JR Onboard Education/Outreach Officers

Expedition 363: Western Pacific Warm Pool  6th October – 8th December 2016 

Katie Halder has had 25 years experience teaching science at schools in England, Botswana, Hong Kong and Australia. She holds a MSc in Marine Science from Plymouth University, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Exeter University and a Chemistry degree from University College London. She strongly supports discovery based education where students  are engaged using hands on activities and, plan and undertake experiments to find answers to hypothesize they propose.


When out of the classroom Katie enjoys sailing, painting and being outdoor. In her holidays she likes to camp with her family in remote locations. She exhibits and sells her work in local exhibitions. She lives in Perth, Australia with her husband and three children.

Stephanie Spray Headshot 0716

Stephanie Spray is Assistant Professor of Critical Media Practices at the University of Colorado Boulder, and is a filmmaker, phonographer and anthropologist whose work explores social aesthetics and art in everyday life. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology with Media from Harvard University, an MA in Religion from Harvard Divinity School and a BA in Religion from Smith College. Stephanie’s research interests include visual and media anthropology; the interface between art, anthropology and cinema; the anthropology of science; climate change; religious studies; and phenomenology.

Expedition 362: Sumatra Seismogenic Zone: 6 August – 6 October 2016


Naomi Barshi recently taught introductory geology at McGill University and John Abbott College in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  She holds a master’s in Earth and Planetary Sciences from McGill University (2015) and a bachelor’s in Geosciences from Smith College (cum laude with high honors, 2012).  She has also worked in informal science education at museums and an outdoor school in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. Her research interests include investigating how the interactions between earthquakes, rocks, and landscapes can help us understand fault histories and deformation in Earth’s crust.  She enjoys science curriculum development and learning about learning. Aside from her scientific activities, she also enjoys singing in a choir and holds a first-degree black belt in Aikido, a non-violent Japanese martial art.


Agnes Pointu: For 15 years, I have been teaching Biology and Geology in secondary schools. I lived in Paris some years ago, now I am installed in the suburb, 20 miles from the capital. At university, I began by studying biology in order to become a biology teacher. At this time, I discovered geology and I fell in love with rocks! After graduating, I started to teach in a high school but during the same time, I completed a Masters in Geosciences in 2003 then a Ph D from University Pierre et Marie Curie in 2007. During these 4 years, I studied the uplift of the Oman passive margin along the Gulf of Aden, using telesismic tomography and sedimentology. It was a wonderful experience for me. I met a lot of enthusiastic researchers: most of them are very good friends now. Also, I understood how scientific research in geology works, which is, according to me, an important point to teach to the students. It’s the reason why I think it’s a great and unique opportunity for me to be a part of Expedition 362 aboard the JOIDES Resolution!

Expedition 361: Southern African Climates: 31 January – 30 March 2016


Nina Rooks Cast teaches physics and chemistry at Mt. Pleasant High School in Providence, RI. Most of her students are English Language Learners and she has spent three summers in Guatemala learning Spanish to better help her students (85% of whom are Spanish speakers). She has been teaching for 14 years and is a true science geek – she has also taught biology, anatomy/physiology, forensics, biotechnology, oceanography and astronomy. The only science she has not yet been asked to teach is Environmental Science, the subject of her Masters degree! Before teaching, she ran an environmental non-profit in southern Rhode Island, was an energy specialist for another non-profit, a trail walker at a wilderness survival school for troubled teens, a naturalist at an outdoor education center, and worked for NOAA for four years – two at sea and two at the National Marine Mammal Lab in Seattle, WA.

Expedition 360: Indian Ridge Moho: 30 November 2015 – 30 January 2016


Marion is a science teacher in Pau, in the Southwest of France. She teaches both biology and geology in high school, in both French and English.


As a scientist, Lucas has studied ancient raindrops and modern fish poop. As an educator, he is the co-host of Double Blind, a weekly podcast that aims to provide a detailed take on breaking science news. He is eager to bring his experience to Expedition 360 and tell the stories of the people and discoveries on board to the world at large. Online, Lucas may be found at lucaskavanagh.com.

