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. Her 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. Her 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.”

Ellen Bechtel

Ellen is a Data Visualization Specialist at the US Geological Survey. She graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Environmental Studies and Geoscience, along with a healthy obsession with all things watery. For three months she sailed across the Pacific Ocean as a researcher and crew member on the SSV Robert C Seamans.

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.

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.

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 at Maui Preparatory Academy in Hawaii. 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. Previously she taught outdoor leadership for the National Outdoor Leadership School while teaching Art in Lander, Wyoming. She holds a BFA in Fine Arts from Bemidji State University and a MA in Arts Integration from Montana State University.  Nadine enjoys surfing, making sand castles 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.

Holly Morin

Holly is a Marine Biologist and Science Communication Specialist at the 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, public outreach and education initiatives, including oceanography and underwater exploration camps and tours, and other educational programs. She maintains the ISC’s social media presence and also leads 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 Reindorf grew up in Mexico among a community of artists. A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania, she is an artist, architect and environmental activist. The focus of her work is on the environment and climate change. Represented by galleries in Boston, New York, Mexico and Europe, her work is displayed in numerous solo and group exhibits. Among the many art residencies Lisa has participated in are the Balyglen Art Foundation in Ireland, the studios at MassMOCA, and a fellowship at Chateau La Napoule in France. In addition to teaching at Rhode Island School of Design, Lisa is an art writer for ArtNE Magazine and Hyperallergic. Her paintings have been featured in Hollywood movies and are in numerous corporate and private collections.

Joey Rose

Joey is a freelance muralist, illustrator, and painter. He grew up in Shingle Springs, a very small California town surrounded by golden fields and musty cows. He now resides in the Bay Area, where he received his BFA with distinction in Illustration at California College of the Arts. His whimsical magic-realist paintings are inspired most by our interconnectedness with nature. Joey has a strong emphasis on traditional media and loves painting large-scale. Joey’s mural works can be found in the Bay Area, California, and in Maui, Hawaii.

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

Jason is a co-founder and alumnus of Artists For Humanity (AFH), a Boston-area nonprofit organization that combines art and entrepreneurship to address today’s most challenging social, economic, and racial issues. 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 the arts. 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’s reach in the Boston area extends beyond the walls of AFH. 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 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.

Ocean Awareness Contest Judges

FILM
Paula Champagne

Paula is a Visual Storyteller specializing in video, documentary photography, illustration, and graphic design. Paula’s multimedia work communicates authentic human experiences. Inspired by her own experiences in the outdoors, her most recent passion projects explore and honor the connection between her identity and nature. She holds a BFA and BA in Graphic Design and Advertising from Iowa State University and an MS in Leadership & Communications from Boston College. She currently resides in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband and their dog.

Sara Ellis

Sara is a marine biologist who has studied a wide variety of animals, including lobsters, whales, seals, and octopuses. She enjoys sharing her passion about the ocean with people of all ages. Her overarching goals are to instill a sense of wonder in others and inspire stewardship of the marine environment. She currently works for the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation and serves as a Board member of the Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association. In winter months, she is a Research Associate on the Marineland Right Whale project; at other times of the year, she is a naturalist at the Seacoast Science Center. Sara has written articles on marine mammals, fisheries, oceanography, and biodiversity for magazines, newspapers, blogs, and scientific journals. Her other interests include photography, travel, scuba diving, kayaking, playing ukulele, and singing.

Nicolle Fagan

Nicolle is the Marketing Director of the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium. Prior to joining the Anderson Cabot Center, Nicolle spent over two years in the Republic of Palau, where she co-founded the Palau Legacy Project and launched the Palau Pledge, an award-winning campaign tasked with protecting the environment of the small, Pacific nation. Before moving abroad, Nicolle worked in advertising, leading the global marketing efforts for Jack Daniel’s at Arnold Worldwide. She specializes in communications strategy and has a passion for creating campaigns for social good. At the Center, she works closely with scientists to engage audiences and strengthen partnerships, building awareness of the critical work that is happening at the Aquarium to solve the ocean’s greatest challenges.

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 writer, editor, and voice actor. In addition to his cartooning work, he is also the communications director of 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 Los Angeles-based documentary video director with a background in creative writing and media studies. She holds a degree from the University of Edinburgh in Art History and English Literature and has worked variously in the film, photo, and fashion industries since 2012. She is a great lover of the outdoors and extreme adventures, and is deeply invested in supporting environmental causes and living sustainably. In her film work, Georgia aims to bring together her passion for protecting the planet, her enthusiasm for risk-taking and chance encounters, and her unique take on contemporary visual culture. Georgia also volunteers with groups like Surfrider LA and the Sierra Club ICO, and co-runs a quarterly environmental sustainability education group called Waste Watch LA.

