2015-2016 AmeriCorps Members

Kelley Stephens, NESS SEA AmeriCorps Manager

Kelley graduated from Eckerd College with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science. While in College, she studied the effects of ecotourism on local dolphin populations in Kaikoura, New Zealand and traveled from Boston to the USVI aboard the tall ship, Spirit of Massachusetts. She has extensive experience teaching students from 5-18 years old in both marine and terrestrial environments. Past experiences include teaching marine science and island ecology at the Catalina Island Marine Institute in California, Sound to Sea in North Carolina, the Acadia Institute of Oceanography in Maine as well as at MarineLab in Key Largo, Florida. Kelley has also spent time working at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and at the New England Aquarium in Boston. Most recently, Kelley worked as a Lego Engineering Instructor, teaching basic engineering concepts to students using a wide variety of Lego materials. Kelley is a USCG OUPV Captain and a NAUI SCUBA Rescue Diver.

Sarah Arpie, NESS SEA AmeriCorps

Sarah is from Milford, CT, and grew up loving two things: the ocean and education! Sarah graduated in 2013 from the University of New England with a BS in Marine Science and a minor in Mathematics. In 2014 she graduated from the University of Bridgeport with a MS in Education, and she is now a certified secondary science teacher. Sarah has a lot of experience working with students in the classroom and focuses on creating fun inquiry-based science activities that allow students to make connections to the real world. Sarah loves reading books, watching British TV shows, and participating in any activity that is outdoors. She is very excited to be working with the students of New London to help create a new generation of marine scientists!

Erin Christiansen, NESS SEA AmeriCorps Member

Erin Christiansen grew up in a small town in the southeastern corner of Kansas before attending school at the University of Kansas. She recently graduated, in May 2015, with her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and minors in French and German language. While attending school, Erin worked at the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence where she realized just how much she truly enjoyed working with students. The opportunity to serve as an AmeriCorps member with NESS combined both her passion for the ocean and working with students and was the perfect opportunity for her to get her hands wet in the field of environmental education. Erin has lived her life inland until moving to the Connecticut coast, but she has always had a very strong love for orca whales, which grew into a vast love and interest for the ocean. Erin is a certified PADI SCUBA diver and she is very excited to try as many ocean adventure sports as she can and learn as much as possible about the New England coast. She is even more excited to work with the students in the New London public school system and at Ocean Beach to explore the local coastline together.

Jordan Dilley, NESS SEA AmeriCorps Member

Jordan grew up in Phoenix, Arizona so when it came time for college she decided to beat the heat and attend the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. During her studies she developed a love of science, the sea, and marine life; she graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Outside of the classroom she worked on the university’s student-produced science magazine and helped to maintain and care for the university's aquariums. She also spent time working at a wildlife rehabilitation center which housed a variety of animals, but she enjoyed working with and caring for the birds of prey the most. Jordan also has experience teaching children; she taught photography and videography to kids from New York City at a Fresh Air Fund summer camp. She is excited to continue exploring the overlap of her passions - teaching and marine science - and is thrilled to be doing so with NESS SEA AmeriCorps

Tabitha Jacobs, NESS SEA AmeriCorps Member

Tabitha grew up locally in South Eastern Connecticut and fully submersed herself with beach excursions, marine biology classes and project oceanology camp; which propelled her affinity for the water and desire to learn. She followed her passion and matriculated with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science from the University of Connecticut, where she delved into community stewardship as the President of the UConn Avery Point Eco Husky club and University Ambassador and learned Open Water and Scientific scuba diving. These two paths intertwined and brought her great joy when she shared her underwater scuba experiences with community members watching from the surface. Now, as a NESS SEA AmeriCorps member, she will share her passion and lead marine science, sailing and adventure water sports programs in classrooms and extended learning opportunities with children in the New London School district. She is excited to pass along these amazing marine related educational opportunities, which will help heighten children's self-confidence and build life skills they can use in their community and aspiring futures.

