Current AAUS/OWUSS Interns

2019 Lee H. Somers Scientific Diving Intern

Kyra Cippola
Drew University

Kyra Jean Cipolla, 22, is currently a senior at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, pursuing a double major in Environmental Science & Sustainability (ESS) and Italian Studies. Upon obtaining her bachelor’s degree in May 2019, Kyra is eager to begin research and underwater exploration as the 2019 Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society Dr. Lee H. Somers Scientific Diving Intern with AAUS.

Kyra, from New Jersey, has long been passionate about and holds a great appreciation for extremely biodiverse ecosystems, especially coral reefs. That is why her career goal is to conduct research focused on tropical coral reef ecology. She believes an effective marine scientist is developed not only by studying literature and researching within a lab, but also by literally diving deeper with hands-on approaches to oceanographic research in order to explore the unknown gaps in our knowledge of marine systems. Expanding knowledge of dynamics within coral reef ecology through continuous, worthwhile research is crucial both for humanity and for the large numbers of marine species that rely on reefs.

The overarching theme of her research interests involves the adaptations of organisms within coastal ecosystems, with an emphasis on the resiliency and recovery of coral in response to environmental stressors (particularly ocean acidification and increased sea surface temperature). She considers expanding knowledge and awareness for vulnerable ecosystems vital for conservation and is fortunate to effectively do so with the AAUS Scientific Diver certification through the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories will host this year’s Somer intern. Kyra will be working with Diana Steller and will receive her AAUS science diver certification along with hands-on experience on several on-going research projects.



2019 Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Intern

Liza Hasan
University of  Colorado, Boulder

Liza Hasan, 22, is from Park Ridge, IL. She will be graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in May, 2019 with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. During her time at the University of Colorado, she has had the opportunity to conduct research on alpine plant ecology, prairie dog spatial dynamics, and greenback cutthroat trout restoration.

Liza has always loved being around water and was first able to explore the underwater world in 2011 when she was certified as an Open Water Diver. Despite going to college in a land-locked state, Liza has found ways to make it back to the ocean. During the Fall 2017 semester, she studied abroad at the CIEE Research Station Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean. She took courses in coral reef ecology, marine conservation, and had the opportunity to conduct an independent research project on the impact of community structure on the branchial crown area of feather duster worms. While on Bonaire, Liza also earned her Advanced Adventure, Rescue Diver, and AAUS Scientific Diver certifications.

Liza has continued to dive in Colorado as a volunteer diver at the Denver Downtown Aquarium. She is excited and honored to return to research diving this summer as the AAUS Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Intern. She is thrilled about the opportunity to continue expanding her marine research experience and learn from the members of her research team.

University of Alaska will host this year’s Mitchell intern. Liza will be working with Brenda Konar on examining how watersheds with different amounts of glacial cover impact coastal communities.