When diverse experiences are brought together and amplified, they become a movement, a force for change. You are invited to be a part of this movement and join the conversation, as we share and learn together about the importance of listening, understanding, and amplifying the voices and experiences of equity-deserving groups in marine conservation.

This webinar is part of a series of educational opportunities focused on supporting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in marine conservation throughout the REEF Oceans for All initiative. Check out our Oceans for All page for more information. 

Meet the Panelists

Leslie Nguyen (she/her)
Animal Care Specialist at Aquarium of the Pacific, Creator of Oceans for All Webinar

Leslie received her degree in marine biology from San Jose State University and now works as an Animal Care Specialist at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA. She is part of a team that works on the daily health care and training of marine mammals and birds, but also assists in caring for various reptiles and amphibians. In addition to husbandry, Leslie takes pride in being an active advocate for diversity in marine science by supporting and promoting minority let organizations and events within the field. Further in her career, she hopes to be able to provide direct mentorship and support for early career minorities in marine science. 

Allison Payne (she/her)
Ph.D student at the University of California, Santa Cruz

Allison is a Ph.D student in the Beltran Lab at UC Santa Cruz, where she does field research focused on elephant seals and ocean acoustics. On her path to her Ph.D., Allison worked as a whale watching naturalist (earning her captain's license) and as a research associate for The Marine Mammal Center, before studying humpback whale entanglement in fishing gear for her Master's degree at San Francisco State University. She is the Program Coordinator for FieldFutures, an organization that promotes safety for marginalized field scientists, as well as an instructor and mentor for undergraduate students interested in marine science. This spring, she is leading a seminar course for UCSC students called Queer Ecologies focused on the diversity of nature and the ways the dominant culture informs and limits the scientific investigation. 


Andrea Williams (she/her)
Vice President of National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS) and SCUBA instructor

Andrea is a huge advocate for introducing children to the world of diving at a young age. While Andrea has been familiar with diving since she was young, she recognized that most children, especially children of color, are not exposed to the sport and do not realize the career paths available within scuba diving. During school programs, Andrea uses her own experiences diving around the world to inspire curiosity for the scuba field. The main goal of these programs is to diversify the field, and while Williams is certainly doing her part, she knows that there is still work to do that will require grants, scholarships and sponsorships.

Chunnie Wright (she/her)
REEF Board of Trustee Member, Owner of Chun T. Wright Law Firm

Chunnie is the owner of the Law Office of Chun T. Wright, a Washington, DC-based boutique law firm, which focuses on intellectual property (trademark and copyright), emerging technologies, and adventure travel law. Chunnie has been a litigator at major law firms in the San Francisco Bay Area, a federal prosecutor in Washington, DC, and vice president of anti-piracy legal affairs at a DC-based trade association. Chunnie has been a REEF member since 2008. She also serves on other boards that focus on conservation, nature, and adventure travel. Chunnie received her BBA from the University of Texas at Austin and her JD from the University of California Berkeley School of Law. She is an avid diver and traveler.

Rosemary Ciotti (she/her)
Co-Founder of Barrier Free Divers

Rosemary co-founded the only Marine Science and Adaptive Scuba Camp for children with disabilities, held every summer in Key Largo, Florida. Earlier in her life, Rosemary experienced an MS-like inflammatory disease that left her with quadriplegic-like symptoms. She then moved to Virginia and refocused her life on advocating for the rights of those with disabilities by founding Accessible Living, INC in 1999. Through her advocacy, she became chair of the Arlington County Disability Advisory Committee. In 2013, she was able to reengage with sport thanks to Diveheart SCUBA, and in 2019 she was a DEMA Wave Maker Award nominee. Every day, Rosemary continues to fight for the rights of disabled people all over the world.