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Justin Ridge

Executive Director
Justin (@jt_ridge) is a Marine Sciences PhD student at UNC Institute of Marine Sciences studying under Drs. Rodriguez and Fodrie. His research focuses on the growth of oyster reefs over various time scales in different habitats. Justin received his BA in Biology from Hanover College in 2007 and his MS in Biological Oceanography from Florida Institute of Technology in 2010. He has been heavily involved in classroom outreach and is one of the founders of the Scientific Research and Education Network.

Ethan Theuerkauf

Executive Director
Ethan (@ejtheuerkauf) is a PhD student at UNC Institute of Marine Sciences studying under Dr. Rodriguez. His research focuses on the geological evolution of coastal environments, specifically beaches, barrier islands, and salt marshes. Ethan received his BS in Geology from The College of William and Mary in 2009 and his MS in Marine Sciences from UNC Chapel Hill in 2012. He enjoys spreading his research through community outreach and is one of the founders of the Scientific Research and Education Network (SciREN).

Heather Hennehan

Heather Heenehan

Chair of the Board
Heather (@SpinnerHeather) is a Marine Science and Conservation PhD candidate at the Duke University Marine Lab. She graduated with her Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke in 2011 and her BS in Environmental Science from the University of Connecticut in 2009. At Duke she studies the sounds of Hawaiian spinner dolphins and the soundscape in their resting bays off the Kona Coast of Hawaii Island. She also finds time to participate in many different outreach activities and is a blogger for the Huffington Post Girls in STEM initiative.

Alyse Larkin

Alyse Larkin

Treasurer, Vice-Chair
Alyse (@aalarkin) is a Marine Science and Conservation PhD Student at Duke University. She studies microbial oceanography, focusing on planktonic biodiversity, community structure, and ocean biogeochemistry. Alyse studies the ubiquitous cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus, which is the world’s smallest and most abundant known photosynthetic organism. Alyse’s doctoral research seeks to determine how increasing ocean temperatures will affect the community diversity, metabolism, and genetic structure of Prochlorococcus. Alyse received her bachelors degree in Environmental Studies from Vassar College in 2010.

Avery Paxton

Avery Paxton

Secretary, Vice-Chair
Avery (@ABPaxton) is a Biology PhD student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, based at the Institute of Marine Sciences. Avery’s research broadly focuses on marine ecology, conservation, and restoration of hard bottom systems, including artificial reefs, shipwrecks, and natural hard bottom. Her dissertation research aims to understand fish and invertebrate habitat preference on these hard bottom habitats to guide applied conservation and restoration efforts. Before attending UNC, Avery earned a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia, during which her research focused on ecologically conserving shipwrecks in North Carolina.