Alejandra Martinez onboard The Nautilus

Alejandra Martinez is a 7th grade science teacher at Memorial Junior High in Eagle Pass, TX. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University, where she had the opportunity to study wildlife and ecotourism in South Africa, and a Masters in Education at Sul Ross State University. Alejandra is passionate about inspiring her students and bringing field research into her classroom. She has participated in two geology camps for teachers through TAMU and was an Educator at Sea aboard the Ocean Exploration Trusts’ E/V Nautilus.

Expedition 359: Maldives Monsoon and Sea Level: 30 September – 30 November 2015

Michelle Darrieu

Mi.Darrieu Bruxelles

Michelle is an Earth Sciences teacher. She is French but has been living and working  in Brussels for the last 20 years. She is in charge of students preparing the “baccalauréat.” They are 16 – 18 years old with a math and science choice; and even after all this time she is still passionate about her job because of the students and the subjects (all the topics in biology and geology).

Apart from that, she spends time between family (She has 3 daughters studying in Brussels) and personal activities: reading ( a lot !!), doing yoga and sport (swimming), cooking and entertaining friends .During her holidays she travels in Europe often enough, with a predilection for Iceland, Italia and Ireland and of course she regularly comes back to France, in Brittany.Several years ago she traveled through South America (6 months :Peru , Ecuador, Chile and a little part of Bolivia), Algeria (treck and climbing in south Sahara: Hoggar mounts) and more recently she discovered Nepal (Kathmandu and Patan), then Quebec and Montreal where one of her daughters was for a training. From the USA she only discovered New-York 15 years ago with pupils.

Juliet Crowell is also on board as our mentor Onboard Education/Outreach Officer. Scroll down to Exp. 353 learn about her!

Expedition 356: Indonesian Throughflow: 31 July – 30 September 2015

Jisun Kim


Jisun is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in biochemistry. She found her passion for teaching and communicating sciences to the general public through the UTeach program, which combines the study of innovative teaching methods and experiences while pursuing a degree in the college of natural sciences. Through her experiences and observations on Expedition 356, she aims to create a project-based curriculum together with her mentor, Dr. Katherine Ellins, Texas A&M, and the Houston Independent School District.

Jisun currently lives in Austin, TX. During her free time, Jisun enjoys baking/cooking, running, solving puzzles or trying new restaurants or bakeries with her friends and family.

Tom Lang

bio photo Lang1

Tom is a science communicator from Melbourne, Australia. He grew up on a sheep farm in rural Victoria, where he developed a great love for animals, both from the large and furry to the small and crawly. He studied zoology at the University of Melbourne, and realized that science communication was the best career ever while studying it at ANU.

He currently works for Museum Victoria, making science fun and relevant for students and public audiences, and he hardly ever sets anything on fire that shouldn’t be. He also writes and performs comedy and has performed science comedy shows at the last two Melbourne International Comedy Festivals, as well as regular comedy gigs and lectures. You can probably find him on Twitter, where he once had a tweet about quantum computing go slightly viral.

If he gets any free time on the ship, he’s hoping to work on his sketching and maybe introduce some new board games to the rest of the team.

Bengal Fan: Expedition 354: 29 January – 31 March 2015

Diane Hanano


Diane has an undergraduate degree in Geology, Oceanography and a master’s degree in Geochemistry from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada). She studied volcanoes on two major ocean islands – Hawaii and Kerguelen – to discover more about the composition, structure and dynamics of the deep Earth.

She now focuses on science management, communications and outreach for a major research facility (PCIGR), a national student training program (MAGNET), and the Canadian scientific drilling community (IODP-Canada).

She is an avid traveler, having traveled to over 20 countries including New Zealand, Japan, Iceland, Nicaragua and Ecuador. She is excited for the new adventure and challenge as an Education Officer on Expedition 354: Bengal Fan. Never stop exploring!

Lisa Strong is a multimedia storyteller and science journalist. She’s a writer, producer, cinematographer, video editor, and still photographer. She runs Strong Mountain Productions,a small media production company specializing in nature, science, and history stories for museum exhibits, science outreach and other web multimedia. Recently, Lisa worked for San Francisco’s hands-on science museum, the Exploratorium. She was a video producer for Ice Stories, a special project where she helped cover polar research from the field – in Greenland and Antarctica – during International Polar Year. Other clients have included Yosemite National Park, National Geographic’s Crittercam, the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, and the Petersburg Marine Mammal Center. Lisa also teaches her craft. She helped develop the multimedia class at the UCSC Science Communication program. She’s also taught photography and visual storytelling techniques in Yosemite, SE Alaska, and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lisa has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Biology from UC Santa Barbara, and a graduate degree from the UCSC Science Communication Program. AND, she sings in a blues/rock band in San Francisco.

