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 encountered a jellyfish washed up on the beach and could not get it out of his head. 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, taught environmental science lessons with Change is Simple, 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.

Olivia Baud

Social Media Manager and Communications Specialist

Wild spaces and strong female figures largely influenced Olivia’s passion for the arts and the environment. From an early age, she was given free reign to explore the outdoors, from the Mediterranean sea to the alpine wilderness of Colorado. Her artist grandmother also encouraged her to explore diverse mediums, inspiring her to pursue the visual arts in middle and high school at Denver School of the Arts.

Both Olivia’s arts background and experience as a dual French-American citizen have impressed on her the importance of language in all of its forms. She strongly believes in the power of storytelling to transcend borders and build global communities. It’s a belief that ultimately led her into the communications field and sparked her interest in social media.

Prior to Bow Seat, Olivia shared complex conservation initiatives with the public as a Colorado Parks and Wildlife intern; helped teach elementary-schoolers in the Summer of Arts program; and worked on a congressional campaign. She holds a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from Goucher College.

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.

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.

2021 COUNCIL MEMBERS
Sarah Ahmed
17 | Ontario, Canada

Sarah is a community mobilizer that strives to take advantage of every opportunity to make the world a better place. She is very passionate about social and environmental activism, which derives from her motivated and driven personality. She is always looking for opportunities to grow, challenge herself, and make a difference.

Sarah is also an alumna of the Greenhouse Youth Innovation Program, where she wrote and illustrated a book that educates children about the stigma surrounding people with disabilities. She serves the Multi-Action Council at her school as a Committee Chair, and is the co-founder of Muslim Artists for Justice.

Akhila Bandlora
18 | Phoenix, USA

Akhila Bandlora is an eighteen year old Freakonomics enthusiast, octopus lover, and above all, a poet. She’s lived in Phoenix, Arizona for most of her life, but is headed to Princeton University in the fall. The recipient of Bow Seat’s Gold Award for poetry in 2017, her poetry has been featured by Greenpeace USA, The Ocean Project, and Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center, among others.

Past the page, Akhila works towards environmental justice. At home, she’s an organizer with Arizona Youth Climate Coalition. Beyond, she serves on Earth Echo’s Youth Leadership Council. Additionally, in 2019, she served as a delegate for Sea Youth Rise Up, an initiative pulling young people from all over the country to Washington D.C. for Capitol Hill Ocean Week.

Akhila believes one of the most accessible ways young people can get involved in their local community is through art. To that end, she is the co-founder and co-president of Creative Youth of Arizona, an organization dedicated to providing and highlighting opportunities for creatively inclined teens in Arizona. Likewise, she co-launched Phoenix’s first Youth Poet Laureate Program.

Ainsley Cunningham
17 | New York, USA

Ainsley is a high school senior from Chappaqua, New York. Her connection to the ocean was forged during the many summers spent on Jeju Island, South Korea.

Ainsley has been involved with the Bow Seat program since she was in eighth grade. She has won multiple awards for her submissions to the film, poetry, and visual arts categories. She is passionate about the ways that art and science intersect, and is eager to apply them in her studies, activism and the world beyond.

Raúl Falcón
18 | Puerto Rico

Raúl is a 12th grade student at Colegio San José in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is president of La Lanza, the school newspaper, as well as the Environmental Committee. He is also a member of the Student Council and helps promote club activities. His love for the environment has propelled him to create films and join initiatives to promote its stewardship. He produces videos to educate about paleontology, evolutionary biology, and accurate science topics. His mission is to advocate for the environment and the improvement of societies through products or ideas. He plans to study Product/Industrial Design to create sustainable products.

Sekai Natalie Imbayarwo-Chikosi
16 | Harare, Zimbabwe

Having grown up in a country that is dependent on agriculture for sustenance, Sekai has always had a keen interest in the environment, her surroundings, and how human activities have an impact on our environment and what it has to offer. The first-hand experience of facing the consequences of years of neglect towards the environment has been a major drive in her desire to fight for the environment. Sekai has participated in several campaigns for the environment, working in conjunction with various organizations such as Mukuvisi Woodlands to come up with effective solutions to preserve our environment.

