Sea Turtle Camp Educators
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.
Blair Brannon, Program Coordinator
Blair is from Cornelius, a small town just north of Charlotte, NC. Her parents were avid scuba divers and got her involved when she was just 15 and has been scuba diving all around the world in places like Hawaii, Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Thomas, Florida Keys, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Soon after her introduction to diving, Blair’s interest in the ocean and marine life grew into her passion, which developed into her career.
In 2011, Blair moved to pursue a degree at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). There she studied Environmental Science with a minor in Spanish and volunteered at the NC Fort Fisher Aquarium. Each winter, she spent time in Costa Rica with sea turtle nest excavations and releasing hatchlings, gaining hands on experience. During an internship with the NC Coastal Federation in Wrightsville Beach, Blair found her calling for environmental education and sharing her passion with others. Loving Wilmington so much, she decided to continue her studies and received a Master of Science in Environmental Science, Coastal Management.
Following her graduation in 2017, Blair began her journey with our Surf Camp division becoming Unit Leader for the Guppy and Grom programs during the summer, earning 2017 Counselor of the Year. After that summer season, she worked for UNCW Youth Programs, traveling to schools all around coastal NC teaching classes hands-on marine science lessons.
In her free time Blair can be found traveling, playing soccer or volleyball, spending time at the beach, going to trivia nights, scuba diving, or holding up her ping pong champion status in the office.
Kasey Schollenberger, Travel Program Coordinator
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!
Kody Crawford, Camp Director
Kody is from the south shore of Massachusetts. By far, his favorite part of the year is summer. He spent his early summer seasons walking to the local beach with his friends. The only time not spent in the salty cold northern Atlantic was swapped for his fresh water escapades at his beloved childhood summer camp.
Kody considers himself a jack of all trades when it comes to hobbies and interests. He is a master level martial artist, a certified culinary artist, an avid adventure outdoorsman and former guide, (a previous) all scholastic runner, a novice breakdancer, and a decent volleyball player.
But one passion trumps all others – Kody’s passion for camps and youth development. Kody has held numerous roles at different camps. From junior counselor, to outdoor educator, to unit leader, and all the way to full time director, Kody has spent many years embodying the spirit of camp in the pursuit of helping youth find their way. It is for that reason Kody graduated from the honors program at Ithaca College with a degree in Recreation Management. In effort to further support children throughout the year, Kody will be undergoing graduate studies in School Counseling this fall at UMASS Amherst.
Ryan Tucker – Unit Leader (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 third 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!
Allison Nedrow – Unit Leader (Loggerheads)
Allison was born, raised, and now currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Saint Francis University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Aquarium and Zoo Sciences, as well as a minor in Psychology and Biological Scuba Diving. While attending Saint Francis, she interned at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium in the education department and the aquarium, working with penguins and a variety of marine fish species which inspired her love of science communication/education and the ocean. Following graduation, Allison was fortunate to obtain an internship at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center; she says this experience was transformative and influential. She then worked at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo (MD) as a member of the hoofstock animal care staff, caring for over 100+ various species including zebras, ostriches, camels, North American Bison, and alpacas. Allison is now employed at the University of Pittsburgh as an Animal Care and Operations Technician, and is working towards her Master’s in Environmental Education. Because of her attendance of Sea Turtle Camp while in high school, Allison is most excited to inspire and motivate campers to invest in maintaining the ecological balance of our local and international ecosystems.
Personally, Allison loves strong iced coffee, fresh donuts and cookies, impressing people with weird and random animal facts, watching college basketball, cooking French cuisine, and spending time with her family. This is her first summer working for Sea Turtle Camp, and Allison is so amped to see her campers have an up close experience with sea turtles!
Madison Fairbanks – Unit Leader (Leatherbacks)
Madison is a 22-year-old from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, where she grew up with three younger siblings. She’s anticipating graduating from UNC Wilmington in the spring with a B.S. in Environmental Science, with a concentration in biological sciences and a minor in biology. She has spent the past two summers working with the National Park Service and US Fish & Wildlife monitoring shorebirds and sea turtles in the Outer Banks. Madison has a special love for the salt marsh ecosystem she grew up exploring. However, she’s excited to explore the United States in the future travelling and working different biology jobs across the nation. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, yoga, birding, and of course going to the beach.
Emily Derby – Camp Counselor
Emily Derby lives in the North West of England, Liverpool. After recently finishing her time at college studying Biology, Health and Social Care, and Physical Education, she has decided to delay her time with further studies to travel and see the world. She is hoping to eventually complete the 7 wonders of the world, after having already completed one of them a few summers ago. With this being her first time ever working at an American camp and Sea Turtle Camp she can’t wait to come and be part of the team. Emily loves anything to do with adventure with one of her favourite hobbies being skiing. Emily has never shied away from the ocean and is always eager to jump right in. The amount of unknown species that we are still unaware of is mind blowing. Emily is really looking forward to joining us to expand her knowledge of the ocean, the sea turtle population and marine biology during her time as a counselor here at camp.
