We are very pleased to welcome our Spring 2021 Marine Conservation Interns to REEF. During the spring semester, they will support the REEF team by assisting with our marine conservation programs and non-profit operations. This semester’s interns bring a unique set of skills and interests to REEF. They include:

Sierra Barkdoll grew up outside of Baltimore, MD, minutes away from the Chesapeake Bay, where she developed a love for nature and aquatic environments. In the spring of 2020, she graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a B.S. in environmental science and geography, a minor in biology, and a GIS certificate. In college, Sierra was involved in sailing and SCUBA diving clubs, which led her to pursue a career in marine conservation. She spent a summer in The Bahamas' North Andros where she studied threats to the critically endangered Bahama Oriole. This became one of the most treasured experiences in Sierra’s undergraduate career, as she loved being able to contribute to the scientific community while helping to protect an endangered species. At REEF, Sierra hopes to develop her conservation skills further and apply them to REEF’s programs.

Mikayla Carrier is studying Biology at Scripps College and plans to graduate in the spring of 2021. She grew up in Michigan and moved to California as a sophomore in high school to attend Thacher, a boarding school, where her love for science prospered. In college, Mikayla became interested in biochemistry and joined a lab to research modified-DNA synthesis. After getting scuba certified, she decided to explore marine science and traveled to the Turks and Caicos to expand her knowledge on marine ecosystems. Through the School for Field Studies, she participanted in projects to assess the abundance of Queen Conch inside and outside a Marine Protected Area, and also completed an independent study on South Caicos’ Nassau Grouper stock health by analyzing historical data. Mikayla is excited to be a part of the REEF team and is looking forward to interacting with the REEF community to help conserve our underwater world! In her free time, she enjoys playing guitar, volunteering with animal shelters, and camping.

Summer Huber grew up in northern Indiana near Lake Michigan. She graduated from Purdue University in December 2020 with a B.S. in biology. While in college, she conducted research on the effects of microplastics on several zooplankton and fish species in the fish ecology lab. She also attended a study abroad trip in Belize where she learned about lionfish collection and dissection, explored ancient Mayan ruins, and engaged in marine conservation projects. Summer is also interested in veterinary medicine and has worked at a veterinary clinic, volunteered at Purdue’s veterinary teaching hospital, and took multiple animal science courses and labs throughout college. In the future, Summer plans to attend graduate school and study marine biology and ecology. She is thankful for the opportunity to intern with REEF, and is ready to advocate for marine life, participate in outreach events, and learn about non-profit organizations.

Mackenzie Kawahara is an aspiring marine biologist from Manhattan Beach, CA. She was raised from a young age to follow the concept of ‘malama aina,’: an ancient Hawaiian philosophy that seeks to understand and respect the relationship between humans and the land and sea. Mackenzie recently graduated from the University of California, Davis with a B.S. in marine and coastal science and a minor in Japanese. While at UC Davis, she was involved in several research laboratories and several marine animal husbandry positions. She has also worked as a children's gymnastics coach since high school. Mackenzie is interested in a career that involves researching how corals respond to and recover from anthropogenic stressors and marine infectious diseases. With REEF, she is excited to expand her diving skills and participate in education and outreach programs to combine her passions for marine biology and teaching.

Our interns are a vital part of REEF and we couldn’t accomplish our work without them. For more information about the Marine Conservation Internship or to apply for an upcoming semester, visit www.REEF.org/internship.