Sophia LaPalme
17 | Alabama, USA

A lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast, Sophia grew up loving the water. Ocean advocacy has been her passion since she experienced the BP Oil Spill in 2010. Sophia loves channeling the voice of nature through her writing. She received a Silver Award for her prose essay in Bow Seat’s 2019 contest, titled “Estuaries: Where the Tide Meets the Stream.” She plans to double major in marine science and journalism next year at the wonderful University of Southern Mississippi. Sophia enjoys playing with her many cats, writing too many poems, and going on adventures to fuel her photography addiction.

Sylvia Nica
19 | Ohio, USA

Since she was young and exploring the tiny creek by her home, Sylvia has always been interested in the natural world and its preservation. An incoming student at Wellesley College, she hopes to combine English with climate science to create stories that spur climate action and encourage ocean conversation. Alongside the Future Blue Youth Council, she is currently a Grant Writer for the INTERalliance of Greater Cincinnati. 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.

Ashley Park
16 | New Jersey, USA

As a high school junior majoring in commercial art and graphic design and an award winning artist, Ashley is devoted to using the power of visual arts to raise awareness and inspire people’s views and behaviors regarding environmental issues. She has produced numerous works of art with environmental themes and is especially passionate about applying her art as a tool to convey messages and educate young students in her community.

Ashley has also co-founded Generation Green, an online magazine for environmental articles, photography, and artwork, which fosters a community of writers and artists who share the goal of building a sustainable future. In addition to using the arts to further her environmental advocacy, Ashley is passionate about environmental justice and works with grassroots organizations to fight for equitable climate policies.

Jasmine Rodman
16 | British Columbia, Canada

A high school student from Vancouver Island, Canada, Jasmine lives surrounded by the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean. She’s passionate about art, science, and bringing the two together to educate and inspire. As an artist and entrepreneur, she created her own sustainable business to share her love of the ocean with the world. Through Ocean Child Creative, she creates art based on local marine life and uses creativity as a tool for conservation.

When she’s not working on conserving the oceans or painting, she enjoys baking, dancing, and any activity that involves the coast.

Jude Strelitz-Block
17 | Texas, USA

Even though he lives deep in heart of Texas, Jude Strelitz-Block has been passionate about oceans and coastal microclimates his whole life, having spent summers in South Carolina’s low country since he was a kid. A native Austinite, Jude is a junior at Austin High School, where he plays for the varsity tennis team and represents Austin High as a Peer Health Educator for a city-wide program. Jude plans to major in global and environmental studies in college. In his spare time, Jude loves to research extreme weather, aggravate his sister, root for the Longhorns, and play with his cats.

Anjali Tiwari
16 | Uttar Pradesh, India

Curiosity and a penchant for exploring unheard narratives have been the guiding forces behind Anjali’s work as a writer and environmentalist. Having been in close contact with nature and wildlife from childhood, she seeks to inspire and create awareness through her writing. She strongly believes that the first step towards change is awareness, and this conviction leads her efforts as a member of her school’s Eco Club. Anjali has organized cleanliness drives and a Plastic Awareness Day, with a reach of over 700 people. Her first book on the transformative power of friendship, Forbidden, will be published in January 2021. Anjali hopes to learn from her fellow Council members and make a genuine difference in the world.

Rose Whelan
16 | Pennsylvania, USA

Rose is a Junior at Central High School in Philadelphia, who has participated in the Ocean Awareness Contest for several years, most notably making the cover of the 2019 yearbook and receiving a gold in the 2020 Interactive and Multimedia category. Their view on the ongoing climate crisis was formed by the awareness of the effects of unfettered capitalism in America, and the lack of government action taken against fossil fuel corporations who are the root cause of ocean warming and acidification. Their goal on the Youth Council is to bring a voice to the youth of the world, so they can be heard on an international level and advocate for the planet they live on.

