Episode 31 – Ollie the Orca

In this first of a three episode series, Amy Buckalew reads her story of Ollie the Orca. The story explores concepts of resilience  and was written as part of a Duke Engage summer program at Duke University Marine Lab.  The program was run by Dr. Liz DeMattia, director of the Community Science Initiative, with the assistance of PhD student Laura Givens, who was the site coordinator for Duke Engage, in 2022.  Following the ‘reading’, Laura interviews Amy on her experiences in the program and the logic of the story.

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Series Hosts

Lauren Givens head shot

Laura Givens is a PhD candidate in Dr. Tom Schultz’s Marine Conservation and Molecular Facility at the Duke Marine Lab. The focus of her research generally takes advantage of advances in genomic technologies to address community response to environmental change. Her current research uses environmental DNA to examine the success of oyster reef restoration and the extent to which introducing aquaculture supplements biodiversity. Laura graduated with a B.S. in Biology from California State University, Sacramento in 2018 and has received the Smithsonian Graduate Student Fellowship. She co-leads the coastal branch of the Scientific Research and Education Network and in her free time enjoys painting and beach walks with her dog. 


Twitter: @LGivens27 

Lauren Givens head shot

Dr. Liz DeMattia is a Research Scientist at the Duke University Marine Lab and the founding director of DUML’s Community Science Initiative. Liz has more than 25 years of experience conducting ecological research and developing environmental outreach for community-based conservation programs. When not working on education and conservation programs, Liz can be found swimming in the ocean, hiking in the forest, or hanging out with her family.



Amy Buckalew, author of ‘Ollie the Orca’

Amy Buckalew photo

Amy is a rising sophomore at Duke University, planning to study Statistical Science and Computer Science with a concentration in Data Science. She hopes to apply her studies to her other interests, which include climate, atmospheric, and marine sciences. Amy was part of the DukeEngage Conservation and Community: Working with Education and Conservation Organizations in Rural, Coastal Communities program for the summer of 2022. Throughout the summer, she worked with Carteret County Public Schools and Coastal Carolina Riverwatch to bring themes of conservation and education to life. While at the marine lab, Amy enjoyed exploring Beaufort, kayaking to the Rachel Carson Reserve, and taking a trip to the Duke Aquafarm to harvest oysters. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music (especially Taylor Swift), dancing, and hiking.

Maggie Murray, illustrator of ‘Ollie the Orca’

Maggie Murray at work

Maggie Murray is a sophomore at East Carteret High School in Carteret County, NC and volunteered to bring the Duke Engage fables to life with her illustrations. The illustrations were completed with water colors and ink pen. When not drawing and painting, Maggie can be found playing her violin, swimming, or listening to true crime podcasts. 

Drawing of Ollie swimming

You can find the illustrated version of the story ‘Ollie the Orca’ here.

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