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Current Interns

Lydia Pleasants ANGARI Intern

Lydia Pleasants, Fall 2021

Lydia grew up in upstate New York where she attended the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She graduated in 2020 with a B.S. in Conservation Biology and minors in Marine Science and Environmental Writing. While in school she had the opportunity to circumnavigate the globe with Semester at Sea, assist in research on the queen conch in Belize and learn how to research dive in the Dutch Caribbean while living on a sailing catamaran. After graduating, Lydia began working on boats in Florida, which took her to The Bahamas as a mate on an 85-foot private yacht. At ANGARI, she is excited to utilize her boating skills and background in marine conservation onboard R/V ANGARI as a deckhand. During her internship, she is also supporting the Foundation’s education and community programs. When not working, Lydia is a divemaster who loves traveling, beachcombing and natural history illustration. She plans to pursue graduate school to explore the intersection between fisheries management, marine conservation and ecotourism development.

Erik Phillips, Summer 2017, Summer & Fall 2021

Erik interned with ANGARI Foundation in the summer of 2017 and is back to continue learning and working aboard R/V ANGARI in 2021. Currently, Erik is studying Computer Science and Engineering at home in San Jose, California with hopes of becoming a software engineer. Erik has years of experience working around indigenous wildlife at his family ranch, whether it be herding cattle, working a tractor, or building and clearing small roads and bridges. His many hobbies include recreational scuba diving, model airplanes, target shooting, backpacking and automobile racing. One day, he hopes to complete his private pilots license to build and maintain his own Piper Cub. During his 2017 internship, Erik brought both mechanical and photography experience to ANGARI Foundation, and put his skills to use onboard R/V ANGARI. This year, Erik is taking an active role as a member of the research vessel crew, supporting vessel maintenance, operations and expeditions.

ANGARI Intern Emily Perkovic

Emily Perkovic, Spring, Summer & Fall 2021

Emily completed a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology from the University of Victoria in 2020. During her time at UVIC, she focused on studying kelp forests and marine mammals. Emily has a passion for working with NGOs and helping to bring science to a much broader audience. She has spent the last two years working for Cetus Research & Conservation Society, monitoring vessel-whale interactions in the Salish Sea. Emily realized she had a passion for the ocean after learning how to dive in Florida in high school and is now an avid cold water diver. During her internship with ANGARI, Emily will be working on contributing content to our social media pages, writing blog entries and assisting with virtual outreach events and virtual classroom visits.

Past Interns

ANGARI Intern Nik Varley

Nik Varley, Spring & Summer 2021

Nik graduated from the University of Chicago, where he studied English and Environmental Studies. During undergrad, he worked as a research assistant at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, measuring the effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs in Eastern Panama. Since graduating, Nik completed a yearlong internship with Coral Restoration Foundation, working to propagate and outplant endangered coral species in the Florida Keys. He also held positions at a political communications firm, public radio station and non-profit record label. Nik has been diving since 2014 and holds a PADI Rescue certification. He is interested in the ways people and marine life are interdependent and how ocean education can create stronger coastal communities. During his internship, he supported ANGARI’s public outreach program and spread ocean awareness in Florida and beyond.

ANGARI Intern Anna Perruzza

Anna Perruzza, Spring 2021

Anna is pursuing a B.S. in Marine Biology at Florida International University. She grew up on Long Island, NY, where she would spend her time observing and photographing coastal ecosystems. In 2020, Anna completed an internship with the Peconic Estuary Program and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. That led to her virtual presentation of her data on the Peconic alewife migration at the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting. Anna has a passion for education after working for three years as a teacher’s assistant and working with multiple ages. She has decided to combine her love for education and her obsession with coastal ecosystems and marine life. Anna believes that only through community outreach can we implement real change. When she is not studying or working, Anna enjoys wildlife photography, taking care of her garden and trying new recipes.

Kate Piacenza, Summer 2020

Kate is a rising senior at Hamilton College pursuing a B.A. in Psychology with minors in Communications and Education. Through her coursework at Hamilton and past internships, she has been able to learn about social media and digital marketing. At ANGARI, she took a deep dive into the Foundation’s brand, social media and engagement strategies. During her internship, Kate learned Sprout Social software and high level analytics and developed on-brand best practices for social media content.

