SNI Chapter Leadership

Georgia

Savannah

Bill Maples, Chapter President, completed Open Water certification in 2018 and is currently pursuing Advanced Open Water. He is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and a 21 year veteran of the Marine Corps. He is a Production Test Pilot for Gulfstream Aerospace and enjoys running, cycling and SCUBA diving with his daughter Maddie.

   Jessica Wertz serves the Savannah Chapter in both science and dive safety roles and helped launch the Savannah Chapter in 2020. She has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Southern University. Jessica grew up near the beach and has always loved the ocean. She began diving in college and became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor in 2019. She was certified as an SSI Open Water Scuba Instructor in 2021.

North Carolina 

Morehead City
Dr. Jason Fleming serves as the chapter president for the new Morehead City, North Carolina Chapter. A mechanical engineer by training, he learned to SCUBA dive in 1996. He is a storm surge modeler with Seahorse Coastal Consulting and loves all things fluid.


Dr. Janelle Fleming functions as the science coordinator for Morehead City. A physical/biological oceanographer by training, she learned to SCUBA dive in 1989. She has been an AAUS science diver since 1997 and a commercial diver with NIWA in New Zealand. She loves training divers and teaching them about how to conduct science underwater. Dr. Fleming discovered SCUBAnauts International at the 2018 DEMA Conference in Las Vegas and jumped in–fins first.

Deadan Langston  is and alum of NC State and DePaul University. Dedan grew up in Morehead City and splits his time between there and Durham NC where he is the principal network engineer for a clinical research organization. He began diving in college in 1996 and became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor 2017. He was certified as an PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer in 2019 and serves the chapter in dive safety and science capacities.

Florida 

St. Petersburg

This Chapter currently has no members. With enough interest, we hope to relaunch in the future. Please contact us about information on the Tampa and Tarpon Chapters if you are interested in joining the St Petersburg Chapter.  

Tampa
Chris Ceaser, Chapter President, Chris Ceaser is a Minnesota native who currently lives in Tampa, Florida and serves in the US Air Force as a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Specialist and Personnel Recovery Program Manager. Chris is uniquely suited to analyze the operating environment to plan for survival, captivity, wilderness exploration and search and rescue considerations. He can also execute command and control/logistics of emergency management centers worldwide. Chris has an Associate’s Degree in Emergency Management and Masters in Homeland Security. He is a Divemaster with his main skill set being underwater confidence training. Chris is married to his wife Erica and has two kids; Ryah and Ryker.

Marc Blander, Dive Safety Officer, is a PADI Instructor who began diving in California in 1994. He started volunteering with the Tampa Chapter in 2018. When not diving with the SCUBAnauts, he can often be found as a Divemaster at the Florida Aquarium. Marc has a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance and works as a Financial Analyst.

Reese Hanifin-Hernandez, Science Coordinator, started volunteering with Scubanauts in 2019. She teaches Biology, Forensics, and Zoology Honors at Alonso High School in Tampa, Florida. She began diving in Arizona in 1994 but took a long break, as there are not a lot of oceans in Arizona! She became passionate about the sport again in 2012 after moving to Florida and participating in a Whale Shark research project off the coast of Mexico. Her next goal is Divemaster and Instructor, when she’s off from school in the summers. SCUBAnauts combines Reese’s love of diving, research, conservation, and teaching. Reese has a Masters of Environmental Planning from Arizona State University and worked as an Environmental Planner for large scale engineering projects before changing careers to teaching in 2012

Lauren Twele, Science Coordinator,  is a graduate of The University of Tampa where she studied Marine Science and Biology.  Having always been passionate about conservation education and inspiring youth about protecting our ocean habitats, she has worked at several organizations as an informal science instructor including The Florida Aquarium, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, and Seacamp Association, Inc.  Currently, Lauren works on several eco-tourism boats around the Tampa Bay area where she combines her favorite things- working outside on the water and educating the public about marine wildlife!  Lauren was certified as a diver in 2014, and now currently is pursuing her Divemaster certification.  Lauren is one of the Scientists for the Tampa SNI Chapter, and is excited to be involved in more Scubanauts trips in the future!

Victoria Scriven, Science Coordinator, has served as the Tampa Chapter Scientist since 2020, hoping to inspire a love of Oceanography and science diving. She has a bachelor’s degree in Oceanography from Texas A&M University and is currently working on her Masters at the University of South Florida. Victoria conducts deep-sea research using MBARI’s ROVs to understand and quantify the predator-prey relationships of deep-sea ctenophores. Growing up in the desert of West Texas, Victoria had to find creative ways to get in the water and once she became SCUBA Certified in 2010 she hasn’t left the water since. She is able to use science diving in her academic research and hopes to continue mentoring and working with young students with a passion for the ocean. When she is not in the water or in the lab Victoria can be found kayaking, painting, camping, volunteering, and spelunking. She is happy to mentor and guide Nauts who are navigating their way through the college application process and looking for careers in marine science.

