Each February, National Black History Month serves as both a celebration and a powerful reminder that Black History is tightly interwoven with American History. You cannot have one without the other, and to be honest we should recognize the contributions and impact of Black changemakers every day to encourage and inspire. Here are just a few people that inspire me every day.
THE Organizations you should follow
Black in Marine Science (BIMS) is a non-profit which "strives to amplify and uplift Black voices and improve diversity in Marine Sciences." Led by environmental ecologist Dr. Tiara Moore (who is CEO of Black in Marine Science), each year they host a "Black In Marine Science Week" that you do not want to miss out on. Check out their site (bims.org), @blackinmarsci on Twitter, @blackinmarinescience on Instagram, plus lots of content on their YouTube channel.
Minorities in Shark Sciences (MISS) is a non-profit that "seek to promote diversity and inclusion in shark science and encourage women of color to push through barriers and contribute knowledge in marine science." Led by president and CEO of MISS is marine biologist Jasmin Graham who is also an environmental educator and social justice activist. Check out their site (misselasmo.org), @MISS_Elasmo on Twitter, @MISS_Elasmo on Instagram, and don't forget to donate to their cause.
some of my fave follows
Dr. Tiara Moore, Founder of A WOC Space and Black In Marine Science.
Originally from Greenwood, South Carolina, Dr. Tiara Moore is the Black In Marine Science Program Lead at The Nature Conservancy. Inside and outside of the lab, Dr. Moore hopes her research in biodiversity will translate to increasing the overall diversity in science. She dedicates her time to mentoring minority women in the lab and in after school programs. Founder of A WOC SPACE, Dr. Moore aspires to make a safe and inclusive workplace for women of color (WOC) through WOCShops, individual personal trainings, and community outreach. To round things off Dr. Moore combines her experiences as a WOC Scientist with her upbeat personality in her Academic Standup Shows, both communicating science and the struggles of being a minority in STEM.
Inka Cresswell, Wildlife Filmmaker
Inka is a Bristol-based Wildlife filmmaker and underwater Camera Operator with a B.Sc. in Marine Biology and M.A. in Wildlife Filmmaking from The University of the West of England. Her goal is to be able to use her background in Marine Science to create inspiring Ocean Conservation films that educate and inform the next generation driving real conservation impact. She also works as a social influencer in the diving industry and gives public talks on ocean conservation, conservation filmmaking and marine topics to inspire more girls to become involved in the wildlife filmmaking and STEM industries.
Zoleka Filander, Deep Sea Researcher
Zoleka Filander is a South African marine biologist with a background in marine taxonomy and an interest in deep-sea research. Her and I were aboard the OceanXplorer in 2021 and I learned so much from her! She not only is an ecologist with the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries in South Africa, she uses cutting-edge technology to study biodiversity and is an expert in the classification of deepwater corals. Plus she is a fellow PhD student... so we vented about that whenever necessary!
Jasmin Graham, President & CEO of MISS
Jasmin specializes in elasmobranch ecology and evolution. Her past research interests include smalltooth sawfish movement ecology and hammerhead shark phylogeny. She is a member of the American Elasmobranch Society and served on their Student Affairs Committee as the Early Career Representative. She is a member of the IUCN Shark Specialist group and serves on their Communications Team. She worked as an instructor for the Saturday at the Sea program through the Florida State University Office of STEM Teaching Activities. Jasmin has a passion for science education and making science more accessible for everyone. She is the project coordinator for the MarSci-LACE project, which is focused on researching and promoting best practices to recruit, support and retain minority students in marine science. She is excited to help open doors for more underrepresented minority students to join the exciting field of marine science.
Amani Webber-Schultz, Chief Financial Officer of MISS
Amani is a PhD student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Her research will focus on shark morphology and biomechanics. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.S. in Marine Science. During her undergraduate studies, she was a student researcher in Dr. Brooke Flammang's Fluid Locomotion Lab at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Dr. Elisabeth Sikes' Paleoceanography Lab at Rutgers. Both labs allowed her to experience different areas of marine science. In the Fluid Locomotion Lab, Amani created 3-D models in Mimics Innovation Suite from CT scans for morphological studies of remoras. She received honorable mention for the NSF GRFP in 2021. Amani is currently a fellow at Field School where she is continuing to develop her shark research and handling skills. She loves meeting new people and is very excited to share her experiences and help others succeed in any way she can.
Carlee Jackson, MISS Director of Communications
Carlee is a shark and sea turtle conservationist. She is an M.S. graduate from Nova Southeastern University, where she researched the effects of provisioning tourism on nurse sharks in Belize. Carlee has worked with NSU’s shark tagging program, tagging sharks along the coast of Broward County. She is currently a Sea Turtle Research Associate at The Walt Disney Company, assisting with various marine conservation research as part of the Disney Conservation Team. Carlee is a member of the American Elasmobranch Society, where she was a 2019 YPRF Diversity scholar. Previously, Carlee has worked as a Marine Turtle Specialist at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, and as an environmental educator in south Florida, taking students on outdoor educational field trips all across Florida. Originally from Detroit, Mi, she graduated in 2016 with a B.S. in Biology from Florida Atlantic University. Carlee is very passionate about research and field work, striving to contribute to the conservation of sharks and sea turtles. She is eager to expose more minority students to the field of marine science and hopes to inspire more diversity in this field.
Jaida Elcock, MISS Director of Public Relations
Jaida Elcock is a PhD student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. Her research is on shark movement ecology. She is particularly interested in the movement ecology of migratory elasmobranchs, as this information is still unknown for many species. Jaida received her B.S. in Biology with University Honors from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. She has previously lived in landlocked states but has still been able to gain experience with marine animals through an internship at OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale, Arizona. Though not a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, Jaida was recognized as an Honorable Mention for her research proposal. She has also been recognized as an American Elasmobranch Society Young Professional Recruitment Fund Scholar. Jaida is incredibly excited to help other underrepresented students light a fire within themselves to fuel a passion for marine sciences.
To learn more about their work - and that of others - check out the #BIMSRollCall hashtag on twitter!
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Hi! I'm Melissa, an Australian-based Latina science educator, podcaster, and freelance writer. I spend a lot more time on Instagram and Twitter, but blogging is my first love. Thanks for stopping by — I hope you stay a while.
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