Current Volunteers

Sarah Francis

Sarah Francis

Volunteer (August 2018 -April 2019)

From: Dallas, Texas

Education/background: I graduated with a BS in Ocean and Coastal Resources with minors in Geology and Oceanography.

Reasons for coming: I have been interested in sharks since high school, especially the Great Hammerhead, and a passion for all things marine was nourished throughout my studies at university. I wanted to come to the shark lab to be a part of a community of like-minded individuals and to gain a better understanding of shark research through volunteering. I hope with this experience to be able to better educate others on such beautiful creatures.

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Laura Manning

Laura Manning

Volunteer (August-October 2018)

From: Los Angeles, California

Education/Background: I graduated in June from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Central California with a Bachelor's degree in biology, focusing on marine science. I plan to eventually pursue a Masters degree in marine biology.

Reasons for Coming: I learned about the BBFS from two friends (Jamie Halkyard and Emily Spurgeon) who were past volunteers. Their reviews as well as my prior experiences in working with marine animals, field/laboratory work, and travel all motivated me to apply. Sharks have always fascinated me, but up until this past year I did not know what I wanted to focus on. My internship with Oceans Research in South Africa last summer helped me figure that out by giving me the opportunity to interact with great white sharks, further sparking my interest in working with these amazing creatures. After that internship, I decided to apply to the BBFSF to gain even more experience working with a variety of new species of sharks. I hope to use what I learn in Bimini to help educate the public and further shark conservation efforts wherever I may go next.

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Elizabeth Haley

Elizabeth Haley

Volunteer (June - December 2018)

From: Chicago, IL

Education/ Background: BS in Marine Biology (University of North Carolina at Wilmington), BS in Forensic Science (Eastern Kentucky University)

Reasons for coming: Ever since I was a child I have loved the ocean and especially sharks. I got my degree in marine biology but felt lost after graduating. That lead to my detour into forensic science. I realized that I needed to go back to my passion and childhood dream of a job involving "sitting on a boat studying sharks". I've known about this place and the work being done here for many years and there is no where else in the world I would rather be. I'm looking forward to my experiences here giving me the focus and experience to guide me to a more fulfilling career path.

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Juliet Gressle

Juliet Gressle

Volunteer (August-October 2018)

From: Wilton, Connecticut

Education/ Background: BS in Marine Biology from Florida Institute of Technology

Reasons for Coming: I have always loved sharks and rays and I am very passionate about shark conservation/ education. Sharks are so misunderstood and I love educating the public on how important they are for the marine ecosystem. I love field work and living in the tropics, so this internship provided the best of both worlds. I’m so excited to spend the next couple of months working with elasmobranchs and I know the field skills I learn here will be essential for working with sharks in the future.

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Taylor Fluellen

Taylor Fluellen

Volunteer (August-October 2018)

From: Bellevue, Nebraska

My name is Taylor Fluellen. I am senior at Bellevue University, studying Biology. I grew up as a Navy brat traveling from place to place. My life was a menagerie of near constant change, and throughout all of this the ocean has always been my touch stone. The sea and its inhabitants have always been my passion. Sharks became an obsession later, and through great fascination and study they have not only become my career choice but my life's purpose as well.

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Emily Cormier

Emily Cormier

Volunteer (August-October 2018)

From: Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Education/Background: BSc Honours Environmental Science with a Concentration in Biology from Carleton University

Reasons for coming:
I completed a degree in Environmental Science because I knew that I loved nature, science, and working in the outdoors, but wasn't sure what I wanted to specialize in. While working on my degree I had the chance to work for a conservation authority completing freshwater fish population studies and loved the chance to be able to spend my entire day in the water. I also had the chance to volunteer for a short period of time in Costa Rica completing marine research. These experiences helped my realize that my true passion lies with marine biology. In recent years, sharks have been under increased pressure due to shark finning practices and by-catch, and may face even more stress due to climate change. Sharks are also often badly perceived in the media, making conservation efforts even more difficult. I am passionate about educating the public about the benefit of these charismatic species to ecosystems, in order to ensure their future protection. I hope that by volunteering at the Shark Lab I can play a part in current shark research, while also gaining the experience I need to pursue a career in marine biology.

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Paul Peden

Paul Peden

Volunteer (August-October 2018)

From: New Orleans, Louisiana.
Current: Seattle, Washington

Education/Background: Bachelor of Science from Louisiana State University's School of Coastal and Environmental Sciences, Concentration in applied Oceanography. Experience with the Red Snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.

Reasons for coming: Most of my life has been spent in a close relationship with nature, especially the marine environment. After studying at university, I came to realize the lack of information and negligence that threatened the lifestyle that I loved so much. At the same time, I have been developing a passion for traveling and international relations. So it was a natural conclusion for me to be drawn migratory species and management of trans-boundary populations. I am hoping to come from a more technical scientific background developed with organizations like the BBFS, and eventually move into a more policy based form of environmental diplomacy between nations.

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Molly Kressler

Molly Kressler

Volunteer (August-October 2018)

From: New Jersey

Education/Background: BSc. Marine Biology from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) (2018). At St. Andrews, I conducted my Honours Dissertation on the behavioral ecology of three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus); more specifically the personality-bias in trapability, and the plausible bias in sampling methodology for wild fish populations.

Reasons for Coming: In 2017, I left the SharkLab counting the days until I could come back. At university and from time in Bimini last summer, behavioural marine ecology has become my biggest interest, and for even longer I have loved and been fascinated by sharks. Bimini combines those interests and provides so many incredible opportunities to learn and contribute to research. Very happy to be back!

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Amanda Schadowsky

Amanda Schadowsky

Volunteer (August-October 2018)

From: Currently living in Phoenix, Arizona, but from Southern Illinois.

Education/Background: Received my BS in Biology from Saint Louis University. Since graduating I have volunteered for different Zoos and Aquariums and have participated in other wildlife conservation efforts with Arizona Game and Fish.

Reasons for coming: My interest and passion for coming is not unlike a lot of people here. There is an undeniable and somewhat unexplainable passion for sharks that resides in all of us at the Bimini Biological Field Station. In my experience that is not the case with everyone you meet. In the science community there is such a wide range of interests and research so, even when surrounded with classmates and/or colleagues there isn’t always the same scientific interests and curiosity. Being at BBFS it is clear that we all have a shared interest; sharks. It is something that I have been looking for and after arriving, the level of knowledge, passion, and interest is infectious. I wanted to actively partake in conversions about marine biology and conservation research; while, at the same time, acquiring a better understanding of how to think like a scientist, apply field techniques, and learn how to be a conservationist. I feel that by volunteering at BBFS it would give me the knowledge, experience, and platform to start my career in Marine Conservation and become an active member of the scientific community. I am thrilled to be in an environment that cultivates and justifies every unexplainable desire I’ve had to learn more about sharks.

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