Tarpon Springs

Amira Ray, Chapter President, and her son Trevor joined SCUBAnauts in 2016. In addition to her leadership role, she has been the family and community liaison for the Pinellas County School system for the past five years. When not hauling SCUBA gear, Amira and her husband Derek are often loading robotics equipment and parts into her SUV for transport to robotics competitions for their other son, James.

 

Brianna Michaud, Science Coordinator, was SCUBA certified in 2012 in Monterey, CA. In the same year, she graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Marine Biology. She received her Masters degree in Marine Science from the University of South Florida in 2016. The research for her Masters focused on estuarine ecology. She joined SCUBAnauts as a part of the science team in 2017. Currently, she is working towards a PhD in Marine Science at USF where her research focuses on using chemistry to track how fish migrate and where they fall in the food web.

 Micheal Brooks, Dive Safety Officer, is a PADI Divemaster and Dive Medical Responder who has been diving since 1996.  He joined SNI with his daughter, Audrey, and started volunteering with the Tarpon Springs Chapter in 2020.

Brooks served for 8 years in the U.S. Army as a Tactical Radio Operator, served in the U.S. Navy for 4 years as a Submarine Communications Electronics Maintenance Technician, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Management, and works as a Public Safety Communications Specialist.

Sarasota

Jeff Steinwachs, Chapter Co-President, and his daughter Abigail joined the Sarasota Chapter of SNI during its launch in 2017. Abby has since graduated, but Will has followed in his older sister’s footsteps and jointed SNI. Jeff earned engineering degrees from Dartmouth College and Stanford University. He enjoys time above and below the water, earning his Open Water Certification in the mid-1980s and his US Coast Guard Captain's License in the early 2000s. He currently works with several not-for-profit organizations when not on/in the water or at the lacrosse fields with daughter Caroline.

11214035_10207210371204577_4713769514114494713_nLaura Morris, Dive Safety Officer has been an active parent within SNI since 2014. She began Scuba diving while in college and has renewed her passion with an active role in SNI that has provided her the opportunity to share it with her son, Zack. Currently, she is providing support within SNI as the Sarasota Chapter Dive Officer and also as a grant writer. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in biology and holds an M.S. in restoration ecology from the University of Florida. She has worked as an ecologist throughout Florida for over 20 years and has a broad background in freshwater wetlands and wildlife. Currently she is a reclamation supervisor with Mosaic.

Dr. Sara Williams, Science Coordinator,  joined SNI in 2021 and is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Mote Marine Laboratory in the Coral Health and Disease Program. She completed her PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at Northeastern University and her research uses network science and modeling combined with field work and physiological experiments to understand problems facing coral reefs. Dr. Williams learned to SCUBA dive in high school and has since completed certifications up to PADI Dive Master and AAUS Scientific Diver. When not underwater or in the lab, Dr. Williams spends her time spoiling her puppy, Poppy, and exploring the many state parks and beaches in Florida. 

Orlando

Stacy Ramsey, Chapter President,  is a lover of oceanography and marine biology, her background is actually in film and TV production, where she was able to focus on Underwater Cinematography as an Assistant Cameraman in Los Angeles. She received her Open Water  certification back in 1990 through PADI while living in California and moved to Florida in 1998 to work in warmer waters! She met her husband and never returned to CA. Fast Forward to 2020 and her love of all things ocean is now shared with her husband and two teen SCUBAnaut boys. “I wish I would have found a program like SCUBAnauts when I was growing up. The knowledge, leadership and connections are invaluable for all professions in life. The ability to learn, conduct and submit scientific research, participate in meaningful conservation, build bridges and friendships all while diving and doing what I love is an incredible opportunity. How could I not, want to be involved!!!  It’s my pleasure to be here and I look forward to contributing and being part of this wonderful program. I hope you’ll join us!”

Sarah Vinson, Science Coordinator, serves the Orlando Chapter in both science and dive safety roles. She has a bachelor’s degree in Biology with a focus in Marine Science from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Sarah grew up in Pinellas county Florida and has always wanted to work in or around the water. She began diving since 2015 so she could join SCUBAnauts as a naut. She actively participated in SSI as a naut until 2019, when she became an adult leader. She was certified as an SSI Open Water Scuba Instructor in 2019 and a DAN Instructor in 2018. Sarah attributes a lot of her current success to being in SNI and wants to continue giving that opportunity to future nauts. 

