Meet the Team

Linda Cabot

Founder and President

Linda is a visual artist who credits a lifetime of sailing for her love affair with the ocean. She founded Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs to inspire and support the next generation of ocean caretakers. She believes in the power of the arts to raise awareness about ocean conservation and enjoys seeing all the tremendous works of creativity and ingenuity that are submitted to the program. She serves on the Board of Women Working for Oceans (W2O) and is a trustee of the New England Aquarium.

Linda is also devoted to educational reform and values quality education for all children. She serves on the boards of the Neighborhood House Charter School and Horizons, a summer enrichment program for underserved youth. She is co-chair of the education cornerstone committee and a trustee at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Eric Carstens

Program Manager

Eric has seen firsthand how early engagement with the ocean can lead to a lifelong commitment to protecting it. As a toddler, he became enamored with a jellyfish washed up on the beach. Later trips to the National Aquarium and National Museum of Natural History only cemented his love of the natural world. In college, Eric took an interest in science communication. Drawing from his love of museums, he looked for ways to engage with the environment outside of a classroom.

Eric has developed climate change programs at the Science Museum of Virginia, rebuilt coral reefs with the Coral Restoration Foundation, and helped organize a virtual science festival at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. He has a B.S. in Biology and Marine Science from the College of William & Mary and an M.A. in Museum Education from Tufts University.

Anne Chan Leslie

Operations Manager

The desire to make a difference and to be inspired has guided Anne’s career path in the social sector. As Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs’ Operations Manager, Anne oversees essential internal functions and supports the organization’s programmatic and outreach activities through public relations, grantwriting, and strategic development. Prior to Bow Seat, Anne served as Special Projects Assistant to the President at YouthBuild USA. In this unique role, Anne had the opportunity to work across multiple organizational departments such as communications, grant management, advocacy, human resources, and development. Anne has also served as Account Supervisor and Research Manager at Cone Communications, where she helped create corporate Cause Branding programs through nonprofit partnerships and consumer and employee engagement initiatives; and established Cone’s leadership position in the field. Anne earned a B.S. in Mass Communications from Boston University.

Kris Bowden

Social Media & Brand Engagement Manager

Kris brings over a decade of creative nonprofit social media and marketing experience to the Bow Seat team. Part of what makes her excited to join the crew is the idea that teenagers who submit work for the Ocean Awareness Contest are expressing a spark that may guide them through their lives with purpose and passion. She believes Gen Z will need to address critical issues — including both unforeseen challenges and those we can project happening — due to our earth’s changing climate. Kris knows firsthand how art can be used as a powerful means to create change.

In her free time, Kris volunteers for the Alpha Boys School in Kingston, Jamaica, programming an online radio station featuring alumni of their transformational youth music programme. She also enjoys traveling and visiting museums around the world. A trip to the aquarium in Tromsø, Norway, a small city in the arctic circle, pointed out the effects of climate change in a more profound way than she had ever experienced. Kris believes Bow Seat’s impact is exponentially greater by sharing teen artists’ work from all over the globe.

Sydney Cole

TikTok Intern

Sydney is a computer science major in her sophomore year at the University of Michigan. She first learned about Bow Seat when entering the Ocean Awareness Contest three years ago. Since then, she has only grown more interested in learning about and educating others on climate change and other pressing issues threatening the environment. While she unfortunately doesn’t get to see much of the ocean living in Michigan, being surrounded by the Great Lakes has let her see firsthand the beauty and importance of water. Some of her favorite memories are from summers spent on Lake Michigan’s beaches with her family and friends.

Outside of academics, she enjoys creating and editing videos, as well as drawing and painting. She knows the impact that art can have on getting involved and spreading awareness. Sydney believes in the importance of being informed on and protecting the oceans. Social media has the potential to access an audience that may have otherwise never heard about the organization, and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to work on the TikTok to help Bow Seat’s message and programs reach as many people as possible.

Hallie Dong

TikTok Intern

Hallie is a sophomore in high school in Western Pennsylvania. She has known about Bow Seat’s Ocean Awareness Contest for about two years, and most recently received an Honorable Mention for her spoken word poetry in the 2022 Contest. Hallie has always loved expressing herself and advocating for climate change justice and ocean awareness through art and writing. She enjoys running for her school’s track/cross country team, public speaking/debate, creating digital art, and writing stories for fun. Hallie is beyond excited to use Bow Seat’s social media platform as a means to spread a powerful, educational, and positive message of ocean conservation!

Future Blue Youth Council

Bow Seat’s Future Blue Youth Council is a global group of young people working together to advance Bow Seat’s mission and to empower fellow peers to advocate for their future and for our environment. Click here to view past Councils.

2023 COUNCIL MEMBERS
Elizabeth Akomolafe
16 | Georgia, USA

A multimedia artist and passionate student leader, Elizabeth is eager to use and grow her skillset in this new role. As an activist and advocate for justice, she is heavily involved in her school’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programs, and is highly interested in learning about and contesting the systems that keep environmental racism in place. She has spent countless years in leadership positions and will be stepping down as the Student Head of School in the Spring of 2022 to pursue her passion for engineering – to create a better world. Additionally, Elizabeth is an athlete who loves contributing to campus life and her personal growth through varsity sports like track and field, swimming and diving, etc. She is the founder of her school’s Electronics & Robotics club, and Multicultural affinity, as well as President of the Model United Nations Team and Vice President of the Tech For All club. A fun fact about her is that she is a fire cadet, and is determined to make her mark on society through meaningful contributions!

Aarushi Ammavajjala
16 | Georgia, USA

Aarushi is an avid environmentalist and passionate advocate for the future. In addition to her officer position in her school’s Environmental Club, she has sought out opportunities to continue to make change. She is a member of the RE-Volv Solar Ambassador Program, which helps convert local and national nonprofits to solar energy. She is also a member of the National Green Youth Council. She received the Gold Award in the 2021 Ocean Awareness Contest for her creative writing piece. She is super excited to be more involved with Bow Seat and to join the Future Blue Youth Council!

Dhruv Bhatt
17 | Uttarakhand, India

Dhruv is a child-rights and climate justice advocate from Uttarakhand, India. He uses emotive writing to highlight the unique climate stories of children from climate-exposed and marginalized communities. He believes that environmental justice cannot exist without the meaningful and sustained involvement of children in climate discussions. Therefore, he has engaged with young people worldwide to work on toolkits, resource lists, and online workshops geared towards informing children about their rights and guiding them towards opportunities to contribute to child-friendly environmental advocacy spaces. Back home in his state, Dhruv works with his parents on a culture-conscious, green startup that rejuvenates traditional water mills and village streams to preserve our local ways of milling flour. They generate employment in the rural areas of Uttarakhand to curb mass migration from his state.

Malika Gizzat
17 | Almaty, Kazakhstan

Growing up in a landlocked country, Kazakhstan, the demise of the Aral and Balkhash Lakes due to oil pollution and irrational usage of water has accentuated Malika’s will to contribute to a green future where we and our nature will live in harmony. However, she believe that by only making people feel guilty and frustrated will not accomplish any change; instead, we need to let young voices lead us to a thriving and prosperous world. Malika is the founder of an Eco Club, GenGreen, at her school, which unites all passionate kids who are not willing to abide by the status quo. In addition, she writes eco-themed articles for her school press, featuring latest activism achieved by teenagers from different parts of the world. Malika strives to become even more engaged in the topic of climate advocacy, and to potentially propose her own solutions to environmental issues in Kazakhstan and the world!

