Left to Right Back row: Ensign Justin Blancher, Ensign Gregory Friedman, Ensign Trevor Grams, Ensign Kyle Vincent, Ensign John Atnip, Ensign Cassidy Ring, Ensign Logan Dodson. Left to Right Front row: Lt. Pete Gleichauf, Ensign Emma Strong, Ensign Carly Robbins, Ensign Josephine Moore, Ensign Ariane Huddleston, Cmdr. Michael G. Levine, Ensign Thomas Cervone-Richards, Ensign Giovanna Lesser, Ensign Karina Urquhart, Ensign Haley Glos, Ensign Katherine Mitchell, Lt. Cmdr. Larry Thomas
Ensign John Atnip
Before joining the NOAA Corps Ensign Atnip enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served as a fuels technician where he supported America’s nuclear deterrence mission. During this time he served overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve. Ensign Atnip separated from the Air Force in 2016 to pursue a college education. He graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. While in school, he worked as an outdoor adventure facilitator and a laboratory assistant in various marine labs. He worked in the Georgia Southern Gleason Lab supporting ocean acidification coral recruitment experiments. It was there that he was introduced to NOAA where he had the opportunity to take part in coral recruitment research aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.
Just prior to reporting for training he worked as a trail maintainer in Arizona’s national forests and as a Spotted Owl Surveyor in the state of New Mexico. He is excited to apply his experience in logistics and field work toward the pursuit of further understanding our marine ecosystems.
Ensign Justin Blancher
Ensign Blancher graduated from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in Marine Science with a concentration in Biology. During his undergraduate training, he was a member of the Eckerd College Search and Rescue team, providing assistance to small boats in the Tampa Bay area in coordination with the Coast Guard. Ensign Blancher went on to develop methodology for generation of high-resolution maps using unmanned aerial systems for Sustainable Ecosystem Restoration LLC. He received his Master of Science degree in Biological Oceanography from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2019. His thesis project and instrumentation experience frequently got him underway, sailing on a variety of research vessels including the R/V Point Sur and R/V Endeavor. It was on board these ships that Ensign Blancher recognized his desire to remain at sea and continue facilitating scientific research. Upon graduation he would carve his path to join the NOAA Corps.
Ensign Thomas Cervone-Richards
Before joining the NOAA Corps, Ensign Cervone-Richards worked for Dann Marine Towing as a deckhand aboard the Tugboat Atlantic Coast. He graduated from State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Environmental Science and a minor in Meteorology and Oceanography. During his time at SUNY Maritime, Ensign Cervone-Richards received USCG 3rd Mate Unlimited Deck License. He also took part in establishing the college’s environmental club.
Ensign Logan Dodson
Prior to joining NOAA, Ensign Dodson was a Park Ranger at Little Manatee River State Park and Volunteer Ambulance Driver with Sun City Center EMS. Ensign Dodson hails from Tampa, Florida. He graduated from Stetson University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Ensign Dodson is an Open Water SCUBA Diver and a Type II Wildland Firefighter. He looks forward to being a member of the team and supporting the hydrographic and diving missions.
Ensign Gregory Friedman
Prior to joining NOAA, Ensign Friedman worked for three years as a landfill manager and environmental scientist in Vermont where he served as a safety officer, clean water operator, and remediation technician. Additionally, he worked for two years as a field geologist on drilling rigs in the Marcellus and Utica Shales.
Ensign Friedman graduated cum laude in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Geology from State University of New York Plattsburgh. He has experience in carpentry, welding, wildlife rehabilitation, small mammal research, and goegraphic information systems.
Ensign Haley Glos
Prior to joining NOAA, Ensign Glos was a middle school math teacher at William R. Davie Middle STEM Academy in North Carolina. Serving her community in rural NC with Teach for America and AmeriCorps sparked her interest in mission based work, eventually leading to her commission. She also spent time working for the University of Delaware as a lab technician and intern. Her past experience ranges from zooplankton assemblages and spatiotemporal distribution to microplastics accumulation in the Delaware Bay using a ZooScan digital optical scanning instrument. She worked under the Citizen Monitoring Program, too, where she monitored harmful algal blooms and bacteria levels to maximize ecosystem and resident health alongside Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
Ensign Glos graduated from the University of Delaware in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and a concentration in Marine Biology. A Georgetown, Delaware native, Ensign Glos grew up on the coast and has been passionate about science since a young age.
Ensign Trevor Grams
Ensign Grams grew up in Glennallen, Alaska and graduated from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Geography and a minor in Geographic Informations Systems. During his college career, he worked on a variety of unmanned aerial vehicle assisted projects including snow depth mapping, albedo change during the spring thaw on the Arctic Plane, and landslide hazard assessment. While studying geography, he spent a year in Juneau Alaska and a year in Bergen, Norway. Ensign Grams was deck boss on a commercial salmon fishing boat in Bristol Bay, Alaska for seven seasons before joining the NOAA Corps. He has also worked as an avalanche safety instructor and carpenter.
Ensign Ariane Huddleston
Ensign Huddleston received her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2009, which included 2 years at the University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas. In 2008 she had the opportunity to sail on the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster while studying in the Caribbean where she was introduced to the NOAA Corps. In 2010 she became a fisheries observer in Alaska on longline and trawler fishing vessels. In Fall 2010 following the deep water horizon oil spill, she was hired at the Pascagoula NOAA lab as a contracted fisheries biologist. As a biologist on the reef fish unit she sailed on the NOAA Ship Pisces for the Caribbean cruise as well as a Gulf of Mexico reef fish cruise. In 2014 she received her Master of Science in Biology from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi where she analyzed NOAA reef fish data for her Master’s thesis. Following the completion of her thesis she was hired back in Pascagoula for the Untrawlable Habitat Strategic Initiative project. This project included testing sampling methods with specialized cameras, remote operated vehicles, autonomous underwater vehicles and towed cameras. After the completion of the project in 2016 she enlisted in the United States Navy as a sonar technician and deployed in the Southern Pacific. Later on, Ensign Huddleston decided she wanted to pursue a career with NOAA as a NOAA Corps Officer because of her passion for science, fisheries and exploration opportunities within the Corps.