Indian Monsoon: Expedition 353: 29 November 2014 – 29 January 2015

Juliet Crowell


Juliet Crowell was the Education Program Specialist at Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) in Washington DC. As the program specialist Juliet managed week-long professional development workshops for science teachers known as the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs). Juliet also taught inquiry-based workshops using the SSEC Science and Technology Concepts curriculum. During her time at SSEC Juliet was the Principal Investigator on several grants supporting teachers needing funds to attend the Academies.

Prior to joining SSEC Juliet was an Education Program Coordinator for the Hands On Science Center at the National Museum of American History. She has more than 10 years of experience teaching hands-on science activities to museum visitors (families and students). In 2011 Juliet co-founded the Beacon House Saturday Science Club, an inquiry-based program for kids 5-12.

Juliet has a Masters of Science in Education and Museum Leadership from Bank Street College, New York City, N.Y. and a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Studies from George Washington University, Washington, D.C.. She also studied at the Bakhuis Roozeboom Laboratory School in Beverwijk, the Netherlands, where she trained and worked as a laboratory technician.


Markus is a teacher at the Peutinger Gymnasium Ellwangen, a High School in southwest Germany. Ellwangen - which celebrates its 1250-year birthday in 2014 - is located in the middle of the South German Scarplands, the cradle of German geological research. The Nördlinger Ries, a huge meteorite crater, is close. To live in such an environment made it literally unevitable for him to become fascinated by geology, although he's not teaching it.

When not in a classroom, he loves to show his students the beauty of the landscape by taking them on long-distance walks, digging in search of remains of Jurassic organisms or showing them the caves in the limestone of the Suabian Alps.

Markus has two kids and is a Bass player in two local bands, playing both Soul and Jazz.

Izu Bonin Mariana Forearc: Expedition 352: 30 July – 29 September 2014

Elizabeth Christensen

The International Ocean Discovery Program and the science of the JOIDES Resolution has fascinated me since I first learned how these discoveries help reveal the secrets of our planet home.  Using ocean cores as a window into the past is so exciting; I can’t wait to get that first glimpse back in time.  I am honored to be a part of Expedition 352 and am looking forward to igniting the same thrill in others as I reach out to share the adventure that is science no matter how or where it is done.

With fourteen years of middle school science teaching experience, one of my goals as Education Officer is to make the science of the JR relevant and accessible to middle-level students.  I will be working with middle school teachers and students to develop a Next Generation Science Standards and STEM-based curriculum which can be incorporated into any school and follow any IODP expedition.  The possibilities for STEM education through the JR are endless; the challenge is to choose the areas on which to focus during my two months as Education Officer.  I look forward to collaborating with land-based colleagues, utilizing our varied experience and perspectives to build authentic lessons which are flexible enough to suit each learner’s needs.

The majority of my life has been spent mostly-surrounded by water living in beautiful Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It makes sense that my next adventure finds me completely surrounded by water onboard the JOIDES Resolution.  I have a strong suspicion that I won’t want to leave at the end of eight weeks! 

When I take a break from work, I enjoy spending time exploring Michigan’s lakeshores and wooded areas or traveling to places where I can spend time outdoors:  hiking, camping, cross-country skiing.  Any time I can share these activities with family and friends is a bonus.

Amy West

Amy hails from the mountainous state of Colorado but pursued a career as an ocean scientist. She doesn’t really fit into a box; but she does fit on a ship. She’s spent nearly 600 days at sea, from regions in the Antarctic to the Arctic, exploring topics ranging from phytoplankton to deep-sea robots. For two decades her research adventures and undergraduate and graduate degrees obtained internationally took her to more than 30 countries and counting. Participating in teaching and outreach programs at sea, in the Peace Corps, and through a television show drove her to invest in another graduate degree– this one in science communication from UCSC. It helped her break free of the jargony science speak, and make science and technology more relevant and interesting to the rest of the world. She uses the whole tool belt: prose, photography, video and audio, to create pieces for magazines, online science news, government and higher education. She relishes learning new science, experiencing new vistas, and sharing the process with those that can’t be there. Deep ocean research captivates her the most.

