Sea Turtle Camp Team

The Sea Turtle Camp team is comprised of expert marine science educators and an administrative staff who bring with them professional experience, in-depth knowledge and a broad range of skill sets. Sea Turtle Camp counselors are passionate about marine biology and the study of coastal ecosystems, and they are excited to share this passion with curious campers who have also discovered the importance and wonder of this field.

Employment at Sea Turtle Camp is extremely competitive. We examine hundreds of applications before selecting members of our elite team. All applicants must go through our intense three-part interview process and comprehensive background check. We take only the top candidates and are extremely proud to provide one of the greatest employment opportunities available among summer camps. Upon hiring, all counselors must attend our mandatory staff orientation prior to the start of each season. Required qualifications include American Red Cross certification in Lifeguarding, CPR and First Aid.

Our founder, Jen Civelli, plays a fundamental role in the hiring and training of each team member. Jen has worked as a chemistry instructor at Cape Fear Community College and UNC-Wilmington and has spent many years working with Jean Beasley at the Sea Turtle Hospital. She and her family continue to play a huge role in raising awareness and funds for this amazing organization.

Our mission statement of empowering youth to become independent, proactive stewards of the environment is deeply shared by our team. We are conscious of the fact that without the ocean there is no life on earth. We have dedicated our lives to educating campers about environmental conservation, living a lifestyle that is harmonious with this purpose, and exploring new ways of sharing our mission.

Deaton Wright, Vice President of Operations

Born and raised in North Carolina, Deaton spent most of his childhood on the beach or in the mountains. He attended his freshman year of college at Lenoir-Rhyne University where he was an NCAA Academic and Athletic All-American swimmer. He then transferred to UNCW in 2012 where he began his career with WB Surf Camp. While attending college he worked in many different roles within the company to include teen overnight camps, day camps and international surf coaching. He has a passion to teach, travel and positively influence the lives of others.

Upon graduating from college, Deaton found himself fully immersed in a winter wonderland while working on the mountain in Breckenridge, Colorado. He was thankful for the experience but his love for the ocean led him back to the east coast where he moved to the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina. It is here that he honed in on his skills in staff management, operations, international travel programming and of course the heavy barreling surf that the area has to offer. While living in the OBX he maintained his relationship with Surf Camp and spent time coaching in Tortola and Costa Rica.

After years of experience in the water sports industry, Deaton’s aptitude for logistics, operations, concern for conservation and search for more meaning in his career led him back to Surf Camp, where he is the Vice President of Operations. In his free time, you can find him fishing the inland and offshore waters of NC, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, searching for barrels and researching his next surf trip.

Kasey Schollenberger, Program Director

Trip Counselor Hawaii

Kasey was born and raised in Toms River, New Jersey. Growing up on the Jersey Shore, she was able to visit the beach year round and develop a true connection to the ocean and all of the related wildlife and ecosystems. At a very young age, she knew that she wanted to spend her life developing her passion for the ocean and marine life.

In 2008, Kasey moved to North Carolina to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). While completing her degree, she volunteered and interned at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Soon after graduating, Kasey interned at the University of Georgia’s Marine Extension Service and Aquarium as an environmental educator. This is where her passion for environmental education flourished. Following that internship, Kasey decided to further her education and returned to UNCW to pursue a Master’s of Science degree in Environmental Science and Coastal Management. Kasey has a wide variety of education experience in the fields of marine and environmental science, which have all deepened her love for public outreach and all things related to the marine environment.

When Kasey isn’t teaching about the ocean, she can be found at the beach reading a book, hiking, kayaking, or doing just about anything outdoors! She is very excited to have found her way back to Wilmington and loves that she gets to spend winters in North Carolina instead of freezing in New Jersey!

Bailey Kaufman, Program Coordinator

Trip Counselor Hawaii

Bailey grew up year-round on Fire Island, New York. She spent her entire childhood on the sands of the tiny barrier island, always doing her part educating visitors, local communities, and other parties about her hometowns’ wildlife, history, and environmental issues. She has deep love and respect for the ocean and all it offers. Her goal is to help others feel the same by educating them about the importance of marine and coastal ecosystems.