Zak Trimble – Camp Counselor (SCUBA)
Zak is a student and diver living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. After finishing his first degree in Education back in 2014, he spent time as a volunteer firefighter, working with kids in aquatics, and traveling as much as possible. In 2018 he decided to go back to school pursuing a degree in Conservation Biology with the goal of eventually being able to help rebuild and protect marine environments.
Zak grew up on the Great Lakes and has always visited the ocean as much as possible. Growing up swimming, boating, and diving around all of these features has given him a deep love for the water and a desire to help protect it for future generations to enjoy just like he has. Zak is pumped be able to teach the campers about his love of the water and hopefully learn something new from them at the same time.
Gregory Lang – Marine Educator
Growing up, Gregory spent his summers in the surf at the Jersey Shore where he got his first introductions to marine life. In December of 2019, Gregory graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a degree in Marine Science and a minor in Chemistry. While on vacation with his sister, Greg got certified as an Open Water Diver in the Dominican Republic before continuing on to become an Advanced Open Water Diver in Florida. During his time at Coastal, Gregory performed research on urchin populations while diving in Jamaica. Over the summer when he wasn’t at the beach or hiking, Gregory worked as a private swim instructor and lifeguard for several years. Currently, Gregory is working on applying to graduate school programs as a marine scientist with hopes to continue in the field and education. Gregory is excited to spend the summer working with kids and teaching them about marine life and the oceans!
Sahmyah Tittle – Marine Educator (SCUBA)
Sahmyah Tittle is 20 years old and originally from Teaneck, New Jersey. Her passion for the ocean started officially during her Junior year of high school when she took an honors Marine Biology course and obtained her SCUBA certifications the summer following. She moved to Columbia, South Carolina and started her schooling at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina where she majors in Marine Science and is set to graduate in May 2020. Post-graduation, her goal is to gain professional experience in the field of Marine Science and Conservation. She aspires to obtain her Master’s degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology to be a Marine Conservationist. Sahmyah’s favorite thing about the ocean is the degree to which its depths are unknown. She wishes to discover, preserve, and protect planet Earth’s final frontier, while inspiring campers to do the same.
Whitney Ericksen – Camp Counselor
Whitney is from Minnesota, but is so excited to spend the summer by the ocean at Sea Turtle Camp! She attended school at Minnesota State University-Mankato and is going back this fall to pursue a degree in Marine Science. Although being landlocked in the Mid West, she has always been drawn to the ocean and outdoor adventures of all sorts! In 2018, Whitney decided to move to Sydney, Australia for a year. She took this opportunity and free time to travel, dive and snorkel in many places around the world like New Zealand, Thailand and the United Kingdom. She loves to hike, go on outdoor runs, watch ocean sunrises and try new coffee shops!
Whitney has been a gymnastics coach, YoungLife leader and has had a few of roles at different camps. For the last 5 years, she has worked as a residence camp counselor, an outdoor education instructor, and the high ropes and target sports specialist. Whitney is passionate about Youth Development and loves encouraging the growth and creative expression kids get to experience at camp.
She is a strong advocate for ocean conservation while taking opportunities to expand her knowledge when it comes to sea turtles and marine life with every chance that she gets. Whitney is so excited to inspire campers and to help maintain the domino effect of spreading knowledge, giving back, and making a difference this summer at Topsail.
Tara Dixon – Trip Leader (Hawaii)
Tara Dixon is originally from the mid-West, but has always had a love for the ocean and marine life. Tara’s education background is psychology for her undergraduate work and social work for her Master’s degree. Tara’s interest for marine life and the ocean continued to grow through experiences and travels. This led Tara to move to Hawaii after college gaining work experience overseeing an education department at a Hawaiian aquarium. Through this experience Tara worked with youth doing turtle releases, beach clean ups, and leading educational camps. In addition, Tara has experience leading study abroad programs for college students and youth. Tara recently worked as a teen facilitator in the Cayman Islands on a project focused on helping endangered coral reef. Tara currently resides in Nashville and is enjoying working with Big Brothers Big Sisters overseeing teen mentoring programs. Tara is missing the ocean and feeling eager to join Sea Turtle Camp to be surrounded by the ocean and conservation work soon. Tara loves learning by doing and is excited to encourage youth to pursue their passions.
Aubreigh Sharpe – Trip Leader (Hawaii)
Aubreigh Sharpe is originally from Albany, Georgia, but she has since moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. Once a camper at Sea Turtle Camp North Carolina, Aubreigh has continued to have a passion for studying and understanding marine environments, particularly with a focus on spreading awareness and conservation efforts. This desire to gain knowledge and pursue a career in the marine sciences encouraged her to attend the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Aubreigh has attended UH Mānoa for three years in pursuit of her B.S. in Marine Biology. After college, she hopes to join the work force either as a field researcher or partake in conservation programs.