Satvika Iyer
16 | California, USA

Satvika is a high school junior from Milpitas, California. She has worked to integrate climate-friendly practices in her school district, including instating a daily plant-based option at the school cafeteria, serving over 5,000 meals. Satvika believes in the power of equitable policy and has worked with the White House, USDA, and members of the U.S. Congress on legislative initiatives to incentivize healthy options and minimize waste in food systems. As an Opinions Editor for her school newspaper and President of her school’s Environmental Society, she knows the impact education and conversation can have on real change. When she’s not hiking or watching “Our Planet,” you can find her playing volleyball and softball or experimenting in the kitchen, creating her new favorite snack!

Ishan Kapur
16 | Delhi, India

Ishan is a passionate diver with a keen interest in economics, politics, and the environment. He is a rising senior at Wellington College, UK. Ishan’s experiences in the oceans opened his eyes to the harsh realities of environmental pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss. Driven to develop a solution, he founded The Blue Voice, a campaign that helps conserve marine life, regrow coral reefs, and reduce pollution, while empowering weaker sections of society. Through the campaign, which is supported by the Bow Seat Fellowship Grant Program, single-use plastic bags are transformed into sleeping mats for the unhoused population in New Delhi, India.

Shaomin Kee
16 | Georgia, USA

Shaomin is an avid artist, environmentalist, and aspiring businesswoman. She is particularly passionate about endangered animals and habitat degradation. She is involved in numerous activities, such as being the owner of @keewicreations on Instagram; being a lead designer for a local design/apparel business; and running a nonprofit, Creative Diversity, to teach art to the underprivileged to reignite creativity in the younger generation. Through the Future Blue Youth Council, Shaomin hopes to spread awareness about the issue of climate change and how we can use the arts to make important changes.

Yuzuna Kudo
17 | California, USA

Passionate about sustainability, environmental science, and ArcGIS, Yuzuna hopes to serve communities disproportionately affected by climate change through environmental law. As the student ex officio member of Glendale’s Sustainability Commission, she helps guide policymaking and is the lead of the Commission’s public outreach and green spaces/urban heat island projects. When she is not competing with her mock trial or moot court team, she participates in and develops citizen science projects using ArcGIS. ArcGIS has provided Yuzuna with many opportunities: she received Bow Seat’s Silver Award for her StoryMap and presented her methane monitoring project at the Esri Climate GIS Forum. She looks forward to inspiring meaningful leadership and promoting environmental stewardship across the globe with the Future Blue Youth Council.

Ariana Piscoya
16 | Lima, Peru

Ariana is enthusiastic about science, learning languages, marine biology, and soccer. After the oil spill on Peruvian beaches in 2022, which caused the deaths of hundreds of species, she decided to contribute to a solution by participating in beach cleanups. She also attended protests to raise her voice and show her concern about the environmental problems her country was going through. Ariana believes the Future Blue Youth Council is the best way to achieve her goal of spreading awareness among young people, since they have the power to shape the future. When she is not reading the latest news about oil spills around the world, she is volunteering at tree-planting campaigns, assisting dog shelters, or organizing recycling projects with her friends.

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Sarah Robison
19 | Florida, USA

Sarah is a college sophomore studying biology on the pre-veterinary track and is passionate about the natural sciences, environmental activism, climate justice, and field of animal studies. Sarah strives to excel in STEM while pursuing her interests in preserving marine life and protecting the planet for future generations. She is the founder and president of the CARE Club, a nationwide environmental club started in 2020. She’s engaged in countless individual and group initiatives, including the creation of petitions, hosting of fundraisers, and participation in community events. Sarah was awarded First Place in the “A Voice for Animals” contest by the Humane Education Network and Animal Welfare Institute for her entry on the effect of plastic pollution on the endangered species of sea turtle. In her spare time, she enjoys nature walks, and her favorite creative outlet is music, especially singing. She also volunteers at the local animal shelter, veterinary clinic, and zoo to educate others on the importance of conservation efforts in helping preserve keystone species in our ecosystems. Sarah is excited to be an active member of the Future Blue Youth Council!

Jayashabari Shankar
16 | Utah, USA

A high school senior from Salt Lake City, Jayashabari is extremely excited to be serving on the 2023 Future Blue Youth Council. She is deeply interested in the intersection of science and the humanities, particularly in relating to the environment. Her work has been recognized and published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times High School Insider, United Nations’ ISSCY Competition, and the University of Edinburgh’s New Americanist Journal. Jayashabari’s natural language processing research on history education has been published in the European Union’s TODO Open Data Project. In the future, she would also like to look at the impact of different NLP models on environmental education, perhaps while working part-time in science journalism.

Riya Sharma
18 | Dubai, UAE

Riya hopes to advance sustainable development in the UAE and beyond. She believes that through advocacy for the environment, even at the grassroots level, ripples of change can be created. Her activism is propelled by the joy nature brings.

The nonprofit she founded, Biology for Better, advocates for the SDGs and for educational equity in STEM. As a MASDAR Youth4Sustainability Ambassador, FFAC Advocacy Intern, YOUNGO NDC WG member, UAE Dolphin Project volunteer, and IRENA Youth Forum member, she strives to increase dialogue on social and environmental issues. Awarded the Paryavaran Mitra Puraskar by the Indian Government, she is always looking for new, creative conservation methods and routes to collaboration with other environmental activists.

Emily Xing
17 | Maryland, USA

Emily is a high school student residing in Maryland, USA, known as home to the famous blue crabs and Chesapeake Bay. Ever since she encountered this watershed in her community, she has been fascinated with the environment: biodiversity, sustainable engineering, and how we can use the arts to promote it all. Currently, Emily conducts research at Johns Hopkins University, where she leads projects analyzing fungi that can break down oil spills and tobacco-control methods. Her science writing work has been published in the New York Times, and she is a Conrad Challenge “Pete Conrad Scholar” for her biodegradable menstrual product invention. She’s incredibly excited to serve on the Future Blue Youth Council this year, and to keep fighting climate change!

Sunook Yoon
16 | North Carolina, USA

Sunook is a youth leader who is dedicated to helping his community and the environment. Attending Episcopal High School as a student-athlete, Sunook is the co-founder of the Environmental Droners, which is a youth-led initiative that helps reduce the amount of pollution in the environment using technology. Using drone technology to raise awareness about environmental issues and mobile/cellular technology to create global collaboration, he makes sure to be the light that sparks youth leaders around the world to pursue their passions and be the change for their community, environment, and world.

Ocean Awareness Contest Judges

ART
Carolina Aragón

Carolina is an Assistant Professor in the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As a public artist, Carolina engages in transdisciplinary collaborations—where art, science, technology, and community, coalesce—to create innovative art installations designed to increase public engagement with local issues of climate change. Carolina recently has been named as one of 2020 Codaworx Creative Revolutionaries; her artwork has been displayed at the World Bank’s Art of Resilience exhibit, as well as showcased in multiple venues, including the National Park Service’s “100 Years of Arts in the Parks.”