Now a multilancer, she has worked hard to shed her nomadic lifestyle for a home base in San Luis Obispo, CA. It can’t be fieldwork 24-7, so she creates time every day for whatever outdoor activity helps feed the fix.  Her motto: Exploration, Education, and Innovation! http://www.amyewest.com

Izu Bonin Mariana Arc Origins: Expedition 351: 30 May – 30 July 2014

J. Adam Bogus (first name John, goes by Adam), is a cinematographer and photographer based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and works for film production company performing duties such as camera assistant, camera operator, and editor.  Bogus graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and studied a wide range of subjects, finishing with a B.S. in Biopsychology.  After graduation, he lived in Italy putting his degree to use by harvesting olives, and learning the extra virgin olive oil making process in the Italian regions of Lazio and Tuscany.  Bogus returned to the United States in late 2012, and began his career in film soon after.  He looks forward to seeing the world before, during, and after Expedition 351; as living in a single place for two years has reignited his passion for travelling and documenting the world through the art and science of photography.

Mike Prosalik received his BS in Environmental Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, NY and his MAT from Union Graduate College of Schenectady, NY. Prior to becoming a teacher Mike worked as a construction superintendent for several years, having grown up working in the construction industry.

Having spent most of his life in upstate New York, Mike is a recent transplant to Pennsylvania. He teaches science at the Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, PA. He has had the pleasure of teaching in several schools over the past few years and has found the common thread amongst the different environments to be student interest in the science that is happening here and now. Mike knows from participating the in 2013 School of Rock that JR gives him the ability to follow the science happening on-board and teach about the current missions and discuss what is happening in science today. His teaching focuses on opening up new doors of student interest and avenues for students to see science in action. He is most excited about the opportunity to experience the high powered scientific experience that the JR has to offer.

Outside of teaching, Mike is an avid explorer/outdoors person. Whether it be backpacking, hiking, canoeing, or whitewater canoeing Mike likes to find a way to experience the environment around him. Some of his more recent adventures where hiking the Long Trail which runs the entire length of Vermont (~300 miles) and in December of 2013 he explored the beautiful rivers and ecosystems of Costa Rica during a week of white water canoeing. Though he expects his time on the JR to be a different kind of environmental connection, he is looking forward to being able to connect with part of the world that is unknown to both himself and many others.

Izu Bonin Mariana Rear Arc: Expedition 350: 30 March – 30 May 2014

Lesley Allen

Lesley is a true scientist – her earliest memories are of collecting treasures from the beach, digging up worms in the garden and taking things apart to find out how they worked, much to the irritation of her parents whose prized radio and clock both ended up in pieces on the kitchen floor, never to work again! She loves learning and it is what she does for a hobby in her spare time, so she has collected a number of qualifications up to post-graduate level – She just does it for fun because there is always so much more to learn!
She is a consumate science communicator teaching Geology, Physical Geography and Mining History across a range of levels and ages – right up to undergraduates and adults in Cornwall, UK.SheI also works in informal settings – museums and industrial heritage sites covering everything from tin mining and lighthouse technology to undersea communication cables and pottery! She considers myself to be very lucky to be paid to talk about all her favourite things for a living, and also to live in one of the most beautiful, geologically interesting and historically fascinating places in the World!

Julia DeMarines

Julia is an Astrobiologist and avid science communicator with a MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University and a BS in Astronomy with a Geology minor from the University of Colorado. She has presented conferences around the world on her research involving Titan, remote detection of biosignatures, Active SETI, Social Implications of Astrobiology, and Education and Public Outreach. She has worked at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science with Dr. David Grinspoon on both Astrobiology research (involving Titan) and Education and Public Outreach (E/PO), NASA Ames Research Center with Dr. Chris McKay on biosignatures, NASA’s Deep Impact Mission, as well as for the exoplanet concept mission called New Worlds Observer.