In 2016, Bailey ventured to St. Augustine, Florida, to receive her bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management and a minor in Spanish at Flagler College. She was an active member of the college’s sustainability club and always volunteered within the community. During her final semester, Bailey interned at Anastasia State Park and gained abundant experience working with Florida’s wildlife, especially with sea turtles! After graduating in 2020, she completed a 50-week AmeriCorps service term through Conservation Legacy, serving as the Community Volunteer Ambassador for Fire Island National Seashore. During this time, her interest in conservation, community outreach, and environmental education grew stronger. She is currently enhancing her outdoor teaching skills and science/nature content knowledge through the North Carolina Environmental Education Certificate program.

Bailey spends her free time surfing, painting, hiking, cooking, practicing yoga, and exploring nature. She loves to travel and encourages individuals to travel sustainably and support local communities!


Mead Krówka, Program Coordinator

Trip Counselor Hawaii

Born outside Chicago, Illinois, Mead has always been drawn to the water. In 2008, Mead moved with his family to Asheville, NC, where he volunteered at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, sparking his interest in the natural world. This led to Mead becoming PADI Open Water Dive certified in 2014, PADI Rescue Diver certified in 2017, and maintaining continuous American Red Cross Lifeguard certification since 2015.

In 2017, Mead moved to Wilmington to begin his career at UNCW. It was at this time he learned to surf and has been in the water with every given opportunity since. Since then, he has been experimenting with different board shapes and styles, his favorite board being a 6’1 Single Fin Bonzer. During his time at UNCW, Mead was a member of the UNCW SCUBA Club and an intern for the Alliance for Cape Fear Trees. He also completed a directive individual study in 2020, studying the diet of the Greater Northern Galago primates, publishing his research in the American Journal of Biological Anthropology.

Mead graduated magna cum laude in 2021 with a B.S. in Environmental Science, a B.A. in Anthropology, and a Chemistry minor. Immediately following, he became the Sea Turtle Camp SCUBA Marine Educator, before transitioning to his current position as the WB Surf Camp Program Coordinator. In his free time, Mead is most likely surfing on Wrightsville Beach. He also enjoys shaping surfboard fins, exploring shipwrecks, and enjoying all the natural beauty coastal NC has to offer!

Michaela LeMay, Program Coordinator

Michaela was born and raised in Massachusetts and moved to South Carolina in 2014. She decided to trade in the cold, snowy winters for warmer weather and the coast and has since fallen for the beauty of the Carolinas. She completed her undergrad at Coastal Carolina University in Marine Science with a Biology minor.

After graduating, she started her career as a park ranger with SC State Parks. While working for the organization she was able to rediscover a passion of educating youth about the natural resources of the coast. Inspired by her work, Michaela decided to return to school and is almost finished with her master’s in Youth Development and Leadership at Clemson University.

While working for SC State Parks, she volunteered with SCDNR’s Sea Turtle stranding and nesting programs. She spent four summers responding to sea turtle strands, working on sea turtle nests, and educating the public in Myrtle Beach, SC. Due to her work with sea turtles, Michaela is a very early riser and with her free time can be found reading, somewhere outside, or searching for something new to learn.


Liz Smith - On-Site Camp Director (NC Residential)

Liz grew up going to summer camp and enjoyed it so much she decided to make a career of it! Combining her love of camp with a passion for coastal science led her to get a master’s degree in Environmental Education from UNCW. Liz has also worked at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island as an educator, UNCW as an adjunct professor, and many, many camps as a naturalist. This is her second year with Surf Camp, but her 28th year at a summer camp. From CIT, to counselor, all the way to director, Liz has worked nearly every position at camp but most enjoys now being able to teach young adults about working with kids, teaching about the environment, and becoming professionals themselves.

Liz originally hails from Illinois and first fell in love with the ocean at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Moving to the ocean was her first priority after high school, and she’s lived within 10 miles of the beach ever since. Her favorite coastal activity is kayaking in the Intracoastal Waterway and marshes. When not at camp, Liz spends time fostering retired racing greyhounds, making crafts and sewing, and reading science fiction.