E Wen Wong
18 | Canterbury, New Zealand

E Wen is an accomplished poet, innovator, and community-builder. Based in New Zealand, she is the founder of P.S. Our Beaches and the winner of the 2020 National Schools Poetry Award. In 2020, E Wen graduated from Burnside High School as Dux and Head Prefect and is now studying towards an LLB/BSc at the University of Canterbury. E Wen enjoys running, biking and the outdoors, and is excited to empower young people to advocate for their future and for our blue planet.

Yutong Yang
16 | Guangdong, China

Yutong (she/her/hers) is a high school junior who hails from the seaside boomtown of Shenzhen, China. As a logophile and melophile, her taste for literature and music is quite eclectic. When she is not freewriting to emo rap, you will most likely find her delving into interdisciplinary interpretations of some 90s rock opera. Originally at sea when she sailed out into this ocean of knowledge, she is now thrilled to make some positive waves by serving on the Future Blue Youth Council. She hopes to bring back tidings of exotic findings, and serve as a bridge between languages and cultures.

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 from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is studying art at the University of Texas at Austin. She loves to create visually exciting art, whether it’s murals, animations, illustrations, installations, or paintings. In high school, Ely submitted to Bow Seat’s Ocean Awareness Contest every year, and she received the Gold Award in Film in her senior year. Since then, Ely has been judging Bow Seat’s Art category; seeing the work created by students is always incredibly inspiring!

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 Hillgarth 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 Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design from Syracuse University. Following her passion for the arts, Brenda returned to AFH as the Curator/Exhibitions Manager to coordinate exhibitions by curating teen-created artworks for individuals and businesses in the Greater Boston area. 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, a place that still serves as one of her most vibrant sources of artistic inspiration. Throughout her childhood in Westchester, New York, Ainsley has found great freedom and joy in creating art, and even as she heads across the country to UC Berkeley this fall, she is excited to discover new ways to merge science and the arts to tell powerful stories with the potential to inspire positive change.

Ainsley has been involved with the Bow Seat program since she was in eighth grade. She has won multiple awards for her submissions to the film, poetry, and visual arts categories, and she currently serves as a member of the inaugural Future Blue Youth Council.

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 an experimental documentarian, poet, and adventurer currently holding life together by her fingertips 400 miles away from her cozy San Francisco campus. She is a bi vegan goddess who dreams of France, peace and equality in all nations, timelines, and universes.

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.

O'Chang Studios

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 O’Chang Studios, 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.

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 Kubota-Enright is a composer and pianist from Vancouver, British Columbia, and is currently studying composition with Prof. Melissa Hui at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University.

They have composed for two feature length student films, as well as numerous short films and documentaries. 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. In 2019 they received a SOCAN Foundation Young Composer Award for Isaac, an electroacoustic piece.

Their music also frequently draws musical inspiration from the sea and other natural environments in an attempt to harmonize artistic and ecological concerns. 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 from approximately 1975 to 2000, researched by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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 Lewis 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

Growing up in both Southern California and Alaska gave Caitlin a great love of the ocean. It was rivaled only by her love of dance, where she works as a performer, teacher, and choreographer. The idea to combine these passions, using movement and video to portray the struggles and triumphs of ocean conservation, came to her after participating in Bow Seat’s Ocean Awareness Contest. She has been lucky enough to share her passion for dance and the ocean in many ways, including participating in Youth-a-thon and being interviewed by The Sirene Project.

