Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

Meet the Coastal Wildlife Interns

May 13, 2024
Coastal Wildlife Interns

SCCF is thrilled to welcome five summer 2024 interns in the Coastal Wildlife Department, which leads our sea turtle and shorebird monitoring and research. Learn a bit about them below!

Lauren Andrychowski, Nighttime Sea Turtle Intern

image of sea turtle intern smiling with baby hatchling sea turtle

From Erie, Pennsylvania, Lauren graduated from Coastal Carolina University in 2021 with a bachelor’s in marine science. Her sea turtle journey started as a conservation intern in Texas during the 2022 nesting season, where she worked with nesting Kemp’s ridleys, responded to strandings, and released hatchlings. Shortly after, she went to North Carolina to complete a sea turtle rehabilitation internship, and in January 2023 ventured to Australia for a volunteer tagging program with flatback sea turtles. Last season, she was a nighttime sea turtle research technician in Georgia.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my journey and am incredibly grateful to have worked with four species of sea turtles in two different countries,” Lauren said. “I’m looking forward to all the nesting mommas this season.”

Cori Bratt, Nighttime Sea Turtle Intern

image of woman smiling

Cori grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, and has a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in marine science from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She discovered her passion for sea turtle research while taking a course on sea turtle conservation and ecology at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, where she had the opportunity to participate in a research and conservation project with nesting diamondback terrapins in the salt marshes around the island. She was also able to participate with diamondback terrapin husbandry hatchlings in a head-starting program in Birmingham. 

“I am currently finishing my undergraduate research capstone project, which is analyzing tagging and recapture data of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles,” Cori said. “I’m looking forward to working with the team at SCCF!”

Riona Lahey, Shorebird Intern

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Riona is a new alum of the University of Florida, graduating this year with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology and conservation. During her undergraduate career, she worked for Everglades National Park assisting with various projects ranging from invasive species management to sea turtle nest monitoring. She also interned with the Alachua Audubon Society, where she focused on tracking southeastern American kestrels, contributing to community outreach, and maintaining a native plant garden. 

“I’m very excited to join the SCCF team this season,” Riona said. “I grew up in Florida and spent a lot of days enjoying the shorebirds along the northeast coast. I’m incredibly grateful for the chance to contribute to shorebird protection while immersing myself in the beautiful ecosystems of Sanibel.” 

Amanda Manrique, Sea Turtle Technician

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Amanda returns to SCCF for her second year of working on the sea turtle team during nesting season! Originally from Dallas, she grew up far from the coast but hoped to one day dedicate herself to helping marine life. She attended the University of West Florida and received a bachelor’s degree in marine biology in 2022. After graduating, she helped rehabilitate native wildlife in the Florida panhandle. 

“It was during that time that sea turtles swam into my heart,” Amanda said. “I am so excited to commit another season to my favorite flippered friends as the morning Sea Turtle Technician!”

Martinna-Noelle Parham, Sea Turtle Intern

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Martinna was born and raised in the vibrant DC-Maryland-Virginia area, and her love for the ocean and its inhabitants runs deep. With a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from Hawaii Pacific University and a master’s degree in marine conservation from the University of Miami – Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Scienceshe’s ready to continue her work in the world of sea turtle conservation. During her master’s program, she worked as a sea turtle research assistant with CREMA in Costa Rica to complete her thesis, where she had up-close-and-personal encounters with Olive ridley sea turtles. 

“Florida has a way of pulling me back time and time again and I’m thrilled to collaborate with SCCF this sea turtle season. Contributing to conservation efforts in Sanibel-Captiva and witnessing the journey of momma turtles and their hatchlings promises to be another unforgettable chapter,” Martinna said. 


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