Steve Allison - Assistant On-Site Camp Director (NC Residential)

Steve loves to longboard on the beach and point breaks of New England. This summer he is looking forward to being in the Atlantic without his usual neoprene shell. When he isn’t surfing, you will find Steve paddling his solo whitewater canoe or mountain/gravel biking up and down the east coast.

Steve discovered his love of the outdoors fishing with his dad on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River. After high school he pursued his artistic passions at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. This somehow led to an early career as a custom furniture maker. After a two year stint ski-bumming in Telluride Colorado, he migrated back east to Massachusetts where he and his ex-wife raised their three children. Since graduating from Greenfield Community College’s Outdoor Leadership Program in 2000; Steve has been teaching, coaching and living with adolescents from all over the world at Northfield Mount Hermon, a private boarding high school in Western Mass. Steve is stoked for his first summer at WB Surf Camp and Sea Turtle Camp!

Jessica Wolfe - Support Staff (NC Residential)

Jessica is from a rural town in Ohio called Richwood and started going to summer camp as a child. She has been a camper and counselor at numerous camps and loves camp life. Last summer she was in the Big Apple working a corporate job and missed camp as well as the outdoors tremendously, so she decided to come back! Camp has undoubtedly had a positive impact on her, and she is excited to help campers create life-long memories that they can look back on and smile about.

Apart from camp Jessica is a student at Ohio University pursuing degrees in economics, management, and psychology. On campus she helps conduct research concerning leadership, has worked with housing and residence life as a Resident Assistant, and helps develop other students’ leadership abilities. She recently returned from studying abroad in Spain where she learned to wind surf and is excited to be living near the ocean again. She also enjoys hiking, reading, skiing, cooking, boating, playing the piano, and traveling. Jessica is grateful and excited to be spending the summer with Sea Turtle Camp & WB Surf Camp!

Shad Blaise - Head Chef/Kitchen Manager (NC Residential)

As the oldest of three sons, both of Chef Blaise’s parents worked a lot and one of the ways to spend time with them was to cook. Sometime after high school, he decided to take cooking seriously and went to Culinary School. He then began to work and travel shortly after. He’s been to Alaska, Washington, California, and Hawaii, just to name a few. After doing this for 16 years, he’s picked up quite a bit from all of the people he has cooked alongside and he is happy to share it with camp this summer!

Amina Butler - Assistant Kitchen Manager (NC Residential)

 Amina is 24 years old from Columbus, Ohio she is Haitian and absolutely loves to cook! She is very outgoing but also kind of quiet at the same time and loves to have a great laugh. Outside of cooking she loves to express herself through fashion and also her hair styles! She is looking forward to meeting and making everyone laugh and is excited to have a blast this summer and serve up some delicious food!!

Kaiya Steele - Kitchen Staff (NC Residential)

Kaiya grew up in Montana and is finishing up her first year of culinary school in Bozeman, Montana. She loves spending time outside in the mountains either hiking, backpacking, skiing, or riding her horse. When she’s not outside she can be found baking for friends, writing fan fiction, or performing stand-up comedy! And she loves her dog, Grizzy, more than just about anything!

Olivia Derrek - Kitchen Staff (NC Residential)

Olivia Derrek grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota. She has spent plenty of time outside. Camping, fishing, and exercise are a few of her favorite things. She loves to Adventure and try new things. Olivia has a degree in General Studies and has taken a lot of Tourism and Hospitality Management courses. Paddle boarding is her new hobby and she enjoys to be out on the water while doing SUP yoga on her paddle board. Her favorite adventures have included a trip to Japan, a trip to France, and a trip across Europe. Olivia loves to cook and to eat as well. A few of her favorite foods include fresh fruit and vegetables, queso, and steak!

Melanie Walsh - Kitchen Staff (NC Residential)

Melanie grew up on the other side of the US in California. In fact, this season will be her first time in North Carolina and is excited to be right next to the beach every day. Normally drawn to the mountains, being on the coast will be an interesting change of pace. After high school, she went to college for two years and earned an elementary education associate degree. Once she graduated she took a job in Yellowstone that set her out on the road. For the last two years, she has beep bopped around the country taking various seasonal jobs. This has brought her all the way to the North Carolina coast and a long way from home. In her free time, you will often find her reading or hiking in the summer and snowboarding in the winter.

