Staff & Alumni
This Year's Staff
Welcome Oceanography Camp for Girls 2022 Campers
Meet the OCG Leaders & Science Mentors
Teresa Greely, PhD – Program Director
Welcome to the USF College of Marine Science (CMS)! I am Teresa, and one of my joy job’s is to direct the Oceanography Camp for Girls each summer. My first OCG was in 1992 when I was a graduate student in the CMS. I graduated twice from USF, as a marine biologist and then as a science educator. My research has been exploring ocean literacy to help understand what people know about, feel about, and would do for the ocean; and, marine ecology research to help understand how fishes are adapted to live where they live in the ocean, and their contribution to global carbon cycling. This amazing career in ocean sciences and education has taken me to many places---aboard an icebreaker in the Southern Ocean to study deep sea fishes, diving in submersibles for jellies, aboard the R/V Atlantis to film hydrothermal vents with Alvin, and sailing aboard the R/V Joides Resolution to collect sediment cores from the deep ocean floor. Each work day I have the privilege of teaching and training college students, teachers, and K-12 students about the ocean, and helping develop teaching, leadship, and communication skills. For fun I listen to music, read, cycle, hike, volunteer, and spend time with family and friends. Every year is filled with new adventures. I look forward to making positive memories with each of you.
Makenzie Kerr, M.S. – OCG Coordinator
Hi campers! My name is Makenzie. I was a camper in 2009 and returned to camp in 2018 as a science mentor. Growing up in Saint Petersburg, FL, I have always loved the ocean and the animals that live there. I graduated from USF’s College of Marine Science with a Master’s degree and my work focuses on DNA barcoding, which allows me to identify fish eggs using their genetic material instead of their physical features. I currently work as an OCG coordinator and as a Lab Manager & Outreach Coordinator at USF. I absolutely love sharing my passion for the ocean with others. My favorite part of OCG is teaching girls about the smallest creatures in the oceans, like plankton, baby fish, and bacteria, and seeing their faces light up when they see something new.
Tiff Raetzel – OCG Fellow
Ahoy campers! My name is Tiff, and I am a master's student at the College of Marine Science! I am originally from Michigan, and I got my bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from the University of Michigan! Go Blue! I am interested in understanding how humans and climate influence the structure and function of marine life. My research areas include fisheries ecology, ecosystem modeling, and sustainable fishing. More specifically, I use computer models to study natural and artificial reefs and how they respond to fishing pressure and harmful algal blooms. This is my second year with OCG, and I am the OCG Fellow this year! My favorite camp memory was the compliment circle on our last day of camp where we go around sharing memories and reflecting on our time at camp! I am very excited to meet y'all and make some fun memories!
Michael Sipes - Science Mentor
Howdy, my name is Mike and I’ve been with OCG for 9 years now. I was born and raised here in Tampa Bay and received my degree in Marine Biology at USFSP. I’m currently a Science Teacher at Chamberlain High School here in Hillsborough County but I still enjoy getting back to my research roots from time to time. Putting my 25+ years of fishing experience to use, most of my past research has focused on studying fish populations here in Tampa Bay. However, in recent years my research has also branched out to include sponges and plankton. I have tons of awesome memories from camp but my favorites are usually fishing on the Research Vessel or my Fish Ecology Lab.
Becky Scott - Science Mentor
Hi campers! 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 growing up in Pennsylvania, 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. My favorite OCG memory is watching campers touch a fish for the first time and realize they love it! I’m looking forward to sharing my passion for the ocean, creating fun learning experiences, and making new memories with you at OCG this summer!
Brooke Loney - Science Mentor
Hey Hey! My name is Brooke Loney. I was a camper in 2011 and immediately fell in love with OCG. I became a Peer Counselor and eventually a Science Mentor, as I am now! I graduated with a B.S. from Florida Gulf Coast University where I majored in Marine Science minored in Geology. While attending FGCU I had the amazing opportunity to travel to South Africa where I studied the ocean life there, including great white sharks. Working with OCG made me realize that not only do I love the ocean, but I also really love teaching! After graduating, I became a middle school science teacher at LCC Day School here in St. Pete. I absolutely love my job! OCG was a life changing experience for me and to this day continues to shape me as a person and as an educator.
Kylee Rullo – Science Mentor
Hi campers! My name is Kylee and I was born and raised on the Gulf Coast of Florida, so I’ve been around the ocean my whole life! I love being out in the field and on the water. I received my undergraduate degree in Marine Biology from Palm Beach Atlantic University and I am currently a Master’s student in Dr. Steve Murawski’s lab at USF’s College of Marine Science. For my thesis, I am studying chemicals in the eye-lenses of yellowfin and blackfin tuna to look at their migration and trophic patterns in the Gulf of Mexico. By studying Gulf fish, I hope to provide relevant research that helps keep fish populations healthy and flourishing. This is my second year as a science mentor at OCG and I’m excited to make new memories this year!
