Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Hawai'i Faculty
Lauren Watka graduated from Brown University with a Master's in Environmental Studies in 2012 and continues to explore the natural, and specifically marine, world at every opportunity. She received a B.S. in biology and has conducted research at Brown University, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Dartmouth College in subjects from micro- and molecular biology to ecology. In addition to research, Lauren has worked as a fisheries scientist on a few New Bedford commercial fishing boats and as an educator with the New England Aquarium in Boston. Now back at Brown, as a Program Manager, she enjoys the opportunity to learn alongside seasoned environmental education veterans and students new to the field. As a Providence resident, Lauren supports local food and fishery initiatives, bikes as a means of transportation, and serves with her church in the city.
Brent Carmen was born and raised on the island of Oahu and moved to the Hawai’i Island after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Biology at Humboldt State College. He has a great love for the ocean and much of his life has been devoted to marine stewardship. For over fifteen years, he provided technical support for research on Hawaii’s marine ecology, commercial/recreational fisheries, and aquaculture programs as a fisheries technician with the Department of Land and Natural Resources/Division of Aquatic Resources. He also served in the Navy and Hawai'i National Guard. This is Brent’s second year with BELL: Hawai’i.
Erica Perez was raised in the Pacific Northwest and has been immersed in nature all her life. She moved to the Hawai‘i Island in 2001, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science and minor in Conservation Biology from the University of Hawai’i Hilo. As a certified scientific diver Erica has worked with the Hawai‘i Division of Aquatic Resources and the Research Cooperation of the University of Hawai‘i conducting underwater surveys of West Hawai’i’s coral reef ecosystems. She then worked with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife conducting fieldwork on juvenile salmon populations in Southern Oregon tributaries. For the past several years, Erica has been involved in marine education and outreach in Hawai’i. Working with the Malama Kai Foundation she supported community based management projects. As the Expeditionary Learning Coordinator for The Kohala Center, Erica facilitated environmental leadership programs with partner universities, and place-based education projects with Hawai’i Department of Education K-12 schools. Erica joined the Coral Reef Alliance in 2014 as the West Hawai’i Field Representative. This is Erica’s fifth year with BELL: Hawai’i.
Mahina Patterson was born and raised on the Hawai’i Island and is the Hawaiian Cultural Specialist for the BELL: Hawai'i program. Mahina has been immersed in both Hawai’i’s natural landscape and indigenous culture from a young age. She specializes in bridging environmental ecology and Hawaiian culture in her professional work, as a teacher with the Hawaiian culture-based school, Kanu o Ka Aina, as well as in her personal passions, as a hula student under Halau o Kekuhi. Mahina holds a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies and Geography as well as a minor in Agriculture from University of Hawai’i Hilo. This is Mahina’s second year with BELL: Hawai’i.
Timo Sullivan was raised on a coffee farm on the Hawai’i Island by his father who was a fisherman and his mother, who was a pre-school teacher. After moving to NYC to receive a BA in liberal arts from Eugene Lang University, he pursued a career as an audio engineer and starving artist. Through the generous support of the Hau`oli Mau Loa Foundation Graduate Fellowship, he has returned home to earn a graduate degree in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Hawai'i. His work is focused in wet forest restoration and invasive species management, specifically regarding community outreach programs and how we all can lend a hand in protecting our natural resources. This is Timo's third year with the BELL: Hawai'i program.