Vee Pizzati - Kitchen Staff (NC Residential)

Vanessa a.k.a. Vee is a wandering soul who finds happiness by discovering new places, eating good food, and meeting fellow travelers like herself. She has loved to cook since she was a child and finally pursued her dream of becoming one in 2012 when she attended Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, OR. Working as a seasonal employee for the last several years she has lived in over 30 places. The Postal Service can’t keep track! Her biggest passions are traveling, cooking, volunteering, and finding new adventures. She loves the beach and the ocean and everything that involves water. Enjoys SUP and snorkeling and one day hopes to move to Puerto Rico and call it home. Vee also likes to meditate and do yoga in her spare time, enjoys learning new things, and loves a good challenge.

Gabby Fox - Unit Leader (NC Marine Biology)

Gabby’s passion for environmental science and conservation largely comes from growing up close to Shenandoah National Park. She is an enthusiast for all outdoor activities and some of her favorites include hiking, kayaking, swimming, and biking. Her love for the ocean came from spending time in the summers at Kure Beach. She is currently pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies at Roanoke College in Virginia.

Spending the past three summers as a camp counselor, she has developed a love for working with young people. She has also spent time as an outdoor adventure fellow at her college, guiding trips and working on outdoor education and outreach. She played softball all the way up through college and loves working as part of a team. Gabby is so excited to meet all the campers and have a great summer.


Emily Waxter - Unit Leader (NC Marine Biology)

Emily was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. She received her Bachelors in Conservation Biology, along with two minors in Wildlife Biology and Food & Agricultural Biology from Thiel College in 2019. In December 2022, she obtained her Master’s in Marine Science with a concentration in Conservation of Marine Predators from Unity College.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, Emily spent a lot of time going to the National Aviary and the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium where her love for animals and marine life started to flourish. She has been lucky enough to intern with the Aquarium for the past year. Her favorite part of her internship with the Aquarium was being able to be part of the Sea Turtle Second Chance program. She prepared food and helped care for seven Green Sea Turtles.

The Carolinas have always held a special place in Emily’s heart, having grown up vacationing around the area. This is Emily’s first year working for the sea turtle camp, and she is so excited to spend the summer sharing her passion with the next generation.


Lyndsey Butler - Marine Educator (NC Marine Biology)

Born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, Lyndsey found her passion for marine science while spending time on the beach with family in Cape Cod and Florida at a young age. Through her time volunteering under the Student Conservation Association and the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium as a teenager, she learned the fundamentals of sustainable conservation and solidified her resolve to pursue a career in environmental education.

After spending two years at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina studying Marine Science, she decided to expand her knowledge of marine ecosystems worldwide and transfer abroad. She is now currently working towards a degree in Marine Biology at the University of Stirling in Scotland, UK. With a special interest in salt marsh ecology and sustainable aquaculture, she aspires to use her knowledge to protect marine ecosystems from present and future challenges.

As an experienced camp counselor and conservationist, Lyndsey is committed to providing campers at Sea Turtle Camp with a fun, engaging, and educational experience. She is excited to share her knowledge and love of marine biology, and looks forward to inspiring campers to develop a deeper understanding for the ocean and its inhabitants.


Kalyn Markuns - Marine Educator (NC Marine Biology)

Kalyn Markuns graduated this past spring (2023) from the University of Rhode Island with a major in marine biology and a minor in wildlife conservation biology. Her passion for marine biology began when she was in fourth grade and read a series of books written by Eugene Clark. She was known in the science community as ‘the shark lady’, and she sparked her interest in marine life.
She was born and raised in a small town in Massachusetts. Being so close to the ocean growing up she became fond of surfing, and later on, gained her scuba certification. In addition, she enjoys spending her free time playing indoor and beach volleyball, playing with her four cats, and going out to eat with friends!