Ocean Awareness Contest Judges

INTERACTIVE & MULTIMEDIA
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

MUSIC
Suzanne Dean

Suzanne is an arranger, composer, keyboardist, guitarist, vocalist, and educator. She is a retired Associate Professor from Berklee College of Music. During her 20 years at Berklee, Suzanne taught Music Application and Theory, Arranging 1, Harmony 2, The Music of Laurel Canyon, Women Songwriters of the 20th Century, Artistry Creativity and Inquiry, and Arranging for Songwriters. She also authored the Berklee online course Arranging 1: Rhythm Section.

Suzanne received an Associate’s Degree in music from the University of Maine in Augusta, after which she spent some years performing and was the leader of her own jazz quartet. She then attended Berklee College of Music and received a Bachelor’s of Music in Film Scoring. After a move to LA and releasing her first two albums, Dreams Come True and I Wonder, on the Nova Record label, she attended the Master’s program in Music Composition at California State University in Northridge.

Her newest EP, Come to Paradise, was released in April 2016. One of Suzanne’s songs, Ngizohmaba, was nominated for Best World Traditional Song by her Independent Music Awards fans in 2016 and 2018. She was also nominated for Best World Music Song by RoundGlass Music and was a finalist in the USA Songwriting Contest Competition in 2017.

Suzanne currently is the president of her own nonprofit organization, Artists for Wildlife Conservation (afwildc.org), which seeks to broaden awareness and take action to save vulnerable and endangered species. Afwildc holds fundraisers to help support various organizations, including Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, the Black Mambas, and International Fund for Animal Welfare to help the animals affected by the Australian wildfires.

Sara Ellis

Sara is a marine biologist who has studied a wide variety of animals, including lobsters, whales, seals, and octopuses. She enjoys sharing her passion about the ocean with people of all ages. Her overarching goals are to instill a sense of wonder in others and inspire stewardship of the marine environment. She currently works for the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation and serves as a Board member of the Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association. In winter months, she is a Research Associate on the Marineland Right Whale project; at other times of the year, she is a naturalist at the Seacoast Science Center. Sara has written articles on marine mammals, fisheries, oceanography, and biodiversity for magazines, newspapers, blogs, and scientific journals. Her other interests include photography, travel, scuba diving, kayaking, playing ukulele, and singing.

Ocean Awareness Contest Judges

POETRY
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 Once Removed, Approaching Ice, Interpretive Work and Toward AntarcticaTheorem, a collaboration with artist Antonia Contro, is forthcoming this fall. Her work has been published in The New Yorker and Kenyon Review, and her honors include the Audre Lorde Prize and a Stegner FellowshipFounder and editor-in-chief of Broadsided Press, she works as a naturalist/guide and teaches creative writing at Brandeis University. www.ebradfield.com

Mary Buchinger Bodwell

Mary is the author of four collections of poetry, including e i n f ü h l u n g/in feeling, Aerialist, and Navigating the Reach (forthcoming). Her poetry has appeared in AGNI, Salamander, Slice Magazine, The Boston Globe, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. She is president of the New England Poetry Club and professor of English and communication studies at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University in Boston.

Tim Carey

Tim taught English for 50 years at a variety of schools, including Roxbury Latin, Nobles, Middlebury College, and the Thatcher School in Ojai, California. Recently retired, he spends his time volunteering at Nativity Preparatory School in Boston and at Boston Children’s Hospital. He spends much of his free time photographing local sports events, including the BU women’s soccer team.

Jennifer Jean

Jennifer’s poetry collections include: The Fool (Big Table) and Object Lesson, which is forthcoming from Lily Books in 2021. Jennifer’s awards include: a Kenyon Review Writers Workshop Fellowship, a Disquiet Fellowship; a “Her Story Is” Residency—where she worked with Iraqi women artists in Dubai—and an Ambassador for Peace Award for her activism in the arts. Jennifer’s poems and co-translations have appeared in: Poetry Magazine, Rattle Magazine, Waxwing Journal, Crab Creek Review, DMQ Review, The Common, and more. Jennifer is the translations editor for Talking Writing Magazine and lives in Massachusetts with her husband and children. For more information, visit www.jenniferjeanwriter.weebly.com or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @fishwifetales.

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.

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), winner of the New Issues Editor’s Choice Award and an honorable mention for the 2018 Motton Book Prize. His writing often engages matters of history, race, religion, music, art, and the natural world. His poems and criticism have appeared in The Believer, Callaloo, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, The Los Angeles Review, Mississippi Review, Publishers Weekly, Southern Humanities Review, the Poets on Growth anthology, The Golden Shovel Anthology, and elsewhere. He has earned degrees from the University of San Diego, Emerson College, and Catholic University. A former Teaching Artist for the National Gallery of Art and recipient of a Vermont Studio Center fellowship, he teaches at Loyola University Chicago.

Sarah Snyder

Sarah Dickenson Snyder has written poetry since she knew there was a form with conscious line breaks. She has three poetry collections, The Human Contract, Notes from a Nomad (nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards 2018), and With a Polaroid Camera (2019). She has been a 30/30 Poet for Tupelo Press. One poem was selected by Mass Poetry Festival Migration Contest to be stenciled on the sidewalk in Salem, MA. Another poem was nominated for Best of Net 2017. Her work has been featured on The Writer’s Almanac.