Ensign Giovanna Lesser
Ensign Lesser graduated Summa Cum Laude from The College of William & Mary with a double major in Biology and Environmental and Marine Science. In college she was a Division I swimmer, a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and the President of the Marine Science Society. She interned in Greece at the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation where she studied marine mammal behavior and participated in photo identification studies. She is Rescue and Nitrox Dive Certified and has travelled to over 30 countries. She grew up on the water racing sailboats with her father and is looking forward to going to sea to gain more maritime experience and explore the ocean.
Ensign Katherine Mitchell
Ensign Mitchell graduated Cum Laude from Flagler College with a Bachelor of Arts in Coastal Environmental Science with minors in Mathematics and Management Information Systems. During the summer of 2018 she was accepted for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) with Chesapeake Biological Laboratory- University of Maryland where she conducted research on micro plastic contamination in sediment samples. In 2017 she was an intern at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo where she conducted mapping of coral reefs and sponges with the development of a field guide.
She holds certification for PADI open water and has logged over 60 dives. Prior to college she lived throughout Asia and Europe.
Ensign Josephine Moore
Prior to joining the NOAA Corps, Ensign Moore was enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard as a sergeant where she worked as a communications specialist. She was deployed from 2015-2016 with her unit and received an Army Commendation Medal for the successful completion of a critical mission in Kuwait.
Ensign Moore graduated from Texas A&M University at Galveston in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. During her time with Texas A&M, she was certified in Open Water, Advanced, Rescue Diving, Nitrox, Master Diver SCUBA certifications and a AAUS Scientific Diving.
Ensign Cassidy Ring
Prior to joining the NOAA Corps, Ensign Ring was an Environmental Specialist for FEMA working on disaster response for Hurricane Florence in her hometown of Wilmington, NC. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from North Carolina State University in 2017 with a double major in Biological Sciences and Marine Sciences and minors in Spanish and Zoology. While an undergraduate at NC State, Ensign Ring conducted research for the NC State Center of Marine Science and Technology and volunteered in a coastal ecology lab. Ensign Ring also competed for the club rowing team as well as the club rugby team, and volunteered as a spanish translator for a local clothing ministry. After graduating, Ensign Ring worked as a research assistant for a crop and soil science lab at NC State where she assisted with cover crop assessments and soil surveys. She also continued playing rugby, and in 2018 competed in Glendale, CO for the USA Rugby Division I Women’s Club National Championship with her team.
Ensign Ring grew up in New England and coastal North Carolina, and has always been passionate about the ocean and its conservation.
Ensign Carly Robbins
Ensign Robbins graduated from Clark University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Geography, focusing on Earth Systems Science and Geographic Information Science (GIS). During the summers of her college years, Ensgin Robbins held internships at the Vermont Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), National Ocean Service and NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS). While interning as a harmful algal bloom remote sensing analyst at the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science in Silver Spring, Ensign Robbins learned about the NOAA Corps. The following year, she served as a climate science geospatial analyst intern at NCCS at Goddard Space Flight Center. From 2018 to 2019, Ensign Robbins mapped aquaculture ponds, mangroves, and other land cover types in eight different countries as a research assistant at Clark Labs. In 2019, she earned her master’s degree in GIS from Clark University.
Ensign Emma Strong
Prior to joining the NOAA Corps, Ensign Strong worked for Team Rubicon, a Veteran-led disaster response NGO, as a preparedness associate for the state of California. Ensign Strong studied Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and received a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from UC Davis in 2012. She served two terms in AmeriCorps as an after school 4-H instructor in Austin, Texas, and a team leader in the National Civilian Community Corps, supporting a variety of non-profits thoughout the northeast. Ensign Strong has worked in sustainable construction management as an engineer, as a disaster program manager for the Red Cross of Virginia, and in operations for a clean vehicle incentive program for the state of California. She is a San Diego native.
Ensign Karina Urquhart
Ensign Karina Urquhart graduated from Clark University in Worcester, MA in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science Conservation Biology and a minor in Studio Art. During her time at Clark she competed on the women’s varsity swim team specializing in Individual Medley events and took part in setting five all-time school records. From 2012-2019 Ensign Urquhart worked seasonally as an ocean front lifeguard in Maine where she competed in the Lifesaving Championships throughout New England. After college, Ensign Urquhart was the assistant swim coach for the local YMCA team she grew up competing for and in 2018, she moved to Washington D.C. to work as a technician at the National Arboretum for the Floral Nursery Plant Research Unit. However, her passion lies in marine science and all things water, which led her to the NOAA Corps.
Ensign Kyle Vincent
Ensign Vincent graduated with Honors from Eckerd College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science with a focus in Biology and minored in Coastal Management. While in his sophomore year, he was awarded the NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship. As a Hollings scholar he was given the opportunity to intern at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center where he researched pseudo-nitzschia harmful algal blooms under the supervision of Dr. Vera Trainer. At Eckerd College, Ensign Vincent assisted in a phytoplankton culturing project that helped establish the first phytoplankton culture lab for academic use at Eckerd College. Ensign Vincent played on the Eckerd College Men’s Rugby team, and in his senior year as a captain, he helped his team become NSCRO South Cup champions for the first time in club history.