Where are they now? A Spotlight on our Previous Interns: Jade Reinhart!

Every so often, we like to look back at our interns and see how they’re doing after they’ve left Forfar. Today we’ll be following up on Jade Reinhart!

Jade Reinhart

Jade worked at Forfar during our 2017-2018 season. Her hobbies include fitness, longboarding, and volunteer bird banding. She followed her love of marine science after leaving Forfar, and now she lives at Jekyll Island in Georgia working as a Coastal Educator for the University of Georgia.

“I teach a variety of classes in the field,” Jade told us, “but some of my favorites are Maritime Forest Ecology, Herpetology, Beach Ecology, and Environmental Issues! I also have other duties such as animal husbandry, programming, managing, and maintenance - but teaching students how to be conservation stewards is the most rewarding part of my job.”

Previous Intern Jade

Jade says that her time at Forfar got her interested in conservation non-profit management. She hopes to study this in grad school and eventually make it her career. Conservation is a huge part of what we do at Forfar, and we’re so glad we could introduce Jade to this topic!

Jade’s time at Forfar helped her develop different skills that she still uses today. Her work with seagrass and our coral propagation site (which you can read more about here) helped improve her dive skills. She also honed her flexibility and problem solving skills as she led students on field excursions throughout the island. These skills help her teach students about the importance of conservation.

Forfar has left a big impression on Jade. Ever since coming back to the United States, she’s been living a more sustainable lifestyle and encouraging others to do the same. She told us, “I am implementing several sustainable alternatives at my current job - all which I learned at Forfar!”

Enjoy teaching the next generation of marine scientists, Jade!

Where are they now? A Spotlight on our Previous Interns: Erin McGrady!

Today we’re taking the time to reflect on a previous intern, Erin McGrady!

Erin McGrady

Erin worked at Forfar from December 2001 to Spring 2003. At Forfar, she developed a love of teaching that carried on after she left Andros Island.

“I had no idea what I wanted to do when I arrived (at Forfar) but by the time I left, I felt called to teaching,” Erin told us. “After my internship, I went back to school to get my Masters and then taught middle school Physical Education for ten years. I'm no longer teaching but the adventure/eco-tourism aspect is still a big part of my life as a freelance writer and photographer living in a van.” We’re glad that Forfar spurred her interest in education.

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Erin says her time at Forfar gave her professional experience she used in her teaching career afterwards. Forfar taught her how to think on the fly, develop public speaking skills, working with many different people, and more. Erin also created connections to people on Forfar that still last to this day. She told us that the friendships she made were her favorite thing about her internship.

Erin has worked as a middle school PE teacher, a website designer, and a coach after she left Forfar. She still clearly loves adventuring, as she is currently traveling the country in a van with her wife. They run a blog about their adventures and are based out of Asheville, North Carolina. Their blog discusses Asheville and what to do, see, and play there. They also write about the National Parks, which Erin calls “some of our favorite playgrounds.” Right now, Erin and her wife are finishing up an assignment as Nation’s Vacation Ambassadors for Aramak.

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In her free time, Erin likes to surf, stand-up paddleboard, ride bikes, and trail run. She also enjoys finding new ramen restaurants and cool murals, and trying to find the perfect IPA.

We wish Erin many happy trails as she explores the United States! Have fun!

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Where are they now? A Spotlight on Previous Interns - Johnny Rader!

conducting sand dollar RESEARCH on sanibel island

conducting sand dollar RESEARCH on sanibel island

Meet the wonderful Johnny Rader!

Johnny spent two and a half years from 2012 to 2015 at Forfar Field Station! His shared love for the ocean and marine creatures (his favorite are nudibranchs - check it out) made his passion for ocean conservation and education into a career!

Johnny reflected on the practical and boating skills he learned during his time on Andros, but emphasized the importance of the teaching skills he acquired from his experience, and access to visiting professors and educators. 

 

Mist netting on andros island

Mist netting on andros island

Now, as an outdoor marine educator, Johnny shares his love for marine invertebrates and birds with his students! From Forfar to Sanibel Island, he is continuing to teach about ocean conservation to young and bright minds to help protect the planet for them and future generations.

When he is not sharing his love for the ocean with his students at Sanibel Sea School, Johnny loves diving in the Florida Keys and at Blue Heron Bridge. You'll find him with a nudibranch in hand and "a pair of 'binoc' to [his] face."