Bob Chen

Bob is a professor and the Interim Dean of the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He received his A.B. from Harvard University in Chemistry and Physics and his Ph.D. in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, he has remained at UMassBoston since 1993. His research interests include carbon cycling in coastal waters, contaminants in urban harbors, and the application of coastal sensor networks to societal needs. He is also dedicated to ocean and environmental science education and outreach at the local, national, and international levels.  He led the Watershed-Integrated Sciences Partnership (WISP; wisp.umb.edu), COSEE OCEAN (coseeocean.net), Boston Science Partnership, Boston Energy in Science Teaching (bostonscience.net), and NSF IGERT Coasts and Communities (https://www.umb.edu/igert) projects. His work on Informal Science Education includes the Innovative Engagement: A Mass Transit Model for Informal Science Learning (sciencetogo.org) and Cool Science: Art as a Vehicle for Intergenerational Learning. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in the area of coastal observations, carbon cycling, contaminant distribution and fate, and environmental education.

Ely German

Ely is a multidisciplinary artist, Bow Seat alumna/judge/friend! She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2021 with a BFA in Studio Art, and is a full-time Art Director at the coolest ad agency in Dallas, 3 Headed Monster. Her art lives across mediums and disciplines because conceptual consideration is at the core of her practice. Ely believes in the power of art to create conversation through collaboration.

Ari Hauben

Ari is a contemporary artist based in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood. His work consists of multimedia works, which cover a broad spectrum of topics, styles, and materials. His art resides in collections spanning the globe and has been shown throughout Boston and beyond, including being featured at the Museum of Fine Arts.

In addition to creating compelling art, Ari also operates under the alias Mr. Hauben, or Mr. H to his students. Ari has taught for over a decade in a 100% special education Boston Public High School, designed for students who struggle with emotional and behavioral challenges. Ari was named 2018 Boston Public School Educator of the Year.

@arihaubenart
www.arihauben.com

Nigella Hillgarth

Following a career as a biologist—first as an academic and then an administrator—Nigella has combined her passion for the environment and science with photography. She is particularly interested in expressing the environmental issues that face us today through images that capture the beauty of our planet but remind us of the problems we face, especially climate change and the ocean. Nigella is presently a visiting scientist at the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels at the University of Washington, and a founding member of the consulting group Ocean Collectiv.

Sofia Jain-Schlaepfer

Sofia sits among many worlds: art, science, writing, conservation, nature education. She has a BSc in Environmental Science (Carleton University) and MSc in Marine Biology (James Cook University) and has spent 5 years conducting marine and aquatic research. She is also a self-taught artist who works and brings conservation science to life through infographics (wiseart.net). Recently she moved to a small island off the west coast of Canada to reconnect with her original inspiration for it all: nature. Here she has been learning about nature connection practices as taught by the 8 Shields Institute. She assists in running programs that connect people to nature through animal tracking, bird language, ancestral skills, ethnobotany, etc. She hopes to bring awareness and connection to nature through her current paintings and writing.

Brenda Leong

Brenda, an Artists For Humanity (AFH) alumna, continued intensive study in the arts in college, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design from Syracuse University. Following her passion for the arts, Brenda returned to AFH as the Director of Curator Affairs to coordinate exhibitions by curating teen-created artworks for individuals, businesses, and the community. In her endeavor, she combines her love for design and her passion for social enterprise as a vehicle for youth development.

Nadine Lloyd

Nadine is a mixed-media artist and art teacher in Maui, Hawaii. Previously, Nadine spent time living aboard a sailboat intermittently while teaching Environmental Art at The Island School in Eleuthera, The Bahamas. This experience heightened her passion for ocean conservation and the power of art advocacy. She holds a BFA in Fine Arts from Bemidji State University and a MA in Art Integration from Montana State University. Currently, Nadine enjoys surfing, trail running, making sandcastles with her kids, and having quality conversations over a cup of coffee.

Free Marseille

Free’s current work pulls inspiration from his childhood experience of moving to America as a refugee and experiencing this country as an outsider. He loves that he belongs to multiple cultures because it helps him weave together distant narratives and create a final product that feels both foreign and familiar. His goal is for people to experience his work as dissonant dreamscapes that connect subconscious and conscious realities.

Mackenzie Martin

Mackenzie is a student at the College of the Atlantic, pursuing an education in marine biology and ceramics. She uses art as her voice when advocating for issues most important to her, such as climate change and coral bleaching. Ceramics is a way she can reach a broad audience and contribute to supporting Earth’s ocean ecosystems.

Holly Morin

Holly is the Manager of Education and Outreach at the University of Rhode Island’s Inner Space Center (ISC) located at the Graduate School of Oceanography in Narragansett. Her work at the ISC involves the development, coordination, and promotion of interactive ocean science websites and public outreach and science communication initiatives, including ocean science exploration camps, interpretive programs, professional development programming, and live, interactive ocean science broadcasts—in 2019 she hosted ship-based interactions from the Arctic AND the Antarctic!

Prior to her position at URI, Holly worked on large whale conservation and management issues with NOAA Fisheries. Holly graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Science (marine biology focus) and a minor in Art. She then went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Texas A&M University, studying the diving behavior and movement patterns of young Steller sea lions in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Lisa Reindorf

Lisa is an architect, artist, and environmental activist. She grew up in Mexico among a community of socially and politically active artists. A graduate of Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania, she has practiced as an architect and taught at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

In her career as an artist, Lisa focuses on climate change. Much of her art addresses the conflict of the natural world with constructed systems, and on sea rise due to global warming. Colorful paintings of coastal ecosystems depict sinking cities and rising seas. Lisa has authored many articles on art and the environment. She frequently lectures at universities and environmental conferences on how artists interpret climate change. Recently she was invited by the Courtauld Institute of Art in London to speak at their conference on Art and Climate Change.

Cindy Pease Roe

Artist, educator, and marine advocate, Cindy takes inspiration from her deep, immovable kinship with the sea to craft her unforgettable paintings and sculptures. A lifetime of living both on and next to the water has enabled her to express its serenity, history, function, and vulnerability. Cindy incorporates a variety of media to capture the depth of her subjects. She deftly paints historic, and often endangered, working waterfronts. But most importantly, she has garnered the interest of art lovers and environmentalists alike by collecting plastic flotsam she finds along the shoreline and transforming it into thought-provoking, visually stimulating 3D forms. Sculpting out of marine debris has become the driving force behind Cindy’s career, and serves most effectively to support her message as an eco-artist. She is the founder and creator of UpSculpt, a socially disruptive educational movement that supports the creation of art from marine debris.

Peter C. Stone

As an author, artist, and educator, Peter’s work explores the evolutionary wisdom and interconnectedness of endangered creatures, cultures, and ecosystems. Since 1983 he has presented more than 60 solo shows and over 100 group exhibitions at galleries and museums in the United States, Canada, and England. His Art & Science (STEM/STEAM) Journaling workshops bring his contagious enthusiasm for observing and understanding the natural world to students of all ages. His recent book, Waltzes with Giants: The Twilight Journey of the North Atlantic Right Whale (Skyhorse, 2012), is a moving portrait of one of earth’s largest endangered mammals, winner of the USA Best Book Awards for Children’s Hardcover Non-Fiction, and a selection of the Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club.

Jason Talbot

A well-respected muralist, sculpture and graphic designer, Jason is a co-founder of Artists For Humanity (AFH), a Boston nonprofit organization that combines art and entrepreneurship to address society’s most challenging social, economic, and racial issues. He is currently serving as Deputy Director and member of AFH’s Board of Directors. The largest employer of Boston teens, AFH provides some of the city’s most under-resourced youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design. Born and raised in Roxbury, Jason is an advocate for inner-city teens.

Jason’s reach in the Boston area extends beyond the walls of AFH’s EpiCenter. In 2009, he participated in the cohort of the prestigious Emerging Leaders Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. In 2012, Jason was chosen as one of Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders, and the following year he received the Mentor of the Year Award from Youth Design. Jason is also a member of WGBH’s Board of Advisors.

