Fiji Shark Studies — Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Meet the Instructors!

Meet Mugdha and Laura, the instructors that will be leading this amazing Broadreach program this summer! With their breadth of expertise and dedication to helping students discover the world and their place in it, they are thrilled to embark on this journey and summer of unforgettable experiences.

MUGDHA FLORES

Mugdha grew up near the ocean in India, where she developed her curiosity by exploring tide-pools and shallow habitats. She moved to the United States to attend the Florida Institute of Technology, earning her BS in marine biology before moving on to work at the Brevard Zoo as an aquarist, maintaining their 20,000 gallon aquarium that contained mullet, snappers, black drums, snook and sting-rays. Before returning to FIT for her master's in marine biology with a focus on deep-sea Antarctic fish, Mugdha discovered her passion for leading students on field trips to the Indian River Lagoon and as a teaching assistant leading college students to conduct fisheries surveys. After school, Mugdha volunteered for Coope-Tarcoles, a non-profit organization in Costa Rica, where she worked with local fishermen on self-regulated sustainable fisheries and upon return, began teaching biology at colleges in Florida and Georgia. Mugdha currently lives in Hawaii where she works as a marine biologist and science communicator. She also works for a non-profit developing and managing educational programs about marine debris, plastic pollution and leading beach clean-up field trips. Mugdha is fluent in English, Hindi, Marathi and Spanish, and loves to hike with her dogs, scuba dive, surf and kayak. She is excited to join Broadreach for her second summer, help her students to learn about marine ecosystems and inspire them to become stewards of the ocean.

LAURA MCKINNEY

Laura grew up in Mossley in the northwest of England. She attended Plymouth University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in applied zoology. During her studies, she visited South Africa on a conservation field trip. After graduating, she volunteered for the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute collecting data on whale sharks. Laura then interned as a research assistant for dolphin research in Western Australia. She has lived in the Philippines, Australia, Jamaica, Mexico and New Zealand. As her studies and pursuits reveal, she has a big love of wildlife, both terrestrial and marine. She is enthralled by everything ocean related and continues to love her position which has allowed her to dive, travel and explore the world. In her free time, she enjoys free-diving and learning to surf! She also loves music and plays a little guitar, ukulele and piano. Laura is counting down the days until she gets to meet all of the students on the Fiji Shark Behavior & Conservation program. She hopes to teach the students more about the wonders of the planet and why it is so important that we all lend a hand in protecting it.