Management & Leadership Team

The diverse SNI corporate management team, SNI Board of Directors and youth mentors are deeply committed to the mission of SCUBAnauts International. The team is comprised of professional and inspirational volunteer leaders from major universities, government agencies, associations and military organizations.

President & Chief Executive Officer

20161022_173736Paul Foisy became involved in SNI in 2011 when his two oldest children joined the Tarpon Springs chapter (all four children have participated in the program, including his youngest, who is still involved and second youngest who has returned as an adult leader and dive professional. Shortly after joining, his family became the chapter’s new member coordinators. In 2013, he accepted the role as chapter vice-president, which he held for two years. He was elected president of the Tarpon Springs Chapter in 2015. Prior to accepting the position as President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Paul served as the organization’s recruiting officer in 2016. Paul also assists the organization as a DAN Instructor and dive professional. A certified diver since 1995, Paul’s certifications include PADI Advanced Open Water and Nitrox, Rescue Diver, Master Diver, and NAUI Instructor. Paul works as a design engineer for Jabil, based in St.Petersburg, Florida. He designs and develops products in a wide variety of industries including consumer electronics, computing and storage, and healthcare products. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering.

Chief Operations Officer & Dive Safety Officer

Katie Shoultz Cooper is the chief operations officer and works within the dive safety and science education teams. She began volunteering with the St. Petersburg chapter in 2012 and helped launch the Tampa Chapter in 2014. She has a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Arizona State University where she focused on marine ecology and received her masters in business administration through the University of Florida. Katie fell in love with the ocean at a young age and began diving at the age of 12. She loves working with SCUBAnauts to build their diving and science skills and encouraging them to use their talents to mentor each other and improve their communities.

Chief Science Officer

Tricia Kramer holds a Master of Science in biological oceanography, a Bachelor of Science in marine science and a Bachelor of Arts in English. Ms. Kramer has held positions in her science career ranging from lab technician to director and founder. Some of her work has involved assessments of coral reef communities, surveys of terrestrial and wetland environments including tropical hardwood hammocks, fresh and salt water marshes, mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs, surveys to determine the abundance and distribution of endangered and threatened species, water quality monitoring, reproduction of marine invertebrates, and radio tagging and telemetry of manatees. She maintains several director and board positions, but finds her most important role is as the mother of three and through homeschooling shares her love of learning with them daily.

Chief Education Officer

Kate Dubickas, M.Sc., has volunteered with SCUBAnauts International (SNI) as a Chapter Scientist from 2014 to present. During her time with SNI, Kate has helped develop annual in-class curricula and underwater dive labs, mentored Masternaut and Summer Research projects, and acted as Scientist in Charge on numerous dives. She holds Bachelor degrees in Marine Science and Environmental Studies from Stony Brook University, and both a Master’s of Science and a teaching certificate from the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science. She has had experience working in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, as well as the Gulf of Mexico. Kate’s continued volunteerism and support of SNI’s mission is strongly linked to her passion for youth education in ocean science and seeing the formative role SNI has played in her students’ lives.

Website Design and Development

Wendy Westbrook was introduced to SCUBAnauts through her work with Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge. She was happy to help them get their website set up so they could share their projects, discoveries, and knowledge with the world. Wendy owns Damsel Branding, and provides website hosting, design and ongoing development of the website.

Board of Directors

The SCUBAnauts International Board of Directors is presently comprised of the following distinguished members and is the final authority in the management of SNI.

Paul Foisy became involved in SNI in 2011 when his two oldest children joined the Tarpon Springs chapter (all four children have participated in the program, including his youngest, who is still involved and second youngest who has returned as an adult leader and dive professional. Shortly after joining, his family became the chapter’s new member coordinators. In 2013, he accepted the role as chapter vice-president, which he held for two years. He was elected president of the Tarpon Springs Chapter in 2015. Prior to accepting the position as President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Paul served as the organization’s recruiting officer in 2016. Paul also assists the organization as a DAN Instructor and dive professional. A certified diver since 1995, Paul’s certifications include PADI Advanced Open Water and Nitrox, Rescue Diver, Master Diver, and NAUI Instructor. Paul works as a design engineer for Jabil, based in St.Petersburg, Florida. He designs and develops products in a wide variety of industries including consumer electronics, computing and storage, and healthcare products. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering.

