Center Overview

Student Profiles

Jennifer Bagnasco, Distance MS in CZM

Jennifer Bagnasco holding a starfishHi...My name is Jennifer Bagnasco and I'm currently enrolled in the MS in CZMT curriculum. I received my bachelors from Southampton College, L.I.U. and just recently I received my Coastal Studies Graduate Certificate from Nova. Currently I'm now in the Master of Science Coastal Zone Management distance program here at Nova.

I was born and raised on Long Island, New York. I spent close to a year living in Florida with my fiance, Phil (who is from Connecticut), but we found it was not for us. We now live in Oregon and love it here. To be able to go an hour in any direction and either have the coast, the mountains, the desert (that would be more like a few hours), forests or even the city is wonderful.

In my spare time I enjoy kayaking, camping, running, exploring tide pools, arts and crafts, reading and films.

Amy Biedenbach, Distance MS in CZM

Amy holding her childMy name is Amy Biedenbach. I currently live in central Florida and recently moved here from Hawaii where I lived for the last five years. My husband and I have both spent our careers working with marine mammals, and I am now enjoying an indefinite amount of time away to be home with our 8 month old little girl, Emma.

I'm thoroughly enjoying being a stay home mom while I slowly work on this master's degree. My experiences working with and teaching people about marine animals for the last 12 years has led me to this degree. I have always had a strong interest in ocean policy and look forward to continuing at NOVA!

Casey Boleman, Distance MS in CZM

Casey BolemanI grew up in Cocoa Beach surfing and swimming in the ocean everyday. It just made sense that I followed what I love - the ocean - into a career. After finishing my undergrad, I started working at various marine science institutions and camps in the Keys including Seacamp, Newfound Harbor Marine Institute, and Marine Lab.

I found it satisfying spreading my knowledge and infectious love of the sea to others and learning from my experiences leading snorkeling and diving field trips with students of all ages. I've spent a lot of time on the water, and have seen the reefs and estuaries suffering as a result of human impact. I strive to continue learning and educating, and hope for a brighter future for our seas.

Henry Charry, Distance MS in CZM

Henry CharryI was born in New Jersey where I lived in my early childhood. In the late 70’s I moved with my parents to Colombia, South America, where I resided for about 20 years. After earning my Bachelor's degree in Marine Biology in 1999, I had the opportunity to work with a couple of science projects but once they concluded I started moving around from one job to the next one, together with four years of service in the Navy.

Once I started feeling that my career was getting a little rusty I realized that I was missing my profession. I am very grateful to be part of Nova Southeastern University because I am developing my knowledge in Coastal Zone Management, which I consider a globally significant and critical subject in the present and upcoming years. I am currently working as an Oceanographer/Bathymetrist in southern Mississippi and during leisure I enjoy sports, movies, music and chess tournaments.

Jennifer Funk, MS in Environmental Education

Jennifer and her dog at the beachI was born and raised in Ottawa, Illinois, a small farm town near the bustling city of Chicago. Growing up on a farm, I was always outside enjoying the beauty of what was around me. I guess I always knew that I wanted to share my compassion for science and the environment with others. I received my Bachelor's from Eckerd College in 2007 in Environmental Studies/Biology/Marine Science and loved every minute of my undergrad experience.

I spent two years working with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute here in St. Petersburg, which was were I realized that Environmental Education was what I wanted to pursue.

I have worked with the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team for the past two years as part of the Tropicana Field touch tank staff; here I have had the opportunity to share my passion for science with both children and adults. At Tropicana Field, we work as a team to educate and ignite an interest about stingrays as well as encourage further interest in the environment and how to learn more about the essential role we all play in the environment. In my free time I enjoy reading, cooking, fishing, kayaking, and traveling. I am looking forward to completing this program and seeing just where it might take me!

Danielle Furey, Graduate Certificate in Coastal Studies

My name is Danielle Furey and I reside in Southern Florida with my husband Rich and our four children. Originally from Connecticut, I hold a B.A. from Denison University and a J.D. from Syracuse University. For several years, I practiced law in the areas of corporate and commercial finance before deciding to take a sabbatical to live abroad in the Czech Republic and raise my children. I have always felt most at home near the ocean and would like to merge my love of the outdoors with my legal background as I contemplate returning to practice in the field of coastal law.

Kasey Gaylord, MS in Environmental Education

Kasey GaylordOriginally hailing from North Dakota, I attended Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. In 2001, I graduated from Minnesota State University - Moorhead with a B.A. in Biology. Shortly thereafter, I received an internship at Mote Marine Laboratory's Dolphin & Whale/Sea Turtle Hospital, working with a pygmy sperm whale, rough-toothed dolphins and several species of sea turtles (green, loggerhead, & Kemp's ridley).

Following my internship, I became an Apprentice Trainer at Marineland of Florida, working with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, African penguins and California sea lions.