Elizabeth TiBlanc

Elizabeth is an Afro-Latina artist educator. She has served Boston Public School students and their families for nine years teaching Visual Arts, Activism, and Literacy. She is committed to creating space with teachers, students, administrators, and community members to be critical of programming in schools in order to respond to the needs of the school community through dialogue, professional development, and social intervention. In her personal art practice, she uses photography, text, and found objects and performance to discuss how language and heritage shapes identity and defines our societal realities. She is also committed to creating safe spaces for young Black and brown students and their white allies to learn and create. She is a proud wife and mother and enjoys cooking and feeding folks as an act of love and wellness.

Gwenan Walker

Gwenan is a rising junior at USC double majoring in animation and human biology with a minor in marine science. She was the recipient of the Gold Award in the Senior division of the 2019 Ocean Awareness Contest, and is so excited to be coming back as a judge!

Ocean Awareness Contest Judges

FILM
David Abel

An award-winning reporter and documentary filmmaker, David has covered war in the Balkans, unrest in Latin America, national security issues in Washington D.C., terrorism in New York and Boston, and climate change and poverty throughout New England. David and his colleagues at the The Boston Globe won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for their coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. David now covers environmental issues at the Globe, focusing mainly on climate change.

David has directed many award-winning films, including: “Sacred Cod,” about the historic collapse of the iconic cod fishery in New England; “Gladesmen: The Last of the Sawgrass Cowboys,” about the government’s $16 billion effort to restore the Everglades, one of the planet’s most damaged ecosystems;  “Lobster War: The Fight Over the World’s Richest Fishing Grounds,”about a climate-fueled conflict between the U.S. and Canada over waters that both countries have claimed since the end of the Revolutionary War; and “Entangled,” about how climate change has accelerated a collision between one of the world’s most endangered species, North America’s most valuable fishery, and a federal agency mandated to protect both.

Ainsley Cunningham

Ainsley’s love for the ocean was fostered by the summers she spent as a child on Jeju Island, South Korea. Ainsley has always found great freedom and joy in creating art, and she loves discovering new ways to merge science and the arts to tell powerful stories with the potential to inspire change. She is currently studying Cognitive Science and History at UC Berkeley.

Nicolle Fagan

Nicolle is Group Account Director at GYK Antler, a full-service, creative ad agency with offices in Boston and Manchester, New Hampshire. She brings over 10 years of experience in global marketing, with a particular emphasis on effectively using storytelling to drive action. As former Marketing Director for the New England Aquarium, Nicolle focused on repositioning the Aquarium as a conservation organization, while also driving ticket sales. She also led the organization’s communication strategy through the Aquarium’s reopening process during COVID-19.

Nicolle is also the co-founder of the Palau Pledge, a groundbreaking environmental initiative that won the inaugural Cannes Lion dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals, along with a D&AD black pencil, multiple Clio, and other leading advertising industry awards. The initiative has since been adopted by a number of destinations across the globe, including New Zealand.

Molly Hirsch

Molly is a recent college graduate with a B.A. in Cinema and French who has just returned from a year abroad in France. She is a documentarian, poet, all around artist and, most importantly a dreamer and doer with an important mission to make Earth a better place for all of its inhabitants.

Megan McInerney

Megan is a writer and educator currently living in Missoula, Montana, where she is pursuing an M.S. in Environmental Writing & Education. She holds an M.A. from the Bread Loaf School of English. She has five years of experience teaching at the high school level, including two years at The Island School in the Bahamas where she taught “Literature of the Sea” and worked with student groups to survey beach plastic and raise awareness of plastic pollution. Her work has appeared in Camas: The Nature of the West, Flyway Journal of Writing & Environment, and Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies.

Puckerbrush Animation

Hanji Chang is a Taiwanese-Korean painter, illustrator, graphic designer, and animator. She also teaches animation at Maine College of Art. Andy O’Brien is a Rockland, Maine-based writer, voice actor, and co-founder of O’Chang Comics and Puckerbrush animation. He is also the communications director for the Maine AFL-CIO. Hanji and Andy co-founded Puckerbrush Animation, which produces the popular “Temp Tales” cartoon series as well as educational and commercial animations.

Georgia Stockwell

Georgia is a Miami-based filmmaker and environmental communicator with 10+ years working in the film industry. She is currently a master’s student at the University of Miami’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, studying in the Environment, Culture + Media program. Her research interests include: marine anthropology, sensory ecology, ecopsychology, and multispecies ethnography. Georgia also holds a professional certificate from UCLA in Environmental Sustainability, and a joint bachelor’s degree from the University of Edinburgh in Art History and English Literature.

Ocean Awareness Contest Judges

INTERACTIVE & MULTIMEDIA
Nora Chovanec

Nora is a graphic designer, multimedia producer, and environmentalist. Her experience spans work on food systems, sustainability design, species advocacy, environmental justice, globalization, and urban/rural development. She holds a BFA in Fine Art (with concentrations in photography and printmaking) from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and a BA in International Women’s Studies from Tufts University. Her background includes over a decade as a designer and researcher for architect Maya Lin’s science-based art memorial What Is Missing? as well as a diverse catalogue of documentary photography and video stories produced across North America. Nora is currently the Deputy Director for Texas Farmers’ Market and Design Director at Travis Audubon. Nora is passionate about helping communities build sustainable practices that support and conserve the natural environment, and she believes the space for understanding and change begins with conversation and creativity.

Sam Fleming

Sam lives in Chilmark, MA, on Martha’s Vineyard and in Cambridge, MA. He worked for more than three decades in public radio at WBUR in Boston overseeing the news and content. He’s married to Emily Bramhall, who lives on the Vineyard full-time. He has a 33-year-old son, Wilder, who is also a journalist. Sam grew up in central Pennsylvania outside of Harrisburg.

Aileen Han

Aileen is a junior at MIT who is majoring in computer science. She started programming in fifth grade, where she was immediately drawn to the endless possibilities of using coding to help people. In her freshman year, she took a web development course where in a team of three, she built a website to take people on virtual vacations during the COVID era.

Designing and programming are some of her main passions, and she is eager to share her knowledge while also helping the environment. Aileen served as Bow Seat’s Digital Design and Web Development Intern in 2022.

Trevor Roberts

Trevor lives and works in Central Pennsylvania, where he is an avid advocate for the outdoors, a favorite destination for his wife, Jeanette, and three kids. Favorite activities include hiking, kayaking, and camping. His passion for the outdoors started in his youth when he got his Scuba Diving certification, which was a catalyst to explore. Trevor is the co-founder and managing partner of Cross & Crown, a digital agency committed to helping their clients educate, advocate, and thrive in a digital world.

Ocean Awareness Contest Judges

PERFORMING ARTS
Kai Shinnosuke Kubota-Enright

Kai is a composer and pianist from Vancouver, British Columbia, and has recently graduated with a Bachelors in Composition from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, studying composition with Melissa Hui and piano with Sara Laimon. Their musical output encompasses a variety of works for both concert and film, as well as contributions to various interdisciplinary projects. Their music often incorporates improvisational, electronic, and site-specific elements, and may be found as part of larger multimedia collaborations involving dance, installation art, and projection art. Their concert music primarily focuses on the relationship between sound and spatial environments, both natural and human-made, as well as how these various elements interact with personal memories and subjectivities; drawing from a variety of western and Japanese influences. In 2018 they received an award from Bow Seat for their piece “Aquas,” which utilizes a motif derived from climate data of the seas and terrain, and have also returned annually as a judge for musical works that respond to the climate crisis. As well, in 2019 they received a SOCAN Foundation Young Composer Award for Isaac, an electroacoustic piece which explored the fragmentation of memory and psyche. From 2021-2022 at McGill they completed a brass quintet “Dream Transmission of Phoenix” as the Composer-in-Residence, and are currently working on scores for short and feature-length independent films.