Outside of science research, you might find her living out of her backpack, writing Space Raps, running Denver’s monthly space outreach event called Space in Your Face!, hanging with her cat, Bella, cooking Indian Food, trail running, or watching a documentary.

She loves new adventures, meeting new people, and above all, learning. She is very excited to be joining the science team and the crew on the JR to help communicate all the onboard awesomeness.

South Alaska Margin: Expedition 341: 29 May – 29 July 2013


Alison Mote


I am so excited to be part of Expedition 341 to Southern Alaska because it combines so many of my favorite things: earth science, cutting edge research, and exploring new and exciting territories. I have a passion for communicating the wonders and excitement of science to the public; I look forward to giving you a glimpse into the past as we explore how global climate changed from the Neogene to Quaternary periods.
As an 8th grade Project Lead the Way and AP Environmental Science instructor at the Ann Richards School For Young Women Leaders in Austin, TX, I enjoy challenging my students with projects that give them hands on experience with techniques that scientists use to solve problems and find solutions to the challenges facing planet Earth. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, hiking, camping, running, and reading, as well spending quality time with family, friends, and my two dogs, Indy and Guinness.


Carol Larson

Carol is the Education Team Leader at the National Aquarium of New Zealand. She has a Fisheries Resource Economics degree from the University of Massachusetts and spent a year exchange studying fisheries at Oregon State University where she met her NZ husband.
Catching her first fish as a five year old started a long interest in fish, biodiversity and ecology. Spending two months in the Bering Sea as a fisheries biologist and observer further paved the way to her passion for conservation. After teaching in primary schools she joined the aquarium and married her two biggest interests, teaching and aquatic life. Conservation and creativity have an outlet in her work by creating fun, educational programmes, biodiversity celebrations, lectures, poetry competitions, and traveling road shows using all forms of teaching and learning styles.

Carol lives in Hawkes Bay where the first NZ dinosaur fossil evidence was discovered by Joan Wiffen, an amateur paleontologist. Working with Joan to help educate local schools about this amazing natural resource was one of the highlights of Carol’s career. With her interest piqued in the stories that lie within rocks and the deeper parts of the earth, Carol is excited about learning more on Expedition 341 as well as being on a ship in Alaska again for two months.

Carol has two children, Julia and Alex, who live around the world and fuel her love of traveling. She also enjoys aquatic sports, tramping and mountain biking in New Zealand’s beautiful green spaces.

Hess Deep Rift: Expedition 345: 12 December 2012 – 12 February, 2013

Susan Gebbels, Nicole Kurtz, Jean-Luc Berenguer (in that order in photo below)



Susan Gebbels works for Newcastle University in the School of Marine Science and Technology as a marine biologist. She is based at the Dove Marine Laboratory on the NE coast, where her office looks out over the North Sea. Susan’s research interests center around methods that allow communities to become involved in developing management plans for their local coastal environments. She also develops and delivers projects to schools that focus on inspiring a sense of responsibility for marine and coastal issues in young people. These themes were developed in her PhD thesis which she submitted the day before sailing on the JR!


Nicole Kurtz recently obtained her BFA in Medical Illustration from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a Minor in Fiber and Material Studies. Upon completion of her degree, she developed a thesis focused on the necessity of art in scientific discovery. She created a curriculum concentrated on the multiple learning strategies present in the classroom and the need for unconventional, dynamic, and innovative interactive learning tools. The curriculum contained a series of games and activities to benefit the multiple ways that students learn, as well as benefiting the teachers and school systems as a whole. By catering to the diverse learning strategies, she was able to create activities that are cross-disciplinary allowing teachers to share between subjects and lesson plans. Needing to prove the games were actually improving the comprehension of scientific materials, she organizes and led groups of students (young and old) in a series of play-tests. Her techniques utilize skills of authoring, communicating, leading and designing scientific content and translating it for the lay audiences as well as the science community.

Nicole continues to develop curricula, activities and lesson plans by working with the camps and classes departments at the Great Lakes Science Center, Children’s Museum of Cleveland, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. She is also expanding her exhibit design skills by assisting in the redesign of current exhibits with the International Woman’s Air and Space Museum located in downtown Cleveland.


