Current AAUS/OWUSS Interns
2021 Lee H. Somers Scientific Diving Intern
University of California, Davis
As a child, Amanda used to take walks around her neighborhood with her dad and composition notebook, jotting down every life form she saw. After filling it with terrible sketches of fungi, newts, and redwoods, she had unwittingly signed herself up for a lifetime of environmental science.
Amanda grew up by the water in California. Spending most of her time in the ocean, she has developed an insatiable fascination with the marine realm and proceeded to earn degrees in Ecology, Conservation, and Biodiversity and Oceanography from the University of California, Davis. Amanda is thrilled to be the 2020 Our World Underwater Scholarship Society Dr. Lee H. Somers Scientific Diving Intern with AAUS where she will be able pursue her two passions: science and the sea.
As an avid diver, she loves swimming amongst vibrant and diverse coral reefs. Hence, she wants to dedicate her life to researching, restoring, and conserving coral reef systems. Her specific interests are in the microbiomes of corals and how they differ between vulnerable corals and corals that seem to have some resilience to threats like disease and climate change.
Amanda is excited to contribute to science and society like many scientists before her by researching, restoring, and conserving our beautiful marine ecosystems through this AAUS internship.
Florida Gulf Coast University will host this year’s Somer intern. Amanda will be working with Callaway Johnson and will receive her AAUS science diver certification along with hands-on experience on several on-going research projects.
2021 Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Intern
University of North Carolina, Wilmington
Krista Laforest, 23, is from Quincy, MA. Certified in 2014, she attributes her love of diving to her time as the 2017 Boston Sea Rovers’ Intern, in which she worked with underwater photographers, aquarists, and marine scientists. Through the support of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, she was completed her PADI Divemaster course while earning her AAUS Scientific Diver credentials. During her time at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, she interned with the New England Aquarium, researched sea otter foraging ecology in Alaska, and was the SCUBA Club President. She recently published research from her honors thesis examining the ontogenetic shifts in brain size in the Atlantic sharpnose shark.
After graduating with a Bachelors in Marine Biology and Psychology, Krista combined her passion for diving and marine conservation by interning with the Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo. She outplanted hundreds of corals, monitored them to determine survivorship and growth, and treated fragments for Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. During the summer, she was responsible for managing coral spawning, comparing data between a restoration site and their in-situ nursery, as well as collecting gamete bundles for cryopreservation.
Krista has continued diving as a volunteer at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. She is honored to return to research diving as the AAUS Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Intern. She is elated about the opportunity to conduct research on the relationship between parrotfish and algae on the reefs of Bonaire and collaborate with members of the McCoy lab at Florida State University!