Ademola Lewis

Ademola is a Brooklynite. He is a poet, singer, screenwriter, musician, orator, and aspiring voice actor. He has been performing on as many stages as he can since he was 2 years old. At the age of 8, he was performing and writing his own work. His views of the world and what he wanted to contribute were solidified after singing the Black National Anthem and The Greatest Love at Yvette Clarke’s inauguration in the 7th grade.

As an activist, wherever there is an injustice Ade has to speak up. In high school he became a member of one of the biggest youth debate organizations, JSA (Junior Statesmen of America), spreading voting awareness. As a poet, Ade took part in a poetry organization called Urban Word NYC, attending workshops and poetry slams, and serving the poetry community. Today he continues his career as an orator and activist, attending protests and marches, organizing in his community, and sharing his poems that reflect the current state of the country and how it affects his people and others who are marginalized.

Ade now takes his experience as an activist, performer, and artist to the classroom, becoming the best educator he can while teaching at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, NY. Ade utilizes his skills to create a conscious, critical, and creative classroom. His poetry curriculum is catered to grades 2-5 and incorporates art-integration methodology to engage students academically and creatively.

Currently, Ade is working on creating on a local collective to bring activists together to learn, grow, and organize effectively. He is also working on an R&B/Soul album, as well as multiple written projects for TV and film.

Saoirse Lewis

Saoirse is a student at Wesleyan University, studying Anthropology and Education. She completed a four-week Spanish immersion program in Bolivia, while also learning about weaving and music. She is continuing to write songs, and hopes to continue studying music production at school. Outside of school, Saoirse loves cooking vegan meals, hanging out with family and friends, and spending time outdoors.

Destiny Polk

Warrior and healer. Tender and unbreakable. Destiny “Divine” Polk, whose name means “That which has been firmly established, God has answered, Dance,” is an Afro-Indigenous choreographer and producer, multi-disciplinary artist, community organizer/space holder, art educator and founder of art-activist platform Radical Black Girl. Known for doing interactive art shows likes RESISTDANCE and Black Woman is God, Destiny’s work is concerned with speaking truth to a country that attempts to rewrite its own history while having actively tried to suppress African and Native American history and culture. Destiny took her Being the Change workshop to SXSW 2019 and premiered her short film “When the Sea Rises” at the ILLUMINUS Festival 2019. She was the keynote speaker for the Youth Arts for Social Change Summit in 2020 and the recipient of the National Center of Afro-American Artist’s Ralph F. Browne, Jr. Award for Civic Engagement.

Caitlin Roberts

Caitlin Roberts is a dancer, writer, filmmaker, and proud alumna of the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest. Growing up on the coasts of both Southern California and Southcentral Alaska gave her a great love of the ocean, rivaled only by her love of dance.

Currently, Caitlin is pursuing a degree in dance at Loyola Marymount University, and recently made waves by performing in the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show! As of late, she also choreographed award-winning routines for Barbara’s School of Dance & a special 9/11 memorial halftime show for the Service High School Cheerleaders.

Caitlin has been lucky enough to combine her passions for dance and the ocean in many ways, including partaking in Youth-A-Thon 2020 & being interviewed by The Sirene Project. You can also find short stories written by Caitlin in the Blue Marble Review, Canvas Literary Journal, and Skipping Stones Literary Magazine.

Kellen Vu

Kellen is an artist and musician from Phoenix, Arizona. He is currently studying Human Biology and Computer Science at Stanford University. One of his passions is using music to educate others and bridge the divide between disciplines. In 2018, he received a Silver Award from Bow Seat for his original song “Shore to Shore,” which tackled the effects of climate change on the oceans. In 2019, he wrote, directed, and edited a music video about calculus that won first place in Mu Alpha Theta’s national Mathematical Minutes contest. He now writes for The Sequels, an indie band that creates music based on books and literature. This year, he’s looking forward to seeing the inspiring work generated by students across the globe!

Ocean Awareness Contest Judges

POETRY & SPOKEN WORD
Akhila Bandlora

Akhila is an octopus lover, poet, and friend from Phoenix, Arizona. The recipient of Bow Seat’s Gold Award for Poetry, her poetry has been featured by Greenpeace USA, The Ocean Project, Joppa Flats Education Center, among others. She is studying psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, and ecology at Princeton. Akhila feels most at peace around big bodies of water, reading, or laying in the sun. She’s so excited to be a judge again this year!

Shauna Barbosa

Shauna is the author of the poetry collection Cape Verdean Blues (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Boston Review, AGNI, Iowa Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry Society of America, PBS Newshour, and others. She was nominated for PEN America’s 2019 Open Book Award and was a 2018 Disquiet International Luso-American fellow. Shauna received her MFA from Bennington College in Vermont and is currently working on a compilation of stories.

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Alondra Bobadilla

Alondra was named Boston’s first-ever Youth Poet Laureate in January of 2020. Alondra uses her writing to highlight social issues that impact her and her community. Through her own work, she demonstrates how creative expression can be a powerful tool for youth to examine feelings around issues, find their voice, and speak up about the changes they want to see for their future. Alondra is the author of a collection of poems entitled “With Clipped Wings.” She is a student at UMass Boston majoring in International Relations with a minor in Latin American Studies and Dance.

Elizabeth Bradfield

Elizabeth is the author of “Toward Antarctica,” “Once Removed,” “Approaching Ice,” and “Interpretive Work,” as well as “Theorem,” a collaboration with artist Antonia Contro. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Kenyon Review; her honors include the Audre Lorde Prize and a Stegner Fellowship. Editor-in-chief of Broadsided Press, Elizabeth works as a marine naturalist/guide and teaches creative writing at Brandeis University. www.ebradfield.com

Mary Buchinger Bodwell

Mary is the author of five collections of poetry, including / klaʊdz / (Lily Poetry Review Books, 2021), e i n f ü h l u n g/in feeling (Main Street Rag, 2018), Aerialist (Gold Wake, 2015), Virology (Lily Poetry Review Books, forthcoming) and Navigating the Reach (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming). Her work has appeared in AGNI, DIAGRAM, phoebe, Plume, Salamander, and elsewhere. Buchinger grew up in rural Michigan, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador, and earned a doctorate in linguistics from Boston University. A board member of the New England Poetry Club, she teaches at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston. (www.marybuchinger.com)

Michelle Garcia Fresco

Michelle Garcia Fresco is a Dominican poet, performer, and Programming Director based in Boston. She currently graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, with a dual degree in Creative Writing and Sociology.

Believing in the power of poetry as a medium for social justice. Garcia`s writing is often inspired by the women in her family, social and racial injustices in America, coping with loss and mental health, as well as her Dominican roots.

Her work has appeared in Wbur/The Artery, Tinderbox Poetry, the Rising Phoenix ,She is also the winner of Stirling Spoons “2020: Identity in America” contest.” Chosen by Richard Blanco, former US Inaugural Poet and author.

