mmes

College of Science & Mathematics
Master of Science in Marine & Environmental Science

Welcome 2020 Cohort!

Current Students-2019 Cohort

Previous Cohorts - Current Students

  • Manouchehr Afshar - I hail from the west coast, where I have spent years working with Marine biology in the field and in academia. I received my bachelors of science from Oregon State University in 2015. I have worked with the National Park Service in St. Croix as an intern for the Buck Island Sea Turtle Research Program, and am continuing to work with NPS on my Master's thesis focusing on sea turtle nesting habitat on Buck Island, St. Croix, USVI. 
  • Brad Arrington - Hi I’m Brad Arrington! I grew up in Minnesota and got my undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota in Scientific and Technical Communications. My interest in marine biology arose when I first got certified to scuba dive in Mexico at 13 years old. I’ve loved diving ever since and decided that with Climate Change impacting the reefs I should do more than just complain in Minneapolis, so I joined the MMES program to make positive impacts on the environment (and escape Minnesota winters!). I will be looking at how coral recruitment is affected by sponges and macroalgae with Dr. Marilyn Brandt. Contact: 
    bradley.arrington@students.uvi.edu
  • Hema Balkaran - Hema was born on the island of Trinidad, where she completed high school and then moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands. She achieved a B. S. degree in Biology at the University of the Virgin Islands in 2012. During her undergraduate, she was a MBRS-RISE scholar which granted her many research opportunities. She travelled to several universities, where she conducted research mostly in the genetic field. Hema has also conducted research at UVI, most of which was done with Dr. Alice Stanford, where she looked at the allele variation in a number of differing banana varieties.  After graduating from UVI, she was positioned as a research analyst for Geographic Consulting, where she worked with Brian Daley on St. Croix on studying the growth of native trees on a variety of soil types. She’s now a graduate student at UVI obtaining a masters’ degree in marine and environmental science. Her research includes looking at the genetic population of the velvety free-tailed bat, Molossus molossus, among St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John for conservation of their species. She love animals and believes that they are so awesome!!!
  • Carolyn Courtien - After working in New York Real Estate for a number of years, I am now pursuing a Masters in Marine and Environmental Science. I love so many aspects of the field that it is going to be very difficult to narrow things down for study, and I am so excited to continue this journey with the University of the Virgin Islands! 
  • Olivia Diana - Good Day! My name is Olivia Diana. I am originally from Massachusetts but finished my undergrad at Virginia Wesleyan University with a B.S. in Biology. Three months later I moved to Saint Thomas, USVI to pursue my masters and work with Dr. Cruz Rivera on comparing beaches for microplastic density depending on the sargassum density. I completed research on using death assemblages as indications of environmental recovery and presented the work at the International Crustacean Conference 9 (ICC9) in May 2018. I decided to study in the Virgin Islands after study away trips to both Belize and Costa Rica taught me about the ecological importance of protecting the tropical coasts. Contact: olivia.diana@students.uvi.edu
  • Antonio Farchette - I'm a born and raised Virgin Islander which played a large role in interests in the ocean due to growing up on the beaches. I received my Bachelor of Science from the University of the Virgin Islands in Marine Biology and began focusing on coastal ecosystems, specifically seagrasses. I have done work with both our native seagrasses, and the Indo-Pacific invasive seagrass Halophila stipulacea. I am interested in seeing how these species interact with one another and the management implications.
  • Kristine Funk - Starting fall of 2017, I have been playing dual roles as a student in the Master of Marine and Environmental Science program and a working professional at Coral World Ocean Park. I have worked at Coral World for over eight years and am currently the Assistant Curator of Marine Mammals and Birds. I am excited to bring marine mammal research to Coral World and share what we are learning with our visiting guests. My thesis research will involve training the sea lions to tell us when they hear changes in the volume of alternating sounds. This will allow us to determine what the minimum difference between the two sounds is before the sea lions can no longer detect the difference. This is called their difference threshold. Since there is currently no information available about how well South American sea lions can hear, this research will fill an important gap in our knowledge about an important biological function for this species.
  • Courtney Gomez - I am a native of Colorado and absolutely loved growing up here. I received my bachelor's degree in Accounting in 2012 and always knew I wanted to return to graduate school so after a few life events that pushed me in that direction, I'm here. I am in the MMES program to work on my masters in marine science as the ocean has always been my love. I just received my certification for scuba diving and I can’t wait to go diving around St. Thomas! I spend a lot of time with kids doing anything we can outside. I'm very excited to be a part of the University of the Virgin Islands community and look forward to meeting everyone! Contact: courtney.gomez@students.uvi.edu
  • Dan Mele - Dan grew up in Maryland, outside of Washington D.C. He holds two undergraduate degrees, one in film production and the other in biology. His love for the ocean, led Dan to focus his studies on coral reefs where he eventually became enthralled with coral restoration. Upon finishing his biology degree, Dan spent two years working at the Mote Marine Laboratory, where he learned microfragmenting techniques for restoring coral reefs in the Florida Keys. Currently Dan is a graduate student at the University of the Virgin Islands, where he’s working to build off his prior knowledge in coral restoration. Contact: daniel.mele@students.uvi.edu
  • Jessica Michael - From the mountains of Virginia, I received my BS in Biology from Hollins University where I participated in multiple research trips to St. John, USVI to study tropical fish and coral reef ecosystems. I fell in love with marine science and have continued to pursue it. I spent a summer working for US Fish and Wildlife in Georgia with nesting sea turtles. This past summer, I worked with Sail Caribbean teaching marine biology and sailing around the BVI. For my thesis, I am going to be working with Dr. Jobsis to do a study of sea turtle densities across the USVI and BVI. Contact: jessica.michael@students.uvi.edu
  • Martha Raymore - I graduated from University of Washington with a Bachelors degree in environmental science and minor in marine biology. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest  the natural world and environment has been a staple of my daily life and I'm super excited to branch out into more tropical ecology. I have studied different types of plant animal dynamics within changing environmental climates and with increased urbanization, although here at UVI I am looking at waste culture and behavior for my thesis.  I have had a long career working as a licensed veterinary technician and always find that animals play an important part of my daily life and I even work part time at the humane society here on the island.  In my free time I enjoy jogging, SCUBA, singing, and hanging out with my dog Morgan.
  • Kaliegh Schlender - I was born and raised in York, Nebraska, a small agriculture community with little exposure to the ocean. My passion for the marine biology began when I first visited the ocean in second grade, and although I originally pursued psychology, I could not ignore my drive to pursue marine science.  I received my Bachelor of Science in psychology with two minors, one in family studies and one in biology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and I spent the last part of my undergraduate program studying marine biology in the USVI and the UK.  During my master’s program I will be studying invertebrates, particularly jellyfish. Contact: kaliegh.schlender@students.uvi.edu