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 a 19-year-old tree enthusiast, octopus lover, and above all, a storyteller. The recipient of Bow Seat’s Gold Award for Poetry in 2018, her poetry has been featured by Greenpeace USA, The Ocean Project, Joppa Flats Education Center, among others. Past the page, Akhila works locally and nationally towards environmental justice. At home, she’s served as the creative director for Arizona Youth Climate Strike and on Earth Echo’s Youth Leadership Council. In 2019, she served as a delegate for Sea Youth Rise Up, an initiative pulling young people from all over the world to Washington, D.C. for Capitol Hill Ocean Week. Akhila believes one of the most accessible ways young people can get involved in their local community and begin discussions is through art. To that end, she is the co-founder and co-president of Creative Youth of Arizona, an organization dedicated to providing opportunities and community to creatively inclined teens in Arizona. Likewise, she co-launched the Phoenix Youth Poet Laureate Program, in which one teen serves as the literary ambassador for the city. Now, she attends Princeton University, where she studies ecology, anthropology, and psychology. Last summer, Akhila interned at Bow Seat, and now serves on their Future Blue Youth Council. She’s super excited to be a judge 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.

Alondra Bobadilla

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Alondra found and nurtured her love for writing since she learned her first letters. She also has participated in multiple performance art forms since she was a little girl, finding ways to express herself beyond poetry alone. Alondra spends her free time with friends and loved ones, always trying to put first the people who matter most. She is a student at Fenway High School, and was named Boston’s first-ever Youth Poet Laureate in January 2020.

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 six collections of poetry, including e i n f ü h l u n g/in feeling (2018), Aerialist (2015), and / klaʊdz / (forthcoming). Her work has appeared in AGNI, Salamander, Boston Globe, Massachusetts Review, Plume, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and elsewhere. She grew up on a farm in Michigan, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador, studied linguistics at Boston University. She is mother of two sons, president of the New England Poetry Club, and professor of English and communication studies at MCPHS University in Boston. Her website is www.marybuchinger.com.

Kelly Hui

Kelly is a poet and organizer from Lexington, Massachusetts. She studies political science and creative writing at the University of Chicago. Her work has been recognized by the YoungArts Foundation, Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and the Boston Mayor’s Poetry Program. She received a Silver Award in Bow Seat’s 2017 Ocean Awareness Contest and is excited to see the work this year!

Jennifer Jean

Jennifer’s poetry collections include OBJECT LESSON (Lily Books) and THE FOOL (Big Table). 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, Waxwing Journal, Rattle Magazine, Crab Creek Review, DMQ Review, On the Seawall, Salamander, The Common, and more. She’s been awarded a Peter Taylor Fellowship from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, a Disquiet FLAD Fellowship from Dzanc Books, and an Ambassador for Peace Award from the Women’s Federation for World Peace. Jennifer is also the translations editor at Talking Writing, a consulting editor at the Kenyon Review, and a co-translator of Arabic poetry and organizer for the Her Story Is collective. Jennifer lives in Massachusetts and is the program manager of 24PearlStreet, the Online Writing Program at the Fine Arts Work Center.

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 Girardeau Kempler, M.A., 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 is a teacher, editor, and author. Her collection of short stories, Shattered Fossils, is published by Guernica Editions. For much of her life and, coincidentally, with a birthday that falls on Earth Day, Sharon has put her strength behind advocating for change to our collective mindset, to see how this planet, its plants, and all Earthlings are intricately connected. In her teaching, her activism, and art, she has seen how human imagination can build on these connections.

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

Originally from Belmont, Massachusetts, Cynthia grew up spending summers on Cape Cod, and the ocean has always been an important part of her life. Her writing has been recognized by Bow Seat, Bennington College, the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and YoungArts, while her poems have been published in Rust + Moth and Sine Theta Magazine. She currently studies at Harvard College, and enjoys painting and succulent gardening in her free time.

Duy Quang Mai

Duy Quang Mai is a forthcoming freshman at the University of British Columbia, originally hailing from Hanoi, Vietnam. His poems have been published or are forthcoming from The American Poetry Review, diaCRITICS, AAWW, and others. He is the author of the chapbooks “Homeward” and “Journals to” (Story Factory, 2018-19).