Kelly Hui

Kelly is a poet and abolitionist organizer from Massachusetts. She studies English, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies, and Creative Writing at the University of Chicago. She received a Silver Award in Bow Seat’s 2017 Ocean Awareness Contest, has judged for three years, and is excited to see the work this year!

Jennifer Jean

Jennifers poetry collections include THE FOOL (Big Table) and OBJECT LESSON (Lily Books), which explores sex trafficking and objectification in America. She’s also released the teaching resource OBJECT LESSON: a GUIDE to WRITING POETRY (Lily Books). Her poetry, prose, and co-translations have appeared in Poetry Magazine, Rattle, The Common, On the Seawall, Waxwing, Terrain, and as an Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day. She’s been awarded fellowships from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Disquiet/Dzanc Books, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council; as well, she received an Ambassador for Peace Award from the Women’s Federation for World Peace. Jennifer curates and hosts the popular Wilder Words reading series, and she edits poetry for Talking Writing and translations for Consequence Forum. As an arts administrator, she’s an organizer for the Her Story Is collective, which fosters collaborations between Iraqi and American women artists, and she’s the program manager of 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center’s online writing program.

Tayllor Johnson

​Tayllor is a poet, performer, writer, and educator who brings the adventure and beauty of finding self and sisterhood to life through education, creativity, activism, and community.​ As a poet and writer, she is committed to using art to give voice to the world’s unspoken needs, and guides others to discover and speak their truth and liberate themselves. In all she has done, is doing, and will do, she embodies her mission: Find new ways poetry can empower the voiceless, soothe the wounded, and disturb the status quo, setting us all on a path to freedom.

Ellen Girardeau Kempler

Ellen is an award-winning nonfiction writer and poet whose work has been extensively published both in print and online. A solo writing trip to Ireland inspired her to launch Gold Boat Journeys (Creative Cultural Travel). She is certified as an Amherst Writers and Artists workshop leader and is a member of the American Association of Writers and Writers Programs. She has 25 years of experience directing marketing communications programs for museums, aquariums, and environmental organizations. She lives near a Marine Protected Zone in Laguna Beach, California.

Christopher Kondrich

Christopher is the author of Valuing (University of Georgia Press, 2019), selected by Jericho Brown as a winner of the National Poetry Series and by Library Journal as a Best Poetry Book of 2019, and Contrapuntal (Free Verse Editions, 2013). His poetry has won The Iowa Review Award, The Paris-American Reading Series Prize, and three Pushcart Prize nominations. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-DayThe BelieverBennington ReviewCrazyhorseHarvard Review, and The Kenyon Review. The recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts, and the I-Park Foundation, Kondrich received an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts and a PhD from the University of Denver. An Associate Editor for 32 Poems, he lives and teaches in Maryland.

Sharon Lax

Sharon acknowledges that her home is on the unceded territory of the Kanyen’kehà:ka and the territory of other Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, a place called Deux-Montagnes, or Two Mountains, in Québec.

A teacher and editor, Sharon has been writing for several years. Her work includes ocean landscapes, lakes, rivers and streams and explores the worlds and perspectives of our non-human animal neighbors. Her short story collection Shattered Fossils was published by Guernica Editions in 2020, and she’s working on a poetry collection and novel. Sharon’s love is nature, and she spends her summers in boreal forests and near lakes, oceans and streams. Through her teaching, writing and activism, she’s interested in closing that ever-widening breach between our natural habitat and the urban, where many of us find ourselves.

Ademola Lewis

Ademola is a Brooklynite. He is a poet, singer, screenwriter, musician, orator, and aspiring voice actor. He has been performing on as many stages as he can since he was 2 years old. At the age of 8, he was performing and writing his own work. His views of the world and what he wanted to contribute were solidified after singing the Black National Anthem and The Greatest Love at Yvette Clarke’s inauguration in the 7th grade.

As an activist, wherever there is an injustice Ade has to speak up. In high school he became a member of one of the biggest youth debate organizations, JSA (Junior Statesmen of America), spreading voting awareness. As a poet, Ade took part in a poetry organization called Urban Word NYC, attending workshops and poetry slams, and serving the poetry community. Today he continues his career as an orator and activist, attending protests and marches, organizing in his community, and sharing his poems that reflect the current state of the country and how it affects his people and others who are marginalized.

Ade now takes his experience as an activist, performer, and artist to the classroom, becoming the best educator he can while teaching at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, NY. Ade utilizes his skills to create a conscious, critical, and creative classroom. His poetry curriculum is catered to grades 2-5 and incorporates art-integration methodology to engage students academically and creatively.

Currently, Ade is working on creating on a local collective to bring activists together to learn, grow, and organize effectively. He is also working on an R&B/Soul album, as well as multiple written projects for TV and film.

Cynthia Lu

Cynthia is an undergraduate at Harvard College whose writing has been recognized by Bow Seat (2019 Gold), Bennington College, the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and YoungArts. She enjoys painting watercolors in her free time, and has a soft spot for cold, rocky New England beaches.

Duy Quang Mai

Duy Quang Mai is from Hanoi, Vietnam. His poems have been published in American Poetry Review, AAWW, diaCRITICS, among others. He is the author of the chapbook Journals to (Story Factory, 2019). More of his work can be found at duyquangmai.com.

Laura Parker Roerden

Laura has a passion for the ocean and what it can teach us. She is a poet/writer, public speaker and supporter of youth to boldly know and save the wilds. She is the founder and executive director of Ocean Matters, a nonprofit that supports youth in being stewards for the marine environment through service. Laura has over 25 years of experience nurturing and supporting social responsibility in young people including educational outreach projects she developed for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Ben & Jerry’s, the NBA, Frontline, and others. Laura’s love for literature as a tool for empowering young people stretches back to early in her career when she was briefly a high school English teacher. She serves on the boards of Women Working for Oceans (W20) and Earth, Ltd., and has a masters degree in education from Harvard University and a bachelors of arts in English Literature from Boston College.

Wesley Rothman

Wesley is the author of SUBWOOFER (New Issues, 2017). A California native, he has lived in Boston, Aix-en-Provence, Port Townsend, DC, and Chicago, never far from a major body of water. He has taught writing, rhetoric, and literature for many universities, and in other venues for young people and adult learners, including the National Gallery of Art, Grub Street Writer’s Workshop, and Upward Bound programs. His writing has been featured in Callaloo, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review, Mississippi Review, The Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, Publishers Weekly, the Golden Shovel Anthology, and elsewhere. Recipient of fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Vermont Studio Center, he teaches writing at Howard University.

Jonathan Rowe

Jonathan is a writer and copyeditor raised between Boston, Massachusetts, and Johannesburg, South Africa. His work is published or forthcoming in perhappend, The Curator, Boston Art Review, Good Cop/Bad Cop: An Anthology by FlowerSong Press, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and elsewhere. You can learn more about his work by visiting www.jonathanrowewrites.com, or by following him through Twitter @jwrowe93 and Instagram @jwinstonrowe.

Peter Stone

As an author, artist, and educator, Peter’s work explores the evolutionary wisdom and interconnectedness of endangered creatures, cultures, and ecosystems. Since 1983 he has presented more than 60 solo shows and over 100 group exhibitions at galleries and museums in the United States, Canada, and England. His Art & Science (STEM/STEAM) Journaling workshops bring his contagious enthusiasm for observing and understanding the natural world to students of all ages. His recent book, Waltzes with Giants: The Twilight Journey of the North Atlantic Right Whale (Skyhorse, 2012), is a moving portrait of one of earth’s largest endangered mammals, winner of the USA Best Book Awards for Children’s Hardcover Non-Fiction, and a selection of the Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club.

