Meet the Seattle Aquarium camp staff!

2013 Seattle Aquarium Marine Summer Camp Staff

April Troka

April Troka - Camp Coordinator

Born and raised along the beautiful beaches and high up in the mountain ranges in California I always loved the great outdoors. I remember lots of beach walks, camping trips, hikes through the woods, road trips along the coastline on Highway 1 and exploring the backyard for animals and plants with family and friends throughout my younger years. I especially cannot remember a time when I wasn’t captivated by the look and sound of crashing ocean waves and watching the sun go down beyond them. However, it wasn’t until I was a whole 5 years old that I finally learned there were animals who lived beneath the surface of the water I always looked out over. They weren’t just on land? I had to know more! Thanks to Mrs. Gammick my kindergarten teacher she was the first one that taught me about many an ocean animal. After my mom realized my extreme curiosity for the ocean wasn’t just a phase she let me know that jobs related to the oceans and the animals existed too. I was in shock I could get paid to do something I loved. Many people always encouraged my growing passion for the oceans as a kid and I’m more than sure that’s what shaped my desire to inspire kids to follow all their dreams, ocean related or not. I hope you all have a wonderful summer at camp with us!

Shontay Greenway

Shontay Greenway – Lead Instructor

Like many creatures of the desert, Shontay has a fascination with water environments. Originally from Phoenix, AZ, she has spent the last 5 years exploring the Puget Sound's marine life. She is starting her third year working at the Seattle Aquarium, where she has had her hands in various education projects. In 2006, she received her B.S. in Biology from Northern Arizona University.

Sarah Mathisen

Sarah Mathisen – Lead Instructor

Sarah grew up in Seattle and had to move back to the Pacific Northwest after earning a Bachelors in Biology. She's been educating ever since at various museums and programs in Seattle. Fortunately one of her favorite topics is marine biology and the importance of protecting our natural gem, Puget Sound. She's spent a lot of her time at the Seattle Aquarium as a child and also as a Teen Naturalist, and now as an educator. This is her 3rd summer as a summer camp counselor at the Seattle Aquarium and she is excited for a fun-filled summer of geeking out on her favorite subject.

Jenn Whitsett

Jenn Whitsett – Lead Instructor

Hi there! My name is Jenn Whitsett and I am excited to be a Camp Lead Instructor for the 2013 summer camp season! Originally from the Pacific Northwest, I studied Marine Biology at Oregon State University. After a few years conducting research in the field of intertidal ecology, I moved to Seattle and discovered my passion for science education. I have been a Marine Science Educator at the Seattle Aquarium for 8 years and every day still is as fulfilling as the next. I have a deep love for the marine environment and a passion for the Puget Sound ecosystem. As a scientist turned educator I am thrilled with the themes of my camps this year and look forward to meeting the next generation of ocean stewards!

Hank Kim – Camp Counselor

Born and raised in the Emerald City, Hank had recently graduated from University of Washington with degrees in Conservation biology and Drama. Hank has focused his studies on educational conservation, making scientific information accessible and easily understandable to everyone. This passion in education and wild life had lead Hank to be part of the Seattle Aquarium family. Also in the past Hank has also been a camp counselor at Woodland Park Zoo.

Currently Hank has been producing and editing a short video on the Giant Pacific Octopus, which is a follow up video of the one his previous video about Hornbills and Toucans. Search 'Wild Wonders – Identity Crisis' on YouTube and you will see his work. Hank "highly recommends" that you see it.

But what makes Hank unique (or weird) is that he will sing any Disney song at the drop of the hat. Singing song from the classics of Little Mermaid, the recent Tangled, and everything in between. Hank is very excited and he believes that it will be "one dynamite summer!" Also feel free to ask him to sing a song or two.

Ellie Canade

Ellie Canade - Camp Counselor

My name is Ellie Canade and I am a 22-year-old recent graduate of the University of Washington. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago and moved to Seattle for school. While studying in UW's Program on the Environment, I found a love for marine science. I started volunteering at the Seattle Aquarium in the fall of 2012, and I enjoy teaching visitors about local marine life. I have a particular interest in invertebrates and algae and I love to explore tide pools. I have been a camp counselor for four years in a wilderness tripping camp in Wisconsin, and I am excited for my first summer as a Marine Summer Camp counselor at the Seattle Aquarium.

