Meet our Summer Team!

This summer, we are fortunate to have a group of passionate undergraduates working with us. Here’s a little bit more on each of them:

Dylan Antonucci
Senior, majoring in Marine Science

Since I am a marine science major, I am excited to get to know how marine scientists conduct experiments and how they collect data. There is no one particular project I am favoring over the other currently – I am just seeing how I like the work. I like being outside near the ocean and how I am able to work in that environment. I also like to explore new things and I am curious to learn new things as I go along in this field of work.

Evan Childs
Sophomore

I am most excited about the snorkeling we are going to be doing in the Sound. I’m excited to be in the field but also because I get to also help with the research. One of my favorite memories so far this summer is putting reef balls on the Connecticut College waterfront. It was really fun and rewarding! I got to meet new people and the project will have a positive impact on the area itself.

Angelo DeMata
Senior, majoring in Marine Science with a focus in biology

This summer, I’m excited to learn more about the science that is involved in a local area and how the public will interact with this science. I’m also excited to find a better path for what I want to continue studying related to Reserve science. My favorite memory comes from spending a week on a sailboat with a crew of other students sailing through the Long Island Sound. Learning how to sail and work together helped me see a different view of the Sound.

Sadie Garfinkel
Senior, majoring in Biological Sciences with minor in Marine Biology

This summer I am looking forward to completing important research that helps to improve the coastal environment in CT. I am also excited to work for such a new organization like CT NERR and help build it from the ground up alongside the other interns and managers. I think that CT NERR is going to be such an amazing organization for the State of Connecticut and I can’t wait to see how far it goes over the next few years! I was born and raised in CT so I have been going to the Sound my entire life with my family and friends. It has always been a happy place for me and seeing the improvements organizations like “Save the Sound” have made just over my lifetime is truly amazing. My favorite memory would have to be growing up and walking to a small island off of Westbrook during low tide. I used to walk there when I was really little with my dad and look at crabs and snails under rocks and in high school I would go there with friends and jump off the rocks into the water. Now I love to paddle board out there (and still look for crabs too!)

Kieran Garrity
Junior, majoring in Marine Sciences

I’m excited to explore our beautiful sites by helping in research, then taking action to protect them. Our work will directly address issues like erosion, invasive species, and habitat loss, so being able to directly help with those issues is a big plus for me. My favorite experience so far is installing reef balls at the Connecticut College shoreline. Though brutally difficult, the work was extremely fun and rewarding, with an immediate and relevant impact. Even as we were putting more in the water, fish were already checking them out!

Mary Gonzalez
Junior, majoring in Biology

I’m most excited to be able to work on my own research project which observes the population of invasive species, Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides and Botrylloides violaceusin, in eelgrass habitats. Additionally, I’m excited at the prospect of also being able to join the various projects that the Reserve is overseeing. My favorite memory so far is going out into the field and tagging horseshoe crabs on the beach! Coming from Kentucky, there aren’t many opportunities to do fieldwork on the beach or anything related to marine sciences. As a result, this is one of hopefully many more memories that I will have while being at the Reserve!  

Kelly Jiang
Junior, majoring in Marine Science

I’m excited to learn more about scientific work both in the field and in lab this summer! I love learning and creating new experiences! My favorite memory at the Reserve so far was looking for horseshoe crabs around beaches and we only found only one! It was a fun and memorable memory.

Jill Pasquino
Class of 2025, majoring in Marine Sciences

This summer I am looking forward to experiencing fieldwork and developing valuable skills. The project I am most excited about is macrophyte sampling. One of my favorite memories of the Reserve is hiking Bluff Point with friends. The beaches were stunning and I loved seeing all the different habitats on the hike.

Elijah Saine
Junior, majoring in Marine Sciences with a minor in Marine Biology

I’m excited to work as a research assistant with CT NERR this summer and have the ability to be directly involved in so many different fascinating research projects during my time here. My dream is to pursue a career in marine research, and I am so excited to begin my career path by working on such a diverse array of projects with an important organization like the Reserve. My favorite memory at a Reserve site was my first day at the UConn Avery Point campus working for the Reserve. For my first two years at UConn, I attended the main campus at Storrs where I fully committed to following my passion for marine life and decided to major in marine sciences. For me, this meant an inevitable transition to the Avery Point campus for my junior year. When I arrived at Avery Point on my first day working with the Reserve, I was thrilled to see my new campus be such a beautiful place with such a wonderful community. Later that day, I was blown away when I was taken on a campus tour and saw the full scope of the facilities within the Department of Marine Sciences that were unknown to me at Storrs. For the first ever time I truly felt like I was part of something bigger than myself.

Meg Shah
4th year student, majoring in Marine Sciences

I’m excited to sample and survey eelgrass in the field! Not only will I be getting some sun, but I will also experience firsthand what it means to monitor and restore these critical habitats. It’s one thing to crunch numbers and analyze trends behind a computer, but it’s a whole different experience to see the real-world implications of that work. My favorite memory of the Sound comes from when I was in 5th grade and our class went on a field trip to Hammonasset Beach. We overturned rocks to look for crabs and recorded data on their sex, size, and abundance. It was my first “field work” experience in marine science, and I still retain the knowledge on how to tell the difference between male and female crabs.

Celia “Katiebelle” Thompson
Class of 2025, majoring in Environmental Science and English

I am very excited to see the habitats within the Reserve. I’m fascinated by the natural world, and I want to experience it in as pristine a state as possible. I also know that the reserve is home to many threatened species, which I may not have a chance to see anywhere else; I cannot wait to observe them! My favorite memory at a Reserve site so far has definitely been tagging horseshoe crabs with the NERR team. I loved wading through the water and looking for crabs, and I was incredibly excited to actually implant a tag on one. I have never been part of a tagging operation before this, but I know how important the work is, and I am so blessed to have been able to help. I also loved getting to know the other undergraduates and researchers on the team – it was so great to bond with everyone over such an amazing experience.