Marquis Victor

Marquis (he/him) is the Founding Executive Director of Elevated Thought (ET). He leads ET’s vision, goals, and mission, building and facilitating the art and social justice curriculum that serves as the foundation for all of ET’s creative youth development work. In addition to being a poet and artist, Marquis has a master’s degree in Education from Lesley University and compiled 7+ years of public school experience before focusing on Elevated Thought full-time. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Education at Northeastern University.

Ocean Awareness Contest Judges

CREATIVE WRITING
David Abel

An award-winning reporter and documentary filmmaker, David has covered war in the Balkans, unrest in Latin America, national security issues in Washington D.C., terrorism in New York and Boston, and climate change and poverty throughout New England. David and his colleagues at the The Boston Globe won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for their coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. David now covers environmental issues at the Globe, focusing mainly on climate change.

David has directed many award-winning films, including: “Sacred Cod,” about the historic collapse of the iconic cod fishery in New England; “Gladesmen: The Last of the Sawgrass Cowboys,” about the government’s $16 billion effort to restore the Everglades, one of the planet’s most damaged ecosystems;  “Lobster War: The Fight Over the World’s Richest Fishing Grounds,”about a climate-fueled conflict between the U.S. and Canada over waters that both countries have claimed since the end of the Revolutionary War; and “Entangled,” about how climate change has accelerated a collision between one of the world’s most endangered species, North America’s most valuable fishery, and a federal agency mandated to protect both.

Karen Alexander

Karen comes to ocean awareness through history and science. She investigates the oceans’ living past using historical documents and objects, then collaborates with scientists in order to tell a more complete, more human story about the changing ocean. She has practiced historical ecology at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and currently researches, writes and edits in western Massachusetts. Her articles include “Tambora and the Mackerel Year” (Science Advances, 2017), she has contributed to many documentaries, including Cod Comeback? (PBS 2013), and her edited volumes include Shifting Baselines, the Past and Future of Ocean Fisheries (Island Press 2011).

Dzidzor Azaglo

Dzidzor (Jee-Jaw) is an Ga-Ewe folklore, performing artist, author and educator. Dzidzor’s style of call and response, demystifying the role of a performer and using the art of poetry and story-telling as a way to invite the audience to participate in a interactive experience that challenges, inspire and encourage self to be, to dream and to love. x

Laniesha Brown

Laniesha (she/her/hers) is GrubStreet’s Program Coordinator. She holds an M.F.A in Poetry and an M.A. in English Literature from McNeese State University. Her work has appeared in The Caribbean Writer, The Hunger, the minnesota review, and more. She has also been recently featured as a 2021 Boston Poet of the Day by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing fetch with her cats and eating fried plantains.

Liz Cunningham

Liz is the author of of the award-winning Ocean Country: One Woman’s Voyage from Peril to Hope in her Quest to Save the Seas, with a foreword by Carl Safina, and Talking Politics: Choosing the President in the Television Age. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Alternet.org, Earth Island Journal, GreenBiz, the Marin Poetry Center Anthology, The Outward Bound International Journal, Seven Seas Magazine, Times of the Islands, and The San Francisco Chronicle. She has collaborated with institutions such as the Academy for Educational Development, the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the Tides Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. An accomplished public speaker, she speaks to audiences in a wide range of settings, from inner-city high schools to universities and large public venues such as the Commonwealth Club, The New York Times Building, and the New England Aquarium. She is the co-founder of KurtHahn.org, the online archive for the founder of Outward Bound, Kurt Hahn. Learn about her work at www.lizcunningham.net.

Kayla Degala-Paraíso

Kayla (she/they) is a creative writing instructor at GrubStreet and an activist-on-hiatus. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and a B.A. in Comparative Politics from Pitzer College. Her political work focuses on labor, immigration, transformative justice, and human rights. Her writing has been published in [PANK] Magazine, miniskirt magazine, and Okay Donkey; and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Creative Nonfiction. In Fall 2022, Kayla will begin a dual Masters degree program in Public Policy and Social Welfare at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. As a returning judge, Kayla is excited to once again witness youth power at this imperative intersection of activism and artistry.

Rick Edie

Rick is a sixth and seventh grade English teacher at the Dedham Country Day School in Dedham, MA. Though more of a hiker and fresh-water person, he has frequent contact with the ocean when he visits family on Cape Cod and Jamestown, RI, where he enjoys kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating. Two of his daughters attended The Island School, and their experience has helped him appreciate the importance of protecting our oceans and the marine life in them.

Jenna Gersie

Jenna teaches environmental literature at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she is pursuing her PhD in English. Her love of the ocean stems from a childhood connection to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She has done undergraduate research on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, monitored sea turtle nests in Florida and Indonesia, and taught literature and writing at The Island School in The Bahamas. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in Orion, About Place Journal, and Zoomorphic, and she is managing editor of The Hopper, an environmental literary magazine.

Anna Guzman

Anna is a student at the University of Chicago studying Political Science and Public Policy. She is passionate about the intersection of political advocacy, environmental issues, and creative writing. Anna won the Ocean Awareness Contest’s Silver Award in Senior Prose in 2018, and an Honorable Mention in Junior Poetry in 2016. She is very excited to return to Bow Seat this year as a judge!

Nakia Hill

Nakia is a writer, educator, and journalist. She was the co-writer and lead interviewer for Double Elvis’ Here Comes the Break, a hip-hop inspired audio drama podcast. Nakia is a founding board member of Boston Art Review. In 2018, Nakia was named a Boston Artist-in-Residence by Mayor Marty Walsh. During her residency, she published two books: Water Carrier and I Still Did It. Nakia also explored how art influences government policy and launched the Boston Women in the Workplace survey, where she gathered narratives from women about navigating the work sector in Boston. Nakia’s work focuses on archiving Black women and girls stories through print publications and empowering them to use writing as a tool for healing, advocacy, and resistance.

Eson Kim

Eson’s work has appeared in Sycamore Review, Stories from the Stage, and more. She is the recipient of The Studios at MASS MoCA Writing Residency, a NJ Council on the Arts Fellowship, and the David B. Saunders Prize for Creative Nonfiction. She holds an MFA from Emerson College, and serves as the Director of Community Engagement at GrubStreet.

Sharon Lax

Sharon acknowledges that her home is on the unceded territory of the Kanyen’kehà:ka and the territory of other Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, a place called Deux-Montagnes, or Two Mountains, in Québec.

A teacher and editor, Sharon has been writing for several years. Her work includes ocean landscapes, lakes, rivers and streams and explores the worlds and perspectives of our non-human animal neighbors. Her short story collection Shattered Fossils was published by Guernica Editions in 2020, and she’s working on a poetry collection and novel. Sharon’s love is nature, and she spends her summers in boreal forests and near lakes, oceans and streams. Through her teaching, writing and activism, she’s interested in closing that ever-widening breach between our natural habitat and the urban, where many of us find ourselves.

Cynthia Lu

Cynthia is an undergraduate at Harvard College whose writing has been recognized by Bow Seat (2019 Gold), Bennington College, the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and YoungArts. She enjoys painting watercolors in her free time, and has a soft spot for cold, rocky New England beaches.