BrieAnn Mulvaney

BrieAnn Mulvaney - Camp Assistant

Hello! I am BrieAnn Mulvaney; the Summer Camp Assistant. Currently, I am studying Elementary Education at Hawaii Pacific University and plan to eventually have a career working with children. I have always had a strong passion for the ocean and marine animals. I started at the Seattle Aquarium as a high school teen volunteer and loved it. This is my third year working with the Aquarium Summer Camps. I am very excited to be back and for everything that is planned for this summer!

Genny Arredondo

Genny Arredondo – Lead Instructor

Genny joined the Seattle Aquarium's education department in November of 2011. She is passionate about working with youth and is excited to be returning as a Camp Lead this summer. When not working at camp, she delivers educational programs for families and school groups at the Aquarium and local beaches. Genny has a degree in Marine Biology from Western Washington University and has organized and implemented marine science programs for many organizations, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Bellingham Marine Life Center, and the YMCA's Camp Orkila. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, gardening, and photography.

Justine Berk

Justine Berk – Lead Instructor

I fell in love with the ocean when I was a kid—hanging out at the beach, visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium, learning about marine mammals, I loved it all. I plastered my room with old calendar pictures of marine wildlife and scenes and stayed up late looking at my favorite ocean book with my brother. This love for the ocean and its inhabitants led me to study marine biology and environmental studies at the University of California Santa Cruz, where I learned to SCUBA dive and surf. I also studied abroad in Australia to learn about the colorful, tropical animals that we don't have on the west coast. I began working at the Seattle Aquarium over 3 years ago while working on a masters degree in museum studies at the University of Washington. I love teaching classes to the school groups that visit, but I particularly love creating fun marine science camps that incorporate animals, field trips, arts and crafts. I am looking forward to an exciting camp season!

Megan Sherman

Megan Sherman – Camp Counselor

My name is Megan Sherman and I am currently working towards my masters degree in science education at the University of Washington. For the first year of this program, I was fortunate to be a field instructor at IslandWood: School in the Woods. At IslandWood, I had the opportunity to lead, teach, and work extensively with 4th, 5th, and 6th graders on interactive, experiential learning experiences outdoors. Additionally, while living on Bainbridge Island, I have also been fortunate to develop and lead programming at the Kids Discovery Science Museum (KiDiMu). I am very excited to lead camps at the Seattle Aquarium this summer! My love for the ocean and all of it's creatures stemmed from many summers spending time at the shore while growing up in New Jersey. This passion was further nurtured at my alma mater--Gettysburg College--where I graduated with a bachelor of science in environmental studies with a marine ecology concentration. I cannot wait to share my passion for marine life with my campers!

Kassandra Leicester

Kassandra Leicester – Camp Counselor

Hello! My name is Kassandra Leicester. I have always loved marine animals, I used to go to the beach as a little kid and look for crabs underneath the rocks. I realized I wanted to be involved in this field when we took a family trip to Sea World and my mom and I went swimming with dolphins. I started at the Aquarium as a high school volunteer in 2010. I also volunteered with Puget Sound: We Love You, a youth campaign geared towards promoting love for the Puget Sound. I am currently working on my Associate degree in Elementary Education at Shoreline Community College and I intend to transfer to the University of Washington. I have worked with the Marine Summer Camps for 2 summers as a volunteer, and I am excited to be back for another amazing summer!

Jean Mernaugh

Jean Mernaugh – Camp Counselor

I was raised in Tacoma and headed north to Seattle where I got my BS in Zoology from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!). After stints driving tour buses in Alaska and giving guided walks for the Forest Service in the rain forest of Quinault, WA, I was a research technologist in a lipid research lab at the UW for t enty years. In the meantime, I started volunteering at the Seattle Aquarium in 1990. I have never grown tired of feeding seals, sea otters and diving birds. For the past four years, I have been working in the Aquarium's education department teaching classes to our youngest learners. It's a great job as well as being very rewarding!