Jean-Luc Berenguer teaches biology and geology at International School in Valbonne Sophia Antipolis, on the French Riviera near Nice. In the past, he also worked in a few French schools in Canada, Germany and Portugal before coming back to France.

When not in the classroom, he is a coordinator for an educational seismological network in France called Sismometers at school. Indeed, working on seismometers in schools gives students (12-17 years old) more motivation and a better opportunity to focus on natural hazards knowledge as well as the use of real time databases.  He also supervises the teachers’ training program in geosciences.

Jean-Luc enjoys hiking, traveling, taking photos and collecting rocks as his favorite hobbies. He sailed on the JR before during the School of Rock 2009.


Costa Rica Seismogenesis Project Phase 2: Expedition 344: 23 October – 11 December 2012

Dena Rosenberger

Dena has been teaching science at El Capitan High School in Lakeside, California, for 22 years.  She teaches Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, and AP Environmental Science.  Lakeside is a rural suburb in the East County area of San Diego, where agriculture and a rodeo are part of the city!  In East County, you can be in the playing in the snow in the mountains or playing in the waves at the beach within an hour!  Working as a research assistant for the Navy before she started teaching gave her a love of research, where sometimes you may encounter something that has never been studied before.  Dena enjoys blending teaching science with being a part of scientific research so that she can share the excitement of discovery with students.

Paleogene Newfoundland Sediment Drifts: Expedition 342, 2 June – 1 August, 2012

Caitlin Scully

Caitlin has a passion for communicating science. She particularly loves geology and whales, which is a great combination for Expedition 342: Paleogene Newfoundland Sediment Drifts. Caitlin recently completed her masters in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. While at Scripps she created interpretive materials focusing on geology and paleoclimate for national park visitors and staff. These materials discuss the use of ocean drilling records to date the charismatic geologic features of Cedar Breaks National Monument and Bryce Canyon National Park.

After receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of San Diego in Environmental Studies with a minor in International Relations, Caitlin worked as an educator and naturalist for the Birch Aquarium. The aquarium challenged her with varied teaching environments, including classroom fish dissections, snorkeling with sharks, and working on whale watching boats. She also wrote for the Birch Aquarium Onboard Blog and managed the whale watching twitter feed. Caitlin has studied killer whale bioacoustics at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, recorded dusky dolphin behavior in New Zealand, and has worked as an environmental advocate for the non-profit I Love A Clean San Diego.

When not promoting ocean literacy, Caitlin’s favorite pastime is going on “epic” camping trips through the American West with her german shepherd, Charlie.

Lesser Antilles Volcanism and Landslides: Expedition 340, 3 March – 17 April, 2012

Teresa Greely

Teresa is thrilled to be on the JOIDES Resolution as your education officer, exploring the ocean floor with fellow scientists, and sharing the adventure with countless virtual explorers. It is her hope to inspire and educate the next generation of scientists and educators, while encouraging the ‘citizen scientist’ in everyone. Teresa’s job as a scientist and educator has been very rewarding. She grew up in Michigan and knew at 8 years old she wanted to be an oceanographer thanks to Jacque Cousteau. She started her professional career as a marine biologist studying how fishes are adapted to live where they live in the ocean and their contribution to global carbon cycling. Research has taken her around the globe to study fishes from the Gulf of Mexico to the Southern Ocean to hydrothermal vents at the mid-Atlantic Ridge. For fun she listens to music, dances, hikes, paddles, fellowships, cycles, and enjoys lots of time with friends and family.

Teresa is a teaching faculty at the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science She coordinates four community engagement programs and teaches a series of courses including oceanography and ways to communicate about the ocean sciences.  To prepare for her career Dr. Greely completed a bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in the Natural Sciences, a Master’s degree in the Marine Sciences and a PhD in Science Education.


Mediterranean Outflow: Expedition 339, 17 November – 17 January, 2012

Helder Pereira

Helder was born in Lisbon, but moved south, to the Algarve region, to attend University. He became a teacher in 1996, after receiving his degree in Biology and Geology. He also has a Masters Degree from the University of Algarve in Nature Conservation and Management. He has worked in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, doing environmental education and coastal management, for a couple of years. He went back to school in 2003 and has been teaching at Escola Secundária de Loulé since then. At his school he is also in charge of the Earth and Space Sciences Club, where they have the opportunity to organize and participate in science fairs and national contests.

