Meet Our Education Program Interns



Emma Thomson

Emma grew up just outside of Hartford, Connecticut and attended school at the University of Richmond in Virginia where she graduated in May 2015 with a degree in Environmental Science. After diving for the first time in Key Largo, she knew that coral reefs were going to be her greatest passion and has directed her studies to the water ever since. Studying abroad in Sydney, Australia allowed her the exceptional opportunity to dive the Great Barrier Reef and see first hand the amount of degradation corals are experiencing. Armed with a deep love for the reefs and a passion to ensure their long-term survival, Emma returned to the states ready to dedicate her life to coral restoration. She intends to pursue a career in the field and is very excited to have the opportunity to work with Coral Restoration Foundation to promote that goal.


Austen Stovall

A native of Kill Devil Hills North Carolina, Austen comes to Coral Restoration Foundation after most recently working as a Special Activities Instructor at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island. After graduating with a B.S. in Biology from Wake Forest University, she spent a semester as a Marine Conservation Intern with Reef Environmental Education Foundation in Key Largo, FL.  There she honed her fish identification skills and participated in cutting-edge lionfish research.  She then left Key Largo to spend time in Bocas del Toro, Panama as a Program Intern with the School for Field Studies.  Throughout these past experiences Austen only furthered her passion for marine conservation and diving.  She is excited to be back in Key Largo and working on exciting new endeavors with Coral Restoration Foundation!


Amelia Moura

Amelia’s interest in coral restoration began with her pursuit of her scientific diving certification through the University of Southern California. During her time at USC, Amelia traveled to the Micronesian islands of Guam and Palau to conduct species abundance and diversity research on several protected coral reefs after a major typhoon. Since then, Amelia has dedicated her time to nonprofit organizations that specialize in ocean conservation by pursuing opportunities to explore shark tagging and research, oceanic time-series data management, aquarist duties, and marine education programs. With Coral Restoration Foundation, Amelia is eager to gain hands-on experience restoring endangered coral species in addition to educating the local community about how to make a difference.


Shalimar Moreno

Born and raised in South Florida, Shalimar was intrigued at a young age by its diverse ecosystems. She graduated in December 2016 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Marine Biology from Florida International University. During her undergraduate, she learned to scuba dive and went on to becoming a certified AAUS Scientific Diver where she fell in love with the world of marine biology. Last summer, she worked in Key Largo helping a lab from her University doing fish surveys of herbivorous species on the reefs as well as helping with other ongoing projects. Shalimar is now very excited to be spending her summer again in the Keys working with Coral Restoration Foundation to learn more about the methods of reef restoration and to share that critical knowledge with others in her community.


Eric Carstens

Eric grew up right outside of DC, in Oakton, VA, and just received his BS in Biology and Marine Science from the College of William & Mary, in Williamsburg, VA. Eric has always had a passion for the ocean, but began to focus on coral reef conservation after spending some time in the Leeward Islands in high school. More recently, Eric spent a summer on Utila with the Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center. Unfortunately, no whale sharks were to be found, so he spent his time monitoring the reefs for fish and invertebrate diversity, and working with lionfish population control. Eric is planning on eventually continuing his education to focus specifically on coral reef conservation and tropical marine ecology. Eric has spent his whole life in reef-less Virginia, the past four years in Colonial Williamsburg, so he is thrilled to be working with coral and reef restoration on a daily basis.


Christina Mallica

I am a South Florida native, born and raised in sunny Fort Lauderdale, a proud mother to a miniature dachshund named Jake, and a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a BSc in Marine Science. During my time at UF, I traveled abroad to Akumal, Mexico where I conducted field experiments on how tourism affects reef fish behavior. It’s in Mexico where I fell in love with field research and coral reef ecology and have been involved as a research assistant and scientific diver at UF ever since, working mostly in the Caribbean and the Florida Keys. I have aspirations to go to graduate school and earn my Ph.D., focusing on coral growth dynamics and exploring the question of how we can use ecology to better coral outplanting efforts. I am very excited for the opportunity to continue my education as a researcher at Coral Restoration Foundation and to educate the local community on how everyone can get involved and promote a healthy ocean and coral restoration!