Episode 43 – The Aspiring Environmentalist’s Toolkit: Creativity, Resilience, Community, Hope

The Duke University Marine Lab is home to second year students in the coastal and marine systems (CAMS) concentration of a Masters of Environmental Management (MEM) degree. During the fall of their first year when they are based on main campus in Durham, CAMS students visit the marine lab for a weekend to meet faculty, staff, and students and to see a bit of Beaufort. The Seas the Day team took the opportunity in fall of 2022 to ask students about their motivations and interests in a career as an environmental professional. In this episode, Jake Whisler weaves together their stories of inspiration, motivation, hope, and community.  Featuring: Maeve Arthur, Allison Barbaro, Isaac Benaka, Katrina Bernaus, Taylor Coleman, Laura Exar, Aileen Lavelle, Hugh Cipparone, Hayden Dubniczki, Jasmine Papas, Stephanie Pipas, and Amanda Sajewski.


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Andie being interviewed at oyster roast"
Group of 6 students at oyster roast"
Crowd at Oyster roast"
students shucking oysters"


Jake Whisler

Jake is a first-year Coastal and Marine Systems Master’s student at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. He originally graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in wildlife conservation. Jake also participated in an internship in Santa Cruz, California where he compiled and analyzed bioacoustic experiment footage and worked with rescue seal and sea lion cognition research. He is currently seeking ways to integrate his passion for art and media with his fascination with the environment.

Interviewees (alphabetical order)

Maeve Arthur is from Brunswick, Maine. Maeve is interested in coastal resilience and adaptation and aquaculture development, and loves to cook.

Ally Barbaro grew up on Long Island and lived in Washington, DC for 7 years before moving to NC for graduate school. She is interested in all things marine ecology, coastal resilience, and high-seas conservation. She loves women’s soccer and attended the World Cup this past August.

Isaac Benaka, from Washington, DC, conducts research in the Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab, focusing on the geomorphology and monitoring of coastal environments using drones. Before coming to Duke, he worked for NOAA Fisheries, along with non-profits such as the Rock Creek Conservancy and the Barnstable Clean Water Coalition. He enjoys DJing and cooking when he’s not doing research.

Katrina Bernaus is a second-year Master of Environmental Management student from Philadelphia, PA. She studies small-scale and indigenous fisheries and is interested in learning from the people reliant on fishery livelihoods. She enjoys living close to the ocean while studying at the marine lab and makes time for surfing and long walks on the beach.

Hugh Cipparone grew up in Old Lyme, CT at the mouth of the Connecticut River. He is fascinated by the complex relationships between people and the ocean ecosystems they rely on. He currently supports fisheries business development as the Fishery Finance and Policy Analyst for the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance – the largest organization of commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico – and is an musician and aspiring backpacker.

Taylor Coleman is from Indian Trail, North Carolina. Her master’s project is focused on noise as a stressor on North Atlantic right whales in Cape Cod Bay, and she is interested in the field of bioacoustics for directing conservation efforts for cetaceans. In her free time, she is an avid runner, soccer player, surfer, and book worm.

Instagram: @_taylor.coleman_

Twitter (X): @_TaylorColeman_

Hayden Dubniczki is from central Pennsylvania, but she has lived in multiple places with her family over the years, including Shanghai, China and Austin, Texas. She studies the beneficial ownership of fishing vessels and is interested in the non-traditional policy levers associated with that knowledge. She enjoys road trips and is planning a trip to the western U.S. after graduation.

Instagram: @hdubnic

Laura Exar

Aileen Lavelle grew up near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and first fell in love with the south New Jersey coast, spending summers there with family. She studies sea turtle movement ecology and conservation. She enjoys combing the beach for sea shells and listening to true-crime podcasts.

Instagram: @conservationbean

Jasmine Papas

Stephanie Pipas

Amanda (Andie) Sajewski is from Long Island, New York. While enjoying warm North Carolina she is studying marine policy and factors affecting sea turtle bycatch. She hopes to work in small scale fisheries after graduating. The beach is her happy place, although she loves exploring all sorts of new places too.

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