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 is the Founding Executive Director of Elevated Thought (ET). He builds and facilitates the art and social justice curriculum that serves as the foundation for all of ET’s creative youth development work. He leads ET’s vision, objectives, goals, and mission, and manages ET’s contracts, commissions, and partnerships.

In addition to being a poet and artist, Marquis has a master’s degree in Education from Lesley University and has taught in Revere and Boston, Massachusetts, public schools, compiling over seven years of public school experience before focusing on Elevated Thought full-time.

A husband and father, he is currently pursuing his Doctor of Education at Northeastern University.

Ocean Awareness Contest Judges

PROSE
Dorchester-03/24/15- Boston Globe reporter David Abel Globe staff photo by John Tlumacki (metro)
David Abel

An award-winning reporter on the Boston Globe staff since 1999, David Abel 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 in New England. David, also a documentary filmmaker and an occasional professor of journalism, was part of the team that won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for the paper’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. He now covers the environment for the Globe.

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).

Ellen Bechtel

Ellen is a Data Visualization Specialist at the US Geological Survey. She graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Environmental Studies and Geoscience, along with a healthy obsession with all things watery. For three months she sailed across the Pacific Ocean as a researcher and crew member on the SSV Robert C Seamans.

Ari Daniel

Ari Daniel has always been drawn to science and the natural world. As a kid, he packed his green Wildlife Treasury box full of species cards. As a graduate student, Ari trained gray seal pups (Halichoerus grypus) for his Master’s degree at the University of St. Andrews, and helped tag wild Norwegian killer whales (Orcinus orca) for his Ph.D. at MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

These days, as Senior Digital Producer for NOVA and an independent science reporter for outlets including public radio, Ari works with a species he’s better equipped to understand – Homo sapiens. He has reported on science topics across five continents. He is a co-recipient of the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Gold Award for his radio stories on glaciers and climate change in Greenland and Iceland. Ari also co-produces the Boston branch of Story Collider, a live storytelling show about science.

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.

Sara Ellis

Sara is a marine biologist who has studied a wide variety of animals, including lobsters, whales, seals, and octopuses. She enjoys sharing her passion about the ocean with people of all ages. Her overarching goals are to instill a sense of wonder in others and inspire stewardship of the marine environment. She currently works for the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation and serves as a Board member of the Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association. In winter months, she is a Research Associate on the Marineland Right Whale project; at other times of the year, she is a naturalist at the Seacoast Science Center. Sara has written articles on marine mammals, fisheries, oceanography, and biodiversity for magazines, newspapers, blogs, and scientific journals. Her other interests include photography, travel, scuba diving, kayaking, playing ukulele, and singing.

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.

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.

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 writer passionate about local environments. She works in environmental advocacy, often collaborating with illustrators to bring scientific and legal concepts to life. She helped organize Bow Seat and Conservation Law Foundation’s Healthy Whale, Healthy Ocean Challenge in 2019. She studied journalism at the University of Florida, and her reporting has been published by PBS NewsHour, Washington City Paper, and Edible Boston.

Alumni Judges

Alumni Judges are past winners in the Ocean Awareness Contest and are emerging artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians.

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!

Molly Hirsch

Molly is an aspiring documentary filmmaker with a passion for environmental, social, and political issues. She is currently an undergraduate double-majoring in Cinema and French at San Francisco State University.

Kelly Hui

Kelly is a poet and grassroots organizer from Lexington, Massachusetts. She is a rising first-year at the University of Chicago, where she plans to study political science and creative writing. 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!

Hannah Jones

Hannah is a visual artist and past Bow Seat award winner, returning for her second year of judging. She is currently a student at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is studying Studio Arts with a concentration in Evolution and Ecology. In her free time, Hannah enjoys exploring natural spaces and photographing wild birds.

Kai Kubota-Enright

Kai is a composer and pianist from Vancouver, British Columbia, and is currently studying composition at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. He has had an interest in the ocean and environmental conservation for many years, and frequently draws musical inspiration from the sea and other natural environments in an attempt to harmonize artistic and ecological concerns. In 2018 he received an award from Bow Seat for his 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.

He has also composed for independent films, as well as numerous short films and documentaries. His music often incorporates improvisational and electronic elements, and in 2019 he received a Hugh Le Caine award from the SOCAN Foundation for his electroacoustic piece “Isaac.”

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.

Duy Quang Mai

Duy Quang is from Hanoi, Vietnam, but is currently studying in Sydney, Australia. His poetry has been published in Overland, The Lifted Brow, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and others. His poetry has been recognized by Foyle Young Poets and the John Marsden & Hachette Australia Prize, and he was a Silver Poetry Award winner in Bow Seat’s 2019 Ocean Awareness Contest. “Homeward” and “Journals to” are two of his chapbooks (Story Factory, 2018-19).

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.

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.

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!

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.