Rishabh Reddy, Summer 2020

Rishabh is pursuing a B.S. in Business Administration at the NYU Stern School of Business with concentrations in Finance and Entrepreneurship. He has attended a variety of speaker series concerning environmentally-driven foundations and their business operations. Rishabh has held internships in the past dealing with budget outlooks and other financial evaluations. He also writes articles for his financial blog, He interned at ANGARI with a wish to gain more insight into the dynamic between private donors and partners, communities, and other business metrics. During his internship, Rishabh built a forecast model to project current and future year revenues and expenses. He also analyzed the potential effects of COVID-19 on nonprofit revenues like donations and grants.

Jake Weinberger, Fall 2019

Jake earned a B.S. degree in Zoology and Conservation Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and  a M.P.S. degree in Marine Conservation at the University of Miami – Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. During his internship with ANGARI Foundation, Jake completed two film projects from inception to completion and also helped with editing a fundraising video for Giving Tuesday. Jake participated in two outreach events where he helped write social media content and was responsible for photography and creating Instagram stories during the event. He also assisted with an educational school visit to share coral reef science with students.

Jessica Elliott, Fall 2019

Jess received her Bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in Biology from Western Carolina University in 2019, and completed an internship with ANGARI Foundation during her first semester as a Masters student at the University of Miami. Jess helped prepare for and execute the Lagoon Drift citizen science experiment in November 2019 and assisted with creating social media posts and promotional materials during her 3 month internship.

Cammey Rich, Summer 2019

Cammey is from Indianapolis, Indiana and is currently pursuing a degree in Marine Biology with an anticipated minor in Political Science at the University of Southern Mississippi. While at school, she volunteers as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Nicole Phillips’ shark and ray genetics lab, specifically working on sawfish conservation by networking and collecting dry samples from sawfish rostra.

During her time with ANGARI, Cammey learned more about her interest in science communication through assisting with digital and social media projects and furthered her passion for marine science outreach by attending events alongside the Foundation. One future goal she hopes to achieve is creating a better understanding of ocean science and science literacy for policymakers and the public.

Sarah Taylor, Fall 2017

Sarah has had a passion for science from a young age, growing up on the shores of the Gulf Coast. This continued long enough for her to want to study marine biology in college. While earning her B.S. degree from Millersville University of Pennsylvania, volunteering her time at a local museum led her to discover another passion: helping others, especially kids, become as fascinated by science as she was. In 2016 this led her to accept a position in Connecticut doing just that as an informal after-school and summer camp educator teaching kids about water sports and marine science. It also led her to ANGARI Foundation in the fall of 2017 where she aided in science education and outreach in hopes of inspiring a love for science in others. When not helping others learn about the ocean, she enjoys being out on the water doing water sports like sailing and kayaking, board games, bird watching, and snuggling up with her cat for a good movie.

Savannah Benes, Fall 2017

Savannah graduated from the University of Southern California in 2017 with a degree in Environmental Studies and a passion for being in the water! Originally from San Diego, Savannah loves spontaneous adventure, and has enjoyed traveling through East Africa, the Southwest Pacific, and across the Southern U.S. She came to Florida in 2017 to work as ANGARI’s social media and marketing intern, allowing her to combine her passions for marine life and photography. In her free time Savannah enjoys making documentaries, paranormal investigation, bartending, and working towards her Divemaster certification.

Benjamin Grossman, Summer 2017

Ben Grossman interned with ANGARI Foundation in Summer 2017. He recently graduated from Germantown Academy High School in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, and will be attending the University of Rhode Island this fall with plans to major in business management and entrepreneurship. Over the years Ben has developed a love for film and his internship project at ANGARI Foundation was to film and edit interviews of ANGARI’s Educator Council members and collaborating scientists to share with the public.

Shannon Stainken, Spring 2017

During her internship, Shannon Stainken assisted with science communications and community outreach at ANGARI Foundation. Shannon graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelors degree in marine biology and a minor in chemistry. She recently acquired a Masters of Professional Science in marine conservation from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. She enjoyed working for ANGARI because it allowed her to pursue her passion of engaging students in hands on marine science education and connecting the public to scientists.

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