Lena Kury - Marine Educator (NC Marine Biology)

Lena Kury graduated in May 2023 from Florida State University (FSU) with a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology and minors in Chemistry and Environmental Science. She became interested in marine biology during her sophomore year of high school and decided to pursue it during college.

She earned her SCUBA certification after her first semester of college, in December 2019, and earned her AAUS Scientific Diver certification in May 2021. In the summer of 2021, she traveled to Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands to assist in research relating to parrotfish behavior. During the summer of 2022, she traveled to Walpole, Maine for an internship at the Darling Marine Center to assist with maintenance and deployment of oceanographic equipment.

She was involved in research throughout her time at FSU, including work with cyanobacterial mats, Caribbean parrotfish behavior and grazing patterns, four-eye butterflyfish behavior, and Pacific parrotfish and surgeonfish video analysis. She is excited to bring the skills she has developed to Sea Turtle Camp, and to learn more this summer!


Jacob Champagne - Camp Counselor (NC Marine Biology)

Jacob is a theatrical, 24-year-old goofball from the breezy shores of The Ocean State. Rhode Island brings cities, beaches, and snow days, yet Jacob is focused on expanding his horizons as a world traveler. His appreciation for the natural world sparked during his time studying film and biology at Fitchburg State University, and his motivation to learn continues to grow with new adventures. He’s an enthusiastic, artistic thinker aspiring to be an environmental documentarian.

Currently, Jacob is redirecting his career toward his interests in earth and animal science as an outdoor education instructor at Camp Bob Cooper in South Carolina. With this being his first time down South, he’s super excited to grow his appreciation for the marine world with campers this summer. His goal in working with Sea Turtle Camp is to continue his journey as a lifelong learner, and encourage students to embrace learning as an opportunity to better ourselves and the world around us.

Susannah Cogburn - Unit Leader (NC SCUBA)

Susannah grew up in Orlando, Florida, and fell in love with the ocean and conservation from attending SeaWorld and Disney’s Animal Kingdom summer camps. As a December 2022 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science with a double minor in geology and climate change studies, she has had various experiences researching the Southwest Florida coast. At the university,  she has conducted research on harmful algal blooms, ocean acidification, and with elasmobranchs among other things. She also acted as a Research Diver through FGCU’s Scientific Diving program. Throughout this program, she dove all across the state of Florida from the North Florida Caverns to the Florida Keys. Susannah has been diving for the past five years and is currently a NAUI CPR/AED/First Aid and SCUBA Instructor.She is continuing her education at Florida Gulf Coast University this coming fall, obtaining a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science with a focus on marine ecotoxicology. This is her first year working for Sea Turtle Camp and she is so excited to meet everyone and dive off the NC coast!

Martin Stenske - Marine Educator (NC SCUBA)

Martin grew up in New Richmond, Wisconsin, and is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota. Pursuing a degree in Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology with a minor in Marine Biology, Martin has always been fascinated by marine science, although he initially started as a pre-medicine student. He participated in shark and ray research with the Coastal Marine Education and Research Academy in 2021 and developed a love for bonnethead sharks! In Minnesota, he has worked with freshwater fish and mussels and enjoys exploring the variety of ecosystems that Minnesota and Wisconsin have to offer.

During his free time, Martin enjoys a variety of outdoor activities like playing soccer, fishing, and hiking. He also stays active and spent the summer of 2022 training for a marathon. In addition to his love for the outdoors, he is an avid reader and enjoys diving into new books whenever he has the chance. Martin is always looking to expand his fossil collection and has a particular interest in studying ancient marine life. He started diving in 2022 and has been hooked ever since. Martin hopes every camper leaves feeling as passionate about marine biology as he does!