Helder loves basketball! As a young boy he played it in Clube Atlético de Queluz. His favorite NBA team is the Boston Celtics and his favorite player of all time is the amazing Larry Bird. He also likes to cook and spend hours in the kitchen to have a nice sit-down family meal. His favorite hobbies are listening to music and hiking.

Mid-Atlantic Microbiology: Expedition 336, 15 September 2011 – 17 November, 2011

Jennifer Magnusson

Jennifer is a teacher (4th Grade, Bellingham, WA), marine biologist (Deep-sea Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, 1998), web developer and graphic designer and could not be more thrilled to serve as the education officer onboard Expedition 336! She has been interested in marine science since the 6th grade, whensheI had a fabulous, inspiring teacher, and she hopes to inspire other students to pursue careers in science and the sea.


Louisville Seamount Trail: Expedition 330, 13 December 2010 – 12 February 2011

Kevin Kurtz – Education Officer

Kevin in survival suit

Kevin Kurtz grew up in Homer, New York, one of the many small towns in New York’s very rural upstate. He has a bachelors in English literature and a masters in elementary education and started his professional career working in a marine biology laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina, where he spent 40 hours a week looking under a microscope at plankton samples to find shrimp larvae.

Not too long after starting the plankton job, Kevin was able to combine all of these experiences by becoming an environmental educator and curriculum writer, a field he has been involved with for over a decade. He has worked for the South Carolina Aquarium, the Center for Birds of Prey and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, all in the Charleston area.

He has written and edited the South Carolina Aquarium’s award winning K-8 curriculum, as well as curriculum activities for NOAA, the College of Charleston’s COASTeam project and the Center for Birds of Prey. He also helped develop and was the first coordinator of the South Carolina Aquarium’s High School Intern Program, which recently won AZA’s Diversity award.

In 2007, Kevin was lucky enough to have a children’s book he wrote published, titled A Day in the Salt Marsh. A second children’s book he wrote titled A Day on the Mountain was published in 2010. T learn more about his books, visit his website.

Kevin currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

Louisville Seamount Trail: Expedition 330, 13 December 2010 – 12 February 2011

Lisa Strong – Outreach Officer, Videographer

Lisa Strong is a multimedia storyteller and science journalist. She’s a writer, producer, cinematographer, video editor, and still photographer. She runs Strong Mountain Productions, a small media production company specializing in nature, science, and history stories for museum exhibits, science outreach and other web multimedia. Recently, Lisa worked for San Francisco’s hands-on science museum, the Exploratorium. She was a video producer for Ice Stories, a special project where she helped cover polar research from the field – in Greenland and Antarctica – during International Polar Year. Other clients have included Yosemite National Park, National Geographic’s Crittercam, the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, and the Petersburg Marine Mammal Center. Lisa also teaches her craft. She helped develop the multimedia class at the UCSC Science Communication program. She’s also taught photography and visual storytelling techniques in Yosemite, SE Alaska, and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lisa has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Biology from UC Santa Barbara, and a graduate degree from the UCSC Science Communication Program. AND, she sings in a blues/rock band in San Francisco.

South Pacific Gyre Microbiology: Expedition 329, 9 October – 13 December, 2010

Joe Monaco

Joe taught Earth Science for 35 years and is recently retired. The first 17 of those years he taught in Massachusetts and the rest in California. Joe has a B.A. in Earth Science and an M.S. in Environmental Studies. During his teaching career he has also coached track, run science fairs, coached the Science Olympiad Team and the Environthon Team. His teaching career was enhanced by participating in many workshops along the way. In 2007 he was a School of Rocker in Texas and in 2009 he was a School of Rocker on the JR! In addition to these activities, he often presents workshops at state science teachers conferences. 

Juan de Fuca Hydrogeology: Expedition 327, 5 July – 5 September, 2010

We had a whole team of Education and Outreach Officers! Click here to learn about them.  