Way to go, Johnny! As an ambassador for ocean conservation, IFS is so proud to have helped you pursue your passion, keep up the good work!

 

Where are they now? A Spotlight on Previous Interns - Tami LaPilusa!

Today, we are excited to introduce the lovely and accomplished Tami LaPilusa!

Jason Morrison, Tami (Ohlin) LaPilusa, Earl the dog, and Matt LaPilusa (yes, they got married!)

Jason Morrison, Tami (Ohlin) LaPilusa, Earl the dog, and Matt LaPilusa (yes, they got married!)

Tami worked as an intern at Forfar field station from September 1996 to June 1998. Her ties to Forfar and IFS are still strong today.  Tami conducts research which started with her graduate degree and continues in her current faculty position at SUNY Oneonta. Her research emphasizes conservation and sustainable management for crab species in the Bahamas, including the Christmas Island blue crab, Discoplax celeste, and the blue land crab, Cardisoma guanhumi Latreille.

She recently presented her research at the Bahamas Natural History Conference in 2016 and 2018. 

Watch her presentation from 2016 here: Crab Pen Survey & Harvest Analysis of the Land Crab

During her internship at Forfar, Tami emphasized the skills she learned, from flexibility, adaptability, public speaking, SCUBA, watercraft operations & maintenance, to the ability to work collaboratively with others who may not share her views. She fondly recalls her relationship with local community members and the lasting friendships amongst her fellow interns.

Since her internship, Tami has held leadership positions in many organizations including her role as program director for the Boys and Girls Club. She was also the office manager for IFS at the Florida office. Currently, she is on the biology faculty at SUNY Oneonta.

In her free time, she continues to travel to different islands in The Bahamas. Her hobbies include beach exploration, hiking, and camping. 

IFS loves working in collaboration with Tami, and we are excited to share her research with you! Follow the link below to learn more about Tami's work:

Tami LaPilusa, Erratum to: Characterization of microsatellite markers from the commodity species Cardisoma guanhumi Latreille and the Christmas Island blue crab (Discoplax celeste)

Click on the images to scroll through!

 

 

 

Where are they now? A Spotlight on Previous Interns - Dale Kline!

Meet Dale Kline!

Dale lived and worked at Forfar from June 2015 to August 2016. During her time at the field station, she learned more than she expected! 

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"Forfar gave me experience not only in marine bio, but also botany, geology, diving, carpentry, plumbing, car and boat maintenance, trail management, painting, and the invaluable skill of keeping your wits about you when things go pear-shaped. That breadth of knowledge has helped me branch out from my field and make connections others would not. You have to get good at so many things at Forfar that you come out of it with way more experience than you bargained for!"

She credits her experience, from the teaching, the exploration, the team, and the island, and it's role in shaping her as a "cooler, competent, and confident person."

Today, she is the Social Media Manager for the Smithsonian Gardens, an Artist for Trader Joe’s, and a volunteer diver for the Baltimore Aquarium. She still loves diving and hiking and gardening, but has gained a bit of a fearless taste for adventure. 

Thank you Dale!

 

 

Where are they now? A Spotlight on our Previous Interns - Carolyn Belak!

In this week's spotlight, we are catching up with the incredible Carolyn Belak!

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Carolyn lived and worked on Forfar Field Station from April 2014 to January 2016. During her time on Andros Island, Carolyn found her true passion - marine invertebrates! She expressed the importance of field studies for students, saying "My time with students from the middle of the country also taught me the power of experiential learning, something that I'd like to incorporate in any job in the future."

Currently, Carolyn is pursuing her Master's degree at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. Check out her published paper on a queen conch, Lobatus gigas, population in a marine protected area here!

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Before returning to school, Carolyn worked for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and also as a dive instructor at a shop in the Bay Area. She has had the opportunity to volunteer on a number of research trips, studying Nassau grouper and queen conch in the Bahamas, as well as plankton distributions off the coast of California.

Diving is Carolyn's passion! She told us, "I've been lucky enough to have traveled back to the Bahamas for conch work (warm water!) but have loved traversing through the kelp forests in Monterey, San Diego, and the San Juan islands. I also like to explore the local redwoods and other hikes too!"

As she reflected warmly on her time at Forfar, ("Everyday was an adventure!") we can't thank Carolyn enough for her passion and positivity during her Forfar days, and we wish her the best of luck pursuing her degree and living the adventures of life to the fullest! Cheers, Carolyn!