Aubreigh has research experience working on Moku o Loʻe (Coconut Island) in Hawai’i, where she lived on the island for a month and did an intensive research project and presentation that focused on examining the relationship between the density of an invasive algae and Green sea turtles in Kāne‘ohe Bay. Through this research project and fieldwork done for classes, she has gained confidence and skills in how to do snorkel based surveys of a reef.
Aubreigh has always been comfortable in the water, and in her free time, she enjoys going paddleboarding, snorkelling, and diving. When she’s not in the water, Aubreigh enjoys visiting cat-cafes, trying to learn ukulele, and watching movies.
This is Aubreigh’s first year working with Sea Turtle Camp, and she is undoubtedly excited to be immersed in the marine environment and have the opportunity to encourage campers to be advocates for the ocean and marine life.
Eric Sliter – Trip Leader (Florida Keys SCUBA)
Eric is a returning staff member who hails from the landlocked state of Kentucky, where he grew up surrounded by the outdoors on the outskirts of Louisville. Contributing his love for the ocean to frequent beach vacations growing up, he realized that the sea was where he belonged. For the last 7 years he has traveled around the country and internationally to observe parks and ecosystems, working his passions. In 2019 with Sea Turtle Camp Hawaii he was able to reach his 50th state visited!
He is an avid snorkeler as well as a NAUI Advanced and Rescue diver who has had the wonderful opportunity to dive in the Bahamas, Channel Islands, Florida Keys, Cozumel, and Similan Islands in Thailand.
He received his Bachelor degree in Bioengineering from the University of Louisville, focusing on biotech with renewable energy and sustainability. With work experience in renewable energy labs, sustainability driven resource research, and outdoor education in marine science he has been able to let his passion for sustainability and nature flourish and share it with others. Enjoying watching growth and inspiring others to care about the ocean, he has worked in the Florida Keys as a Unit Leader at Seacamp and has instructed marine science for Catalina Island Marine Institute. In his free time, Eric can be found snorkeling, hiking, reading a good book outdoors, playing video games, or getting excited about biology. He currently teaches in Oregon where he enjoys every day he can spend outdoors.
Cassidy Coker – Trip Leader (Florida Keys SCUBA)
Cassidy is a 23-year-old San Diego, CA native who graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She has always been in love with the ocean but started diving when she moved to Santa Cruz in 2017. Cassidy has since then obtained an AAUS (American Academy of Underwater Sciences) diving certification as well as a PADI rescue diver, and NAUI master diver certification. She loves being outside; backpacking, camping, diving, and exploring nature photography. During her time at U.C.S.C., she participated in several undergraduate research programs. Her favorite trip was to Corsica, France where she studied sea urchin foraging behavior and distribution in the STARESO research harbor. In three short years, Cassidy has dived in four different countries and is hoping to add East Asia to her list this year! Since 2010, Cassidy has been working with Joan Embery in San Diego teaching the public about conservation using exotic animals. She trained and showed these animals for private events and, on occasion, at the San Diego Zoo. Cassidy is now applying to many different masters programs for Wildlife Ecology research. She hopes to continue doing research and wants to use her findings to educate the public on the importance of conservation of wildlife and ecosystems all over the world.
Olivia Loveday – Trip Leader (Costa Rica)
Olivia has been drawn to water and exploration for about as long as she can remember. She’s gone from sprint to synchronized swimming and fallen in love with scuba and freediving. She decided to study Oceanography at the University of Southampton which has allowed her to get a better grasp of what goes on in our oceans. Along the way, she started contributing to sea turtle conservation around the world and is hooked! She’s worked on research projects in Greece, Florida, and more recently Costa Rica with the Leatherback Trust where she spent 6 months tagging measuring and protecting nesting leatherback, olive ridley and black sea turtles. Over the last year she’s been backpacking around the world, experiencing new cultures and learning new skills like surf instructing in Northern Spain, leading hikes in the snowy mountains of Montenegro and olive picking across the Mediterranean…
Last summer, Olivia loved travelling to Costa Rica to teach amazing teens about the marine environment and how to make a positive impact in the world. She is so excited to be going back and continue educating students about the incredible ecology and environments in Central America and share her crazy adventure stories with everyone. Bring on the patrols, excavations and exploration: Pura vida!
Piper Bartlett-Browne – Trip Leader (Costa Rica)
Piper Bartlett-Browne is a high school science teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, NH. In addition to her teaching, she also leads international school trips each year and runs a science internship program for high school students in collaboration with the University of New Hampshire. Piper has also personally participated in research through the RETE Program where she worked on The Living Bridge Project and was selected as a PolarTREC educator where she participated in Arctic climate change research during the summer of 2019.
Piper’s teaching philosophy is to encourage students to engage in hands-on activities that generate data to investigate the application of academic concepts to real-world scenarios. She seeks to connect her students directly with the scientific community in order to foster enthusiasm and awareness, thus encouraging them to see themselves as genuine contributors to science. Piper has a passion for the outdoors, and living in New Hampshire gives her the opportunity to hike and ski. She enjoys traveling and exploring the underwater world through scuba. Piper is excited for this opportunity and to share her love of travel and conservation with Sea Turtle Camp!