Who I am
I was born and raised in a small town in Maine and my love for the ocean started at an early age. Living on a lake and having parents who loved the water provided lots of opportunities to swim and explore. I spent countless hours trawling through tidal pools at the coast as well as snorkelling off our dock. During a trip to Florida for my dad’s work, I snorkelled with a shark for the first time at the age of eight. It was a small nurse shark and I was absolutely amazed. When I was five I had already told my parents I wanted to be a marine biologist, but seeing this shark really launched a lifelong fascination with these remarkable creatures. The ocean and sharks have continued to play an integral role throughout my life. I am a marine biologist, shark conservationist, author, educator and mom. After spending years working around the globe on various research projects, diving expeditions and media projects, I decided to bring my science and media experience together to create Sharks4Kids. My journey to this place was definitely not a straight path, but I have created an amazing career that brings me so much joy. The flexibility also allows me and my husband to spend a lot of time with our daughter, sharing the ocean and our life with her.
Where I work
I am the founder and president of Sharks4Kids, a non-profit organisation based in Florida, although we provide resources for educators and students around the world. Creating resources and opportunities requires a lot of time at the computer, but this also means my office space can be anywhere.
Living in Bimini, The Bahamas, means I also get to spend time in the water with a variety of shark species from young-of-the-year lemon sharks to massive great hammerheads. We integrate photos and videos into all our educational material, so I am always working to have high-quality media to excite and engage students. A lot of the in-person outreach I do is in The Bahamas, visiting schools and taking kids on field trips. For me, being there to see what the office work has made possible motivates and drives me to create even more experiences. I would prefer to be in the water every day, but I know how much behind-the-scenes work it takes to create life-changing experiences for kids. It’s no less than all the logistic and prep work that goes into running successful field work and research trips.
What I do
Running a small non-profit means I am always learning and that I wear a lot of hats. Sharks4Kids offers an extensive range of programmes and resources. We are a very small organisation, so I manage all day-to-day aspects and oversee our team of coordinators. I am also responsible for developing new educational material, new projects and new programmes for students, as well as securing funding. I work with a variety of educators, scientists and other organisations to bring our diverse learning opportunities to life. I also get to spend a lot of time filming and photographing sharks to create content for our educational resources. I love that each day is different and the variation in the work challenges and inspires me. Some days I am photographing tiger sharks and other days I am teaching a virtual shark lesson to more than 10,000 students around the world. It’s amazing to be able to combine science, media and my creativity to bring programmes, material and outreach initiatives to life.