TJ Palmer, NESS SEA AmeriCorps Member

TJ Palmer grew up on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire and developed an affinity for the water at an early age. He spent many summer vacations on New Hampshire's seacoast learning to surf and exploring area beaches. Before attending college he served with ACE, a conservation corps in Santa Cruz, California, eradicating invasive plant species and building and maintaining many popular hiking trails. He also spent time in Mexico where he received his PADI Coral Reef Researcher Diver certification while conducting field surveys of the Mesoamerican barrier reef system. TJ then attended Plymouth State University where he graduated with a BS in meteorology and minor in mathematics. At Plymouth he was also an admissions tour guide, residential advisor and provided forecasts for the athletic department. He is excited for the opportunities the NESS SEA program has to offer, but most importantly to help inspire young people with his enthusiasm for the ocean.

Sarah Princiotta, NESS SEA AmeriCorps Member

Sarah was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up spending summers at the beach in Maine, and has always been amazed by the ocean and its inhabitants. She went to UMass Amherst for a B.S. degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Political Science. Right after graduation she began working as an Educator at the New England Aquarium in Boston. After being with NEAq for three years, she started a very different type of job at the Boston Children’s Museum, working primarily in development with children under the age of 5. Missing the aquatic education world, she found the NESS, and was so fortunate to be offered a position with them through the AmeriCorps program. Outside of work Sarah enjoys improving and testing her sweet baking skills (yes, pun intended). She has been running for the past three years and you will always find her training for some crazy race (4 races in 4 days? Yes please!). If she's not out running she's usually binge-watching sci-fi shows while working on her knitting or cross-stitch with a proper cup o’ tea.

Sara Reedy, NESS SEA AmeriCorps Member

Sara was born and raised in Manassas, VA. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS in Environmental Science and Policy with a concentration in Marine and Coastal Management. During her time at UMD, she worked in an Entomology lab, at the Department of Energy, the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys, and NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration. Sara is a certified SCUBA Open Water Diver. Sara has a huge love for the ocean and marine species, and can’t wait to share her excitement for the water with New London students as a NESS SEA AmeriCorps member!

Kimi Rogers, NESS SEA AmeriCorps Member

Kimi grew up in Seattle, Washington with a love for animals and of being in the water. She swam competitively for 13 years before going to college where she studied zoology and natural resource sciences at Washington State University. While in school she photographed chironomid larvae, studied how changes in the environment affected chicken and zebrafish development, and earned her NAUI Advanced SCUBA certification. During her junior year she studied abroad in Panama where she researched the distribution of several sea anemone species. She has enjoyed teaching various ages of students as a swim instructor, as an Education Intern for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, and as an assistant for her university’s SCUBA classes. She looks forward to the opportunity of serving with NESS and BDJMS as an AmeriCorps member this upcoming year!

Erin Shultz, NESS SEA AmeriCorps Member

Erin grew up in southern Maine but later moved inland, attending high school in Toledo, Ohio and college at Central Michigan University. Upon graduating with her degree in Biology Erin began working at the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky. She was the Overnight Program Supervisor, helping kids of all ages enjoy a fun-filled, educational night under the sharks. After this she worked with the biologist staff learning about and caring for aquatic species including sharks, sea turtles, fish, sea horses, and jellies. Coming to Connecticut as an NESS SEA AmeriCorps Member is a little bit like coming home and Erin is excited to see what this year has in store.

Beth Smith, NESS SEA AmeriCorps Member

Beth grew up in Duanesburg, New York. Her love of the environment stemmed from being a part of the Schoharie River Center's Environmental Study Team in middle and high school. She attended the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine and graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor Degree in Marine Sciences. At UNE she was a research assistant, focusing on the state-threatened spotted turtle and also traveled to the Galapagos Islands. After graduating, Beth was a summer leader at the Coastal Studies for Girls in Freeport, Maine as well as a Marine Education Intern with the University of Georgia's Marine Extension in Savannah, Georgia. She is excited to share this new adventure with students on Connecticut's coast!