This Year’s Staff

2019 Science Mentors & Senior Counselors

Becky Scott

My name is Becky Scott and I’m a PhD student at the College of Marine Science. I’ve been interested in the ocean and marine biology since I was a little kid, and so decided to make a career out of it! I received my undergraduate degree in Marine Biology from the University of Rhode Island and my master’s degree in Biology from Georgia Southern University. My specific areas of interest are fisheries biology, ecosystem modeling, and sustainable fishing practices, and for my research at CMS I’m studying food web connections between the deep sea and large predators such as tuna and swordfish.



Carey Schafer

My name is Carey Schafer and I am a master’s student at the College of Marine Science where I study geological oceanography. When people hear geology – they don’t normally get excited, but that’s all going to change this summer! I’m excited to show you a little bit about my own research on carbon cycling in mangroves in southern Florida and even more about the wonderful world of marine geology.



Emily Ritz

After joining the Oceanography Camp for Girls as a camper in 2011, I was lucky enough to return as a Peer Counselor until I graduated from Seminole High School in 2015. I am so excited to now be returning for my third year as a Senior Counselor! I am a recent graduate of Furman University where I earned a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Sciences. During my time at Furman I was given the opportunity to travel to 8 different countries participating in various levels of research, field studies, and internships. When I’m not traveling, I enjoy spending long days on the boat, petting every dog I come into contact with, and going to as many concerts as possible. My experiences with OCG have continuously fostered my curiosity and sense of adventure which has driven me to pursue a graduate degree in marine biogeochemistry in the near future.


Jess Caggiano

I’m a doctoral student just finishing up my first year at the College of Marine science where I study physical oceanography. My dissertation is focused on turbulence in the Southern Ocean and will help scientists quantify and predict small scale ocean interactions. I grew up in Hernando County and completed my undergraduate degree in Pure Mathematics at the University of South Florida. I’ve been lucky enough to be near the water all of my life, and I’m excited to share my love for the ocean with you!



Juan Millan

I am a Colombian marine biologist with a master’s from the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida. Currently I am pursing my PhD in Chemical Oceanography at the same College. I have worked with several things throughout my career, from octopus’ behavior, fish identification, recreational diving, tuna fishing boats, climate change education among other science and non-science related things. At this moment, my research interest is divided between ocean acidification and CO2 system, specifically, how organic compounds affect the chemistry that controls this system in coastal areas. I have worked with OCG in the past. I enjoyed that time so much that I am coming back. I feel super exited for participating in this year’s camp and share with you some of my experiences and the science I do.


Kyle Amergian

My name is Kyle. I am currently a master’s student studying biological oceanography. My research is on benthic foraminifera (microscopic shelled protists) in the Springs Coast of Florida. I am researching how their assemblages may be changing during a time of increased ocean acidification. My passion lies in marine science education and outreach. During my free time I love to garden, go camping, paint, and play with my dog and chickens.



Lore Ayoub

I grew up New Jersey and Pennsylvania, spending my summers in lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. This and my parent’s passion for nature all worked together to inspire me to study biology (BS) environmental science (MS) and marine science (PhD). My graduate research dealt with the chemical bio-optical interactions in lakes and coral reefs of the Florida Keys. I also did a postdoc in determining sources of plant-derived UVR protective materials to the Florida Keys and was sea-going research assistant for research cruises with USF in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. I taught OCG in 2016 and look forward to coming back this summer! In my free time I also teach pilates, do ballet, play with my pets, go to the beach, and help out at my friends’ bakery.



Michael Sipes

Howdy, my name is Michael Sipes. The ocean’s mysteries and beauty has always amazed and inspired me throughout my life and eventually led me to obtain my bachelor’s degree at the USFSP. Although I admire and find all marine life amazing, my passion and specialty is fish.  Putting my 20+ years of local fishing experience to use, my past research has focused on tagging and studying Snapper to gain insight on their population dynamics, growth, and CPUE here in Tampa Bay. I enjoy helping and teaching others about my passion for the ocean.



Ryan Simonson

I am a 2002 graduate from the United States Military Academy with a degree in environmental science. Following a 13 year career in the U.S. Army, I transitioned into a civilian role as a middle school teacher, at Sarasota Military Academy Prep. However, I wanted to involve my love of marine sciences into the classroom more, and that wasn’t an option at my current school, so after three years of middle school I applied to and was accepted to both a teaching position at Riverview High School and the graduate program at CMS. I taught biology and physical science for Riverview while waiting for my CMS cohort to form and as soon as we were ready, I took a temporary hiatus from teaching to once again become a student. I am currently in my second year at CMS.



Savannah Hartman

My name is Savannah Hartman, and I am a second-year biological oceanography Ph.D. student in Dr. Frank Muller-Karger’s Institute of Marine Remote Sensing Lab (IMaRS). I grew up in the mountains of Virginia. I attended the University of Virginia for my undergrad and received my bachelor’s degree in biology and anthropology. My research consists of using satellite imagery and temperature loggers in sandy beach and rocky shore areas across the Americas to determine if changes in marine biodiversity are occurring and what is causing those changes. Outside of my research, I love to spend time with my dog and fiancé, explore new parts of St. Pete …. and watch UVa basketball. Go Hoos!