In 2002, I joined the SeaTrek staff at Mote Marine Laboratory as the primary videoconference program presenter and SeaTrek Coordinator where I write and deliver content for our distance learning educational programs. Nova Southeastern's graduate program in Environmental Education has enhanced my knowledge and I apply the lessons learned everyday! Thanks to Jane and the rest of the MS in EE staff for a great experience!!!

Robin Goldberg, Graduate Certificate in Coastal Studies

Robin GoldbergMy name is Robin Goldberg. I was born and raised in New York, and I earned my B.S. in Meteorology from SUNY Brockport. I moved back closer to my home town on Long Island after I earned my degree, and I started working in the field. I have always had a passion for marine sciences (and the related animal life), so I enrolled in the Marine Sciences program at Stony Brook University because it was right around the corner.

I also began volunteering at Atlantis Marine World Aquarium and the Riverhead Foundation, which runs a Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle rescue and rehabilitation. I decided that I definitely wanted to earn my graduate degree in the marine sciences field, so I was thrilled to find the distance program at NOVA. I plan to use my education towards conservation efforts. Other than that, I spend the rest of my free time caring for my three rescued iguanas: Felix, Buddy, and Lily.

Laura Morse, Graduate Certificate in Coastal Studies

Laura Morse on boatHello, my name is Laura Morse. I am a marine mammal field biologist and participate in research projects world wide, including the polar regions. I specialize in marine mammal identification and am heavily involved with photo-identification and marine mammal acoustic studies.

Some of the projects I've participated in are:

Though what I do is interesting and exciting, to really advance professionally, additional skills best obtained thru a structured academic program are necessary. I spend 8-10 months in the "field", most of that at sea which I enjoy, so pursuing a master's degree has not really been an option, until I learned of Nova's program from a colleague taking the distance classes. Fortunately, the high tech age has facilitated improved communication on vessels, and email as well as internet (on some ships) are available, making the Master's program a reality for myself. I joined the distance ed program with Nova in the Spring of 2007 and I will complete coursework for the graduate certificate this semester. I will continue on for a CZMT Master's degree, finishing by 2009 (hopefully!), and am very excited to be back in an academic "environment" albeit electronically!

Rovin Narine, Distance MS in CZM

Rovin Narine in Quito, EcuadorI currently work for a environmental consulting company and I travel from state to state doing environmental assessments on residential and commercial properties. With my travel schedule changing by the minute, to secure a regular in-class schedule is very hard for me.

I love being able to log in to WebCT from the middle of nowhere, complete assignments and interact with my classmates and teachers. This is an informal pic of me taken in Quito, Ecuador during one of Dr. Barry Barker’s class trips. Sorry you can't really make me out, but the view is outstanding.

Ranaldo Smith, MS in Environmental Education

Ronaldo in front of dolphin aquariumMy name is Ranaldo Smith - I'm 27, single, no kids, pets...just bills. I work at a marine mammal facility in the Bahamas called Dolphin Encounters. We are home to 19 dolphins and 6 CA sea lions plus a lot of other marine life that are found naturally in our lagoon.

I presently am the education supervisor in charge of developing, organizing and operating student and outreach programs for my companies' non-profit division. I have an AA in biology from the College of The Bahamas, and a BSC in marine science from Savannah State University. I'm a dive, CPR/first aid instructor as well. Diving with sharks is my passion (still don't know how I ended up at a dolphin facility) but after a few bites and I guess the change in pay is better. I used to personal train as well but decided to stop to make time for my courses. I always said I would never become a teacher as many in my family is (my mom has been teaching for over 35 yrs) and it never appealed to me but I must admit the "high" of the seeing the excitement of a child when they really understand something gets me every time. I'm doing this degree because I want to commit myself to getting better equipped for my present profession and I need a pay raise!!! So if anybody is ever in Nassau Bahamas Holla at me I gat the hook up!

Linda Sutherland, Special Student (undergraduate distance course)

Linda in water with sea lionI have been in promotional work for 20 years and became very involved in a project last year working with marine mammal and marine bird rescue establishments. I realized as I became immersed in the work and with the immense love I had for the animals that this was what I really wanted to do with my life.

I have since taken a class in animal training, completed an internship in California working with sea lions, completed an internship at the Omaha Zoo working with sub-arctic penguins and have extended the internship indefinitely. I am planning to go to California this summer for more education and hands on work with sea lions. I am also going to attempt to make a trip to Alaska and possibly put some time in at The Alaska Sea Life Center. I believe we need to give back to the environment and work to make sure no additional species become extinct. I am at my happiest when I am learning about and working with marine mammals. I am planning on getting my diving certification this spring and look forward to many great experiences and the amazing learning process that I know is in front of me. My hope is to some day work at an aquarium, zoo or facility that rescues marine life.