Megan McInerney

Megan is a writer and educator currently living in Missoula, Montana, where she is pursuing an M.S. in Environmental Writing & Education. She holds an M.A. from the Bread Loaf School of English. She has five years of experience teaching at the high school level, including two years at The Island School in the Bahamas where she taught “Literature of the Sea” and worked with student groups to survey beach plastic and raise awareness of plastic pollution. Her work has appeared in Camas: The Nature of the West, Flyway Journal of Writing & Environment, and Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies.

Ashira Morris

Ashira is a freelance writer based between Sofia, Bulgaria and Tallahassee, Florida. Her reporting on environmental issues and the arts has been published by PBS NewsHour, Boston Art Review, and Artforum, and she writes for the Our Daily Planet newsletter. She helped organize Bow Seat and Conservation Law Foundation’s Healthy Whale, Healthy Ocean Challenge in 2019.

Sylvia Nica

Since she was young and exploring the tiny creek by her home, Sylvia has always been interested in the natural world and its preservation. A rising sophomore at Wellesley College, she hopes to combine English with climate science to create stories that spur climate action and encourage ocean conversation. She is a prose reader for Bodega Magazine and is currently interning with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. Sylvia was a Finalist in the 2020 Cincinnati Overture Awards, and she has received a Notable Award and Gold Award from the Ocean Awareness Contest.

slandie prinston

slandie is a Haitian-born writer who tests the boundaries of literary landscapes. She uses language to probe, dissect, re-imagine, engender distinct worlds and empowering realities. Her work has appeared in L’Union Suite, GRLSQUASH, Boston Art Review, and The Caribbean Writer. Currently, she is working on her first biomythograpy memoir and hopes to teach creative writing as a healing device.

Sarah Finnie Robinson

Sarah is the Founding Director of The 51 Percent Project, a climate communication initiative at Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy. She holds faculty appointments at Boston University’s College of Communication and at the Graduate Program in Urban Biogeoscience & Environmental Health.

Sarah is the founding partner of WeSpire, whose behavior-change platform is used at S&P 100 corporations to engage employees on sustainability and other purpose-driven initiatives. Her ongoing research investigates barriers and accelerators to corporate climate action, including stakeholder engagement, in collaboration with Princeton University’s Behavioral Science for Policy Lab.

Sarah serves on the Advisory Council of Boston Harbor Now and its Climate Roundtable. She is on the boards of ecoAmerica and the Planetary Health Alliance. She began her career at The New Yorker and continued at The Atlantic and at iVillage, where she was the launch content director. Publications include The Atlantic, HuffPost, and mindbodygreen. Sarah holds a B.A. in English from Princeton University, and an M.A. from the Middlebury College Bread Loaf School.

Jonathan Rowe

Jonathan is a writer and copyeditor raised between Boston, Massachusetts, and Johannesburg, South Africa. His work is published or forthcoming in perhappend, The Curator, Boston Art Review, Good Cop/Bad Cop: An Anthology by FlowerSong Press, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and elsewhere. You can learn more about his work by visiting www.jonathanrowewrites.com, or by following him through Twitter @jwrowe93 and Instagram @jwinstonrowe.

Daria Syskine

Daria recently graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in Biology and English Literature. Their hobbies include hiking, swing dancing, and LARPing; they can often be found in the mountains collecting data for field biology research.

Program Advisors

Program Advisors are artists, educators, environmentalists, and other role models who contribute to Bow Seat’s educational programming, outreach, and judging.

Tayllor Johnson, Voice of the Sea Award

A poet, performer, activist, and educator, Tayllor has been writing and performing her own poetry and plays for more than a decade. She recently received her Master’s in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, which she will use to bring conscious performance poetry curriculum into educational communities.

Jason Talbot, We All Rise Prize

Jason is a co-founder and alumnus of Artists For Humanity (AFH), a Boston-area nonprofit that fuses art-making, entrepreneurial and business training, experiential arts and STEM learning, and audience engagement to create empowering and transformational experiences for under-resourced teens. Currently serving as Deputy Director and member of AFH’s Board of Directors, Jason has dedicated the last 29 years of his life ensuring that Boston’s young people are guided towards a successful life by encouraging their self-expression through art.

Jason was selected as one of Bank of America’s 2012 Neighborhood Builders, and he has received the Mentor of the Year Award from Youth Design. Jason is a member of WGBH’s Board of Advisors, and in 2014 he was awarded a spot on the Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40.” Jason is also still producing his own brand of visionary street art.

Nakia Hill, We All Rise Prize

Nakia is a writer, educator, and journalist. She was the co-writer and lead interviewer for Double Elvis’ Here Comes the Break, a hip-hop inspired audio drama podcast. Nakia is a founding board member of Boston Art Review. In 2018, Nakia was named a Boston Artist-in-Residence by Mayor Marty Walsh. During her residency, she published two books: Water Carrier and I Still Did It. Nakia also explored how art influences government policy and launched the Boston Women in the Workplace survey, where she gathered narratives from women about navigating the work sector in Boston. Nakia’s work focuses on archiving Black women and girls stories through print publications and empowering them to use writing as a tool for healing, advocacy, and resistance.

Free Marseille, We All Rise Prize

Free’s current work pulls inspiration from his childhood experience of moving to America as a refugee and experiencing this country as an outsider. He loves that he belongs to multiple cultures because it helps him weave together distant narratives and create a final product that feels both foreign and familiar. His goal is for people to experience his work as dissonant dreamscapes that connect subconscious and conscious realities.

Yanka Petri, We All Rise Prize

Yanka is a multimedia artist and educator from Curitiba, Brazil, via Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work is inspired by her journey as an immigrant and explores gender, sexuality, intimacy, relationships, and comfortability. Shortly after graduating high school, Yanka joined Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) as a teaching artist. She also taught and mentored youth at Artists for Humanity. Yanka now serves as CCTV’s Youth Media Coordinator.

Destiny Janai Polk, We All Rise Prize

Warrior and healer. Tender and unbreakable. Destiny “Divine” Polk, whose name means “That which has been firmly established, God has answered, Dance,” is an Afro-Indigenous choreographer and producer, multi-disciplinary artist, community organizer/space holder, art educator and founder of art-activist platform Radical Black Girl. Known for doing interactive art shows likes RESISTDANCE and Black Woman is God, Destiny’s work is concerned with speaking truth to a country that attempts to rewrite its own history while having actively tried to suppress African and Native American history and culture. Destiny took her Being the Change workshop to SXSW 2019 and premiered her short film “When the Sea Rises” at the ILLUMINUS Festival 2019. She was the keynote speaker for the Youth Arts for Social Change Summit in 2020 and the recipient of the National Center of Afro-American Artist’s Ralph F. Browne, Jr. Award for Civic Engagement.

Wyze Roundtree, We All Rise Prize

Mom. Student. Advocate. Poet. Wyze found her life’s passion as a social justice activist and youth advocate, which she is redirecting toward her education. As a proud Black and Native mom of two, she devotes herself toward her degree in the human services field. Through spoken word, she aims to provoke free thinking, radical self love, and healing. Wyze’s love for spoken word developed during a time when hip hop spoke through the silence. When silence is loud, not only words are spoken, but they are heard.

Marquis Victor, We All Rise Prize

Marquis leads Elevated Thought’s vision, goals, and mission, and manages its contracts, commissions, and partnerships. In addition to being a poet and artist, Marquis has a master’s degree in Education from Lesley University and compiled over seven years of public-school experience before focusing on ET full-time; building and facilitating the art and social justice curriculum that serves as the foundation for all of ET’s creative youth development work. Marquis is currently pursuing his Doctor of Education at Northeastern University.