Savanna Finley – Science Mentor
Hello fellow ocean lovers! I grew up on the Panhandle of Florida loving the ocean and always wanting to be a part of something ocean related (I even found a ocean loving husband I married underwater because I love the ocean so much!) Sharks are my main ocean passion since I was little but I especially fell in love with them after I watched my first shark movie (Jaws) at the age of 8. I graduated from UWF in 2019 with my Bachelor’s in Marine Biology, during this time I focused on working with the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station to teach grades 3-8 marine science! I moved in 2020 to Sarasota Fl to start an internship at Mote Marine Lab, naturally a global pandemic cut that short. On a fluke I applied and then pursued my Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction of Science Education at USF. I graduated in 2021 and am now starting the Ph.D. Program for Curriculum and Instruction of Science Education also at USF! I am currently a Marine Science Teacher at Parrish Community High School and loving the experience in the classroom. I can’t wait to get back to my summer camp roots and make some amazing memories with you all!
Alec Timpe – Science Mentor
Hello Campers! My name is Alec Timpe, and I am a biological oceanography PhD Student at the USF College of Marine Science. I have always wanted to be a marine scientist and I am thrilled to be studying here in Florida! In my research, I study how animals respond to changes in temperature and ocean deoxygenation to understand how they will cope with warming oceans. I am also interested in invasive species and study why, where, and how they invade new environments. I hope that my research can help protect aquatic resources and help us sustainably enjoy what the ocean has to offer.
Jessica Van Vaerenbergh – Science Mentor
Hello Campers! My name is Jess and I am a graduate student at the USF's College of Marine Science seeking a Master's degree in Marine Resource Management. I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. I have spent my entire life exploring the ocean and now I am lucky enough to study it every day! I earned my bachelor’s degree in Marine Science from the University of Florida and have studied reef fish populations for many years. Currently, I am interested in how humans are changing the behaviors of reef fish on our local reefs due to fishing pressures. I have a passion for ocean conservation, and I cannot wait to share them with you all! This summer will be my first year at OCG and I am very excited to meet everyone and see all the amazing things you all will be learning! This summer is going to be a blast!
Shannon Riley – Science Mentor
Hi everyone! My name is Shannon Riley and I am a first-time science mentor this year! I just finished my first year of graduate school at USF St. Petersburg, where I am a master’s student in marine science with a concentration in biological oceanography. I grew up in north Idaho, in the inland northwest, and I was introduced to the ocean through family trips. Those inspired my interest in the ocean, so I went to Oregon State University for my undergraduate degrees in marine biology and ocean science. I love looking at different marine animals and understanding where they live and what environmental conditions they prefer. My current research focuses on the distribution and abundance of larval squid and octopus in the Gulf of Mexico, which means I get to look at cute baby squid! I'm looking forward to learning even more about Florida ecosystems, since I'm still fairly new to the area. I'm excited for a fun camp with you all!
Emily Ritz – Science Mentor
I joined the Oceanography Camp for Girls as a camper in 2011 and have been around ever since! I was lucky enough to come back as a Peer Counselor until I graduated from Seminole High School in 2015, then as a Sr. Counselor. I am so excited to now be returning as a Science Mentor! I graduated from Furman University in Greenville, SC with a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Sciences and a minor in Latin American Studies. During my time at Furman I had the opportunity to travel, participating in various levels of research, field studies, and internships on 3 different continents! My favorite OCG memories definitely stem from the enduring friendships camp has given me. In 8th grade I could have never imagined that, as an adult, I would travel to Africa to wrestle Great White sharks with some fellow OCGers, science enthusiasts, and lifelong friends. 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 career in marine science. I have worked as a marine biologist and environmental educator at Clearwater Marine Aquarium and as a technician in the coastal wetlands biogeochemistry lab right next door at the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute! I hope to continue my education on a graduate level soon. Currently I am teaching middle school science at LCC Day School in St. Petersburg. I am looking forward to another great year at OCG!
Ella Hasty – Senior Counselor
Hello everyone! My name is Ella Hasty and I'm super excited to work my first year of OCG. I'm originally from Orlando, and I've been in the Tampa Bay area pursuing my undergraduate degree in Marine Biology for the last couple of years. I'm super interested in deep sea biology and extremophile adaptations. I've loved being around the ocean my whole life growing up in Florida, and being able to study it has only made me love it more. I was a student under Dr. Greely, and this camp is such a wonderful place to learn. I'm so thrilled to make some memories with you all!
Jason Thomas – Senior Counselor
Hi campers! I'm Jason and currently pursuing an Environmental Science and Policy Degree at USF. I absolutely love the Tampa Bay Estuary and spend as much time around it as possible. And, recently I was lucky enough to take Dr. Greely's Introduction to Oceanography course which introduced me to this amazing opportunity with OCG. Here, I look forward to sharing my passion of Florida's nature with young people. We thank you and look forward to meeting you all.