Brielle Parse - Marine Educator (NC SCUBA)

Brie grew up in central Massachusetts, but fell in love with the ocean at a young age with frequent trips to the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) and beaches on Cape Cod. She learned how to scuba dive at age 12 on a trip to the Caribbean with her family. The second she descended below the surface on her first open-water dive, there was no going back. She remembers being uncharacteristically relaxed, and that feeling was something she knew she wanted to chase for the rest of her life. Her experience as an outreach education intern at NEAQ in the community programs department developed her passion for conservation and science education. She is graduating in May with a B.A. in Marine Science and a minor in Hospitality Administration from Boston University, where she was also an active member of her community service sorority Omega Phi Alpha (most recently serving as President of the chapter). In the summer of 2022, she interned for Sea Turtle Patrol on Hilton Head Island, participating in 3 to 4 beach patrols each week dealing directly with nesting sea turtles and hatchlings. She also assisted with the educational portion of the program, “Turtle Talks,” to spread awareness of beach etiquette and turtle conservation. She plans to eventually go back to school for her Master’s degree but is currently looking forward to getting some real-world work experience and solidifying her interests and passions. This is Brie’s first summer at Sea Turtle Camp and she can’t wait to live and work with everyone in NC! 

Ashley Hadley- Marine Educator (NC SCUBA)

Ashley grew up in Columbia, Kentucky, and graduated from the University of Kentucky in May 2023, where she pursued a degree in Agricultural & Medical Biotechnology, minoring in Biology. Although Ashley began her academic journey as a pre-medicine student, she has always had a fascination with the ocean and marine science. As a freshman, she seized the opportunity to obtain her PADI Open Water scuba certification through a specialized college course offered at the university.

Continuing her pursuit of marine knowledge, Ashley participated in an Advanced Scuba & Coral Reef Ecology education abroad trip to Cozumel, Mexico. There, she was introduced to ecological concepts and important natural resource issues in coral reef environments while earning several scuba diving certifications. What made this trip truly remarkable was their collaboration with a coral biologist from Wave of Change, an organization dedicated to preserving coral reefs. Together, they traveled to their coral nursery dive site, where they prepared and planted coral, playing an active role in conservation efforts.

During her free time, Ashley enjoys spending her time in outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, kayaking, and fishing. She also cherishes moments spent with her dogs, friends, and supportive family. In the future, Ashley plans to go back to school for a Master’s degree pursuing marine science but is currently gaining work experience and seeking opportunities to expand her scuba diving proficiency. This is Ashley’s first summer at Sea Turtle Camp and she can’t wait to share her passion for the ocean!

Anthony Franks - Unit Leader (NC Carolina Ocean Odyssey)

Anthony graduated from the University of Alabama, Birmingham in 2021 with a master’s degree in science education. In the summer of 2019, he spent a semester at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab off the coast of Alabama where he was able to study in a hands-on learning environment. During this time he took a variety of marine science courses. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama where he was a member of the Honors College. He currently teaches 6th-grade Earth and Space Science in Birmingham, Alabama. He previously served as the school’s Math and Reading Interventionist. As an educator, he strives to provide engaging, hands-on experiences for his students. He is also currently working on his national STEM educator certification. Anthony loves working with kids, being outdoors, playing sports, and hanging out with his friends. This is his first year teaching at Sea Turtle Camp and he is excited to share his love for marine science with his campers!

Alyssa Schreiber - Unit Leader (NC Carolina Ocean Odyssey)

Alyssa has recently finished her marine biology degree at Colorado State University, and is ready to be on the ocean! She loves hanging with loved ones, reading, cooking, and most of all spending time in the sun. Some fun facts about her are that her favorite animal is the giant manta ray, her favorite color is yellow, and she has a terrible sweet tooth! She has always felt at home at the beach and is stoked to spend the summer teaching others to love it as much as she does.

Natalie Lewis - Marine Educator (NC Carolina Ocean Odyssey)

Natalie Lewis is a Sophomore at the Univeristy of Miami studying Marine Affairs and Ecosystem Science and Policy. Having grown up in the Chesapeake, Natalie has always had a keen interest in coastal habitats and their conservation. Natalie is a seasoned lifeguard, and in addition to taking a full courseload of classes, currently works with high school students interested in Marine Mammal Biology at the University of Miami! Whether it’s tagging reef sharks in the Florida Keys or competing in Univerity club swimming, Natalie is no stranger to the water. Through all her experiences so far, Natalie is excited to teach marine science and coastal conservation to eager campers this summer!

