education, have had multiple art exhibitions, and sell prints and originals independently (along with designing logo’s for local businesses, and tattoos).  I hope to combine, Anthropology, Art, Spirituality, and Environmental Education, we shall see where that leads me…

Camden Hunt.camden-hunt  I am from Newport News, Virginia, a shipbuilding city on the Chesapeake Bay. At a very young age, I found myself entrenched in passion for both art and biology, intersecting at marine creatures. Their fantastic colors and shapes held my young heart, and my interests expanded to include theatre and writing. I spent high school exploring my love for theatre through many productions and membership in a show choir, as well as volunteering for the Virginia Living Museum and taking part in various research projects. I hope to further my knowledge of marine biology, theatre, and writing through my time and COA, and eventually spend my life doing some conglomerate of the three.