Canterbury Basin Sea Level: Expedition 317, 4 November, 2009 – 4 January 2010

Julie Pollard – Education Officer


Julie Pollard is a middle school science teacher in Texas. She found out about the Teacher at Sea program through her involvement in the professional development program, TXESS Revolution, with which she worked during the expedition.  She has a degree in geology, and loves unlocking a love of science in her students.  She has been married for 25 years, and has a teenage son who is active in theater and drama.  In her spare time, Julie likes to read, scrapbook and collect rock and mineral samples and watch her son act. She got her degree in geology at University of Texas at Arlington. 

Julie worked as a field scientist for an environmental firm for two years before realizing that her gift and calling was to be in the classroom with the kids.  She has been teaching middle school science for seven years now.  Julie was thrilled to have the opportunity to show her kids that science is active and exciting, and that a career in the sciences doesn’t mean sitting in a lab all day every day.  They were very excited about following the expedition.  Julie’s son said it was fine for her to go on the ship as long as they had email, which they did!

Bering Sea: Expedition 323, 5 July – 4 September, 2009

Douglas LaVigne

I am Doug LaVigne.  I live in Acworth, GA, a suburb in the North Metro Atlanta area.  I currently teach Physics at South Cobb High School in Austell, GA, but my first love in science is biology.  South Cobb has around 2200 students in grades 9-12.  I have also coached soccer at the school and have worked with the school’s Science and Robotics clubs.  I also work with a club at school named Bogg’s Doggs that allows our students to assist in rescuing and finding homes for abandoned and abused pets.

I was born and raised in this area, and graduated from South Cobb’s rival, Osborne High School.  It is an amazing place to grow up, because you are a half hour from Atlanta to the south or to the north, the North Georgia Mountains.  It presents wonderful job opportunities, and I’ve done everything from computer programming for a Fortune 500 company to swinging a sword at a joust.   In my spare time I love playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and I play guitar and sing in a couple of local rock bands.

I originally wanted to be an electrical engineer, like my father, when I graduated from high school and attended the Georgia Institute of Technology.  Georgia Tech is an amazing school, but I soon found out that I was in the wrong place.  I loved my science classes, and teaching science would mean I could share my passion.  I transferred to Kennesaw State University, where I obtained a Bachelors degree in Secondary Education in Biology, and more recently my Masters in Education.

Teaching science is about more than learning facts and formulas.  It is a process which helps us understand the natural world, and sometimes we lose sight of that process when we teach.  I have made it a goal to get involved in doing science, and bring that to my students.  By seeing how science and scientists work, I hope I can inspire my students to pursue a career in science or at least leave high school with a better understanding of what science does and can do for us. That is why it is such an incredible opportunity for me to have been selected as the Teacher as Sea on Expedition 323 of the JOIDES Resolution.  The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program – US Implementing Organization (IODP-USIO) presented an opportunity for me to work in the field with scientists looking at the sedimentary record to help investigate such things as the surface water conditions during the Pliocene–Pleistocene and interactions between the sea and the continents at that time.  And it is also an incredible opportunity to share the many roles that make such a project possible.

Shatsky Rise Formation: Expedition 324, 4 September – 4 November, 2009

Nasseer Idrisi

Nasseer is currently on the research faculty at the University of the Virgin Islands studying connectivity of larval stages of coral reef organisms among reefs and their distributional patterns. He received his Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Basrah, Basrah, Iraq in 1984 in the field of Aquatic Biology. He received his Master’s of Science also from the University of Basrah in1989 in the field of marine biology, where his thesis was on the bioenergetics of the larval stages of the shrimp, Caridina babaulti basrensis. Nasseer received his Ph.D. from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY in 1997 in Aquatic Ecology and the topic of his dissertation was the impact of zebra mussels on the pelagic food web in a lake ecosystem.

Nasseer then went on to do his post-doctorate at the University of Miami, in Miami, FL in biological oceanography studying zooplankton dynamics in the Arabian Sea, in the Indian Ocean. Concurrent with conducting research, Nasseer places high priority on the development and enrichment of students’ learning experiences alongside formal classwork, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It is Nasseer’s belief that the learning experience at the college level should be an interactive process between students and the lecturer. In order to keep ideas fresh in the minds of students, active discussions need to take up an adequate amount of the lecture time. Nasseer’s main interests are in developing new ideas in ecology by building upon ideas developed in other disciplines. These approaches should be used to solve scientific problems.