Laura Parker Roerden

Laura Parker Roerden 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 too 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 The Believer, Callaloo, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review, Mississippi Review, The Missouri Review, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, Publishers Weekly, Southern Humanities Review, the Golden Shovel Anthology, and elsewhere. Recipient of fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Vermont Studio Center, he lives near Chicago.

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 Alexander 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 Afro-folklore performance poet, educator, and curator. Dzidzor’s style of call-and-response has re-imagined poetry and storytelling as a way to include the audience in an experience to challenge, inspire, and encourage self beyond traditional forms. Dzidzor thinks of herself as a storyteller whose responsibility is to alarm the power/abundance we have in the midst of our own bodies… redefining the relationship with ourselves in order to be in community with folks.

Dzidzor began performing through slam poetry and has curated welcoming spaces and interactive performances, including Black Cotton Club, New Roots Church, and Rosie’s Place. Her debut poetry collection, “For Girls Who Cry in Yellow,” explores the healing process through the perspective of an African woman. Dzidzor has twice been nominated for a Boston Music Award.

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/her/they/them) is a writer, community organizer, and popular educator. She teaches creative writing classes at GrubStreet, primarily through the Young Adult Writers Program. Her political work centers immigration, labor, ending gender-based violence, and human rights. As a Bow Seat judge, Kayla is especially excited to engage with youth voices through this imperative blend of intersectional activism and artistry.

Kayla holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and a B.A. in Comparative Politics from Pitzer College. Her published work will debut Fall 2021.

Rick Edie

Rick Edie 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 was named a Boston Artist-in-Residence in 2018 by Mayor Walsh. She is an author, journalist, and educator who focuses on empowering women to use writing as a tool for healing. She is the founder of Girls, Write!, a creative writing program for girls of color in Boston, and she is the director of the Writers’ Room program at 826 Boston.

Eson Kim

Eson serves as the Director of Community and Youth Programs at GrubStreet, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her stories have appeared in Calyx Journal, Denver Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, among others. She received a Writing Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and earned the David B. Saunders Award for creative nonfiction. She was also named to the Notable list of Best American Essays. She’s appeared on Radio Boston’s Summer Reads series and Stories from the Stage (WGBH). She loves any opportunity to talk about books for all ages.

Sharon Lax

Sharon is a teacher, editor, and author. Her collection of short stories, Shattered Fossils, is published by Guernica Editions. For much of her life and, coincidentally, with a birthday that falls on Earth Day, Sharon has put her strength behind advocating for change to our collective mindset, to see how this planet, its plants, and all Earthlings are intricately connected. In her teaching, her activism, and art, she has seen how human imagination can build on these connections.

Cynthia Lu

Originally from Belmont, Massachusetts, Cynthia grew up spending summers on Cape Cod, and the ocean has always been an important part of her life. Her writing has been recognized by Bow Seat, Bennington College, the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and YoungArts, while her poems have been published in Rust + Moth and Sine Theta Magazine. She currently studies at Harvard College, and enjoys painting and succulent gardening in her free time.

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. An incoming student at Wellesley College, she hopes to combine English with climate science to create stories that spur climate action and encourage ocean conversation. Alongside the Future Blue Youth Council, she is currently a prose reader for Bodega Magazine and is involved with INTERalliance, a local Cincinnati nonprofit. 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 is a rising junior from Cupertino, CA, currently studying Biology and English Literature at Swarthmore College. They take every opportunity they can to get outside, whether that’s backpacking in the Sierra Nevada, crawling under logs looking for beetles in Virginia, or counting harbor seals out on the waters of Long Island Sound.

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, journalist, and educator who focuses on empowering Black women and girls of color to use writing as a tool for healing + resistance. A native of Roxbury, Nakia was named a Boston Artist-in-Residence in 2018 by Mayor Walsh. Nakia is the author of two books: Water Carrier and I Still Did It. She is the first Black woman to become an editor at Boston Art Review.

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.