Reef Relief has added two staff members, Erin O’Brien and Taylor Tsacoumis, and promoted current staff member Dora DeMaria. Previous assistant program director, Alex Risius, has been accepted as a board member.
O’Brien, education coordinator, was born and raised near Buffalo, New York, and received a bachelor’s degree in marine science with a minor in environmental studies from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2018. Upon graduating she moved to the Florida Keys, where she served as a Reef Relief education intern from January to August 2019. She has also participated in an internship with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, working with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program and volunteering with the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium and the New York Marine Rescue Center.
DeMaria, education director, was born and raised in the Keys and graduated from Key West High School. She attended the Florida State University and completed her bachelor’s degree in environmental science with a focus on oceanography. She began interning for Reef Relief in 2017 as a stormwater education intern and then took on a full-time position as education coordinator, was promoted to education manager and is now the education director.
Tsacoumis, program coordinator, graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2020 with a degree in marine science. After graduation, she moved to Key West where she served as an education intern at Reef Relief. Prior to her time in Key West, she worked in Sodwana Bay, South Africa, where she researched the migratory behavior of pregnant