MichaelPCrosbyDr. Michael P. Crosby came to Mote Marine Laboratory following his appointments as Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development at George Mason University, and Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Hawai’i – Hilo. Prior to those appointments, he served in a federal Senior Executive Service position as Executive Director of the National Science Board in Washington, DC; the Senior Advisor for International Science Policy and Executive Director for the Science Advisory Board of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dr. Crosby obtained a Master of Science in biology, with honors, from Old Dominion University and a Ph.D. in marine-estuarine-environmental sciences at the University of Maryland. Dr. Crosby is currently on the Boards of, and has served as President for, several national and international science societies. In May 2013, after serving for 3 years as Mote’s Senior Vice President for Research, Mote’s Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Crosby as President & CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.
Dan BastaDan Basta is the former Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary Program. In his capacity, Dan leads the federal program, whose mission is to protect and conserve the unique ecological and cultural marine resources contained in the sanctuary system. He joined the National Ocean Service in 1979 and has applied his training as an environmental engineer to a variety of disciplines, including watershed and land use planning, living marine resource assessment, pollution application control technology, remote sensing and data acquisition processes and resource economics with systems analysis framework focused on ecosystem-based problem solving. Dan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Hofstra University and a Master of Science degree in engineering and policy sciences from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Since then Dan has held positions at Resources for the Future, The Environmental Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences and Johns Hopkins University. He is co-author of more than 60 publications, including textbooks on modeling, atlases of U.S. coastal and ocean regions, as well as reports, books and articles on environmental problems at the national, regional and local levels. He is also a NOAA-certified and active diver and SCUBA instructor with over 20 years of underwater diving and expedition experience around the world.
teresa-greelyDr. Teresa Greely provides expertise in the areas of biological oceanography, ecological physiology, marine fishes, and ocean science education. She has broad research interests which encompass teaching and training about the ocean sciences in three areas: graduate and undergraduate education, teacher education, and ocean literacy amongst youth. She currently coordinates four education programs: The Oceanography Camp for Girls (OCG), the In-service Teacher Oceanography Workshops (In-TOW), the National Ocean Science Bowl’s regional Spoonbill Bowl competition, and the OCEANS Teaching Fellowships. In addition to teaching natural sciences and science education courses, Dr. Greely, also developed a series of graduate courses focused on teaching and communicating ocean sciences. Programs and courses are designed to teach science parallel to the way science is practiced in a research setting: courses are inquiry based, experiential, and learner guided. Dr. Greely’s current research encompasses ocean literacy and reasoning about ocean issues by determining the influence of content, experience, and morality. The objective is to determine what youth around the world know about the ocean, what their attitudes are about ocean stewardship, and what they think about ocean issues.
KeithK Keith Kolasa has served as volunteer scientist for SNI since 2009 and is currently a senior environmental scientist with the Southwest Florida Water Management District. He is a biologist with 26 years of experience in freshwater and marine resource management, including experience in water quality monitoring, water quality enhancement and lake restoration, natural system restoration, GIS mapping and establishment of minimum flows and levels. As a native to Hernando County and having managed the seagrass mapping project of Florida’s Nature Coast, he is knowledgeable of the marine systems of this region, providing guidance to SNI for selection of underwater monitoring sites. He serves as a USCG licensed boat captain and science advisor working on independent research projects for SNI.

11214035_10207210371204577_4713769514114494713_nLaura Morris has been an active parent within SNI since 2014. She began Scuba diving while in college and has renewed her passion with an active role in SNI that has provided her the opportunity to share it with her son, Zack. Currently, she is providing support within SNI as the Sarasota Chapter Dive Officer and also as a grant writer. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in biology and holds an M.S. in restoration ecology from the University of Florida. She has worked as an ecologist throughout Florida for over 20 years and has a broad background in freshwater wetlands and wildlife. Currently she is a reclamation supervisor with Mosaic.

Pam Hughes serves as the VP/Treasurer for the organization. Pam and her husband first helped SCUBAnauts when it was founded under the name SCUBA Scouts USA by servicing gear at a local dive shop 15 years ago. How serendipitous that her journey through the dive industry brought her back to SNI. Pam is a PADI dive instructor and has worked with several not-for-profits in various capacities.
Sam Phillips is a Health Scientist at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, FL. Dr. Phillips studies amputee and prosthetic outcomes, and well as applying technology to veterans with disabilities. While in College, Dr. Phillips trained with the Orange County Rescue & Recovery Dive Team in Chapel Hill, NC. Dr. Phillips joined SCUBAnauts in 2014 with his daughter Diana. He is now a divemaster and also participates as a SCUBAnauts adult dive leader.