Nicole Kirsten - Camp Counselor/ Surf Instructor (NC Carolina Ocean Odyssey)

Marine Educator - SCUBA

Meet Nicole, often known as Nicki or Nics. She is 24 years old, born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. She studied Sport Science and Biokinetics at the University of Pretoria and graduated in 2020. After college, she then returned to Johannesburg to do an internship in 2021. After studying and completing the internship, she became fully qualified for work, but first wanted to take the time to travel, adventure and see a bit of the world this year.

Growing up Nicki’s favorite holiday trips were always (and still are) at the beach or at a local reservoir. She adores the beach, being outdoors and in the sunshine; she is happiest on a boat or swimming in the sea. She is always keen to try new things and see new places, no matter how extravagant or simple, just as long as you refer to it as being an “adventure”. Nicki loves music and dancing and more often than not is the first on and last one off the dance floor.

Some fun facts about Nicki: she can play the drums, has her skippers license, considers “Footloose” to be the best movie ever made, and her three favorite things are strawberry ice cream, classic VW beetles and country music.

Cabell Haneberg - Camp Counselor/ Surf Instructor (NC Carolina Ocean Odyssey)

Cabell is 20 years old and from Richmond, VA. She has spent the past couple years traveling and volunteering around the world, with her favorite locations being Thailand, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Portugal. She is passionate about reducing her carbon footprint and supporting animal rights and inclusion. Some of her favorite hobbies include cooking/baking, reading, journaling, and painting. Cabell is also yoga and meditation teacher, so she brings a zen mindset into her everyday life!

Ryan Tucker - Trip Leader (Spring Break & Hawaii)

Marine Educator - SCUBA

Ryan’s passion for the ocean and conservation began at an early age. His family enjoyed traveling to many of the country’s national parks and protected lands. Growing up in California, Ryan was never too far from the outdoors. With the Sierra Nevadas to the East and the Pacific Ocean to his West, he was always surrounded by nature. While studying Marine Biology and Kinesiology at Humboldt State University, Ryan found a new passion, swimming with the local flora and fauna of the cool, nutrient-rich waters of the Pacific. When he isn’t swimming with fish or stepping from rock to rock in the intertidal, Ryan enjoys hiking, biking, and adventuring in the great outdoors. This is Ryan’s SIXTH summer at STC and he can’t wait to get back into the swing of things. There is so much to see and experience when it comes to the ocean, it is so vast and unexplored… what wonders lie beneath those crashing waves? He hopes you will come join him and find out. Let’s blow some bubbles!

Madeline Hallahan - Trip Leader (Hawaii)

Madeline grew up just outside of Chicago and spent her summers on Lake Michigan and at the Shedd Aquarium with her mom. She always dreamt of becoming a marine biologist and working with the divers at the Shedd. The first step in her dream coming true was attending Sea Turtle Camp in 2011! Experiencing the ocean for the first time and learning about conservation made a lifelong impression.

Madeline got her degree in Secondary Biology Education at Illinois State University. Soon after, she led youth bike camping trips and backcountry canoeing expeditions in Michigan. Madeline then spent a month rafting the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon! She developed the environmental education curriculum for Science Adventure School in West Virginia, and worked at Sea Turtle Camp in North Carolina as well as co-led the 2022 Florida Keys trip with Molly Ripka. Madeline can be found daydreaming about snorkeling, fixing (sometimes riding) bikes, identifying neat plants and animals, and going for nature walks!

She loves white water rafting, learning about critters (especially crabs and parrotfish) with her pal Molly, running, and adventuring with her fiancé. Madeline currently works as a bike mechanic in the suburbs of Chicago, and cannot wait for another spectacular camp season packed full of adventure and new experiences.

This will be Madeline’s third season with Sea Turtle Camp!!!

Sidney Edmondson - Camp Counselor/ Surf Instructor (NC Carolina Ocean Odyssey)

Sidney is a recent graduate of the College of Charleston where she majored in integrated studies with concentrations in environmental and sustainability studies and studio art. When she’s not surfing, Sidney has a passion for experiential hands-on education, and looks to develop her skills this summer with our campers! Her favorite pastimes are looking for shark teeth on Folly Beach and hosting a book club with her friends. Sidney is stoked to join us this summer!  

Molly Ripka - Trip Leader (Hawaii)

Without a doubt, Molly is one of the most invertebrate-obsessed people she knows. Her love of weird crabs and cephalopods may seem strange after growing up in a small Michigan town, but after dissecting a squid in a high school oceanography class, she knew she was hooked (no pun intended) on marine biology and ecology.
Since then, Molly has graduated with a bachelors degree in marine biology and a minor in zoology from Eastern Michigan University, worked at a retail fish store caring for a variety of aquatic organisms (including cool crabs!), and has taught streamside biology programs, nature programs, marine ecology, and aquarium biology in various settings, including at Sea Turtle Camp in North Carolina. She has also had a variety of marine research and dive experience in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and multiple areas in Mexico working with animals such as cuttlefish, corals, fish larvae, and apple snails.
Most recently, Molly could be found doing the crab walk with purple land crabs in the Florida Keys while teaching hands-on marine ecology to school groups. Through snorkeling, scuba diving, and tide pooling, Molly loves to spend time with sea critters and continue sharing her love for the ocean. She is sometimes in a crabby mood when people don’t laugh at her crab jokes, but she understands; not everyone is as crab-ulous as she is!
This will be her THIRD season with Sea Turtle Camp!
Carson Torres - Trip Leader (Costa Rica)

Carson is from Burien, Washington, a town just south of Seattle, and enjoyed growing up on the rocky coastlines of the Pacific Northwest. Her favorite things to do growing up were tide pooling and exploring parks with family and friends. Carson has always been passionate about education, conservation, and the outdoors. She also has a love for traveling and learning new things.

In 2021 she graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and a focus in Biology. Since graduating she has gained experience in the forestry industry, environmental education, diversity training, and coaching wrestling to high school students. Carson is now living and working in Tybee Island, Georgia where she is teaching hands-on science classes to primary and secondary aged students. She loves having the outdoors as her classroom and hopes to keep contributing to the education of those around her.

Julie Barrios - Trip Leader (Costa Rica)

Julie Barrios is a field biologist with a passion for the outdoors, wildlife, and travel. She is a marine biologist and outdoor educator, with a specialty in sea turtle conservation. She has diverse work experiences where she has traveled and worked in the Americas, focusing on environmental and humanitarian projects. Her work with sea turtles has been on remote beaches in Costa Rica and South Carolina. In Costa Rica, She patrolled a beach every night in search of sea turtle nests to prevent poaching. In South Carolina Julie managed two sea turtle nesting beaches for 6 months, where she trained others, tagged and collected genetic samples on sea turtles, and responded to strandings. Julie has worked in classrooms and the outdoors where she’s taught science and environmental classes to students of a wide range of ages and English levels for more than 5 years. Most recently she has participated at an all-girls and gender minorities in science summer camp on a remote island off Cape Cod, Massachusetts and is currently Assistant Program Coordinator at Nature’s Classroom in New England. She is passionate about her work and believe education is critical for the future of our society and natural habitats, especially in the education and empowerment of historically discriminated genders.
Fatima Gianella - Trip Leader (Costa Rica)
Fatima Gianella is a marine researcher passionate about the marine environment, seafood and outdoor sports. Her passion for the ocean started by living nearby the coastline in her hometown Lima (Peru). This interest grew during her sailing competitions and allowed her to represent her country internationally. She has been awarded a doctorate degree on marine science; in this project she investigated ecological dynamics of algal blooms, explored drivers related to their development and assessed socio-economic risks. Previously, she obtained a master’s degree on aquaculture, focusing on seaweed culturing and society implications. Her marine biology background includes theoretical and lab expertise in diverse ecosystems and a wide range of aquatic organisms.

During her PhD project she has published two peer-reviewed papers and two white papers, which has allowed her to communicate her research findings and contribute information to the scientific community. She is highly interested in promoting conservation of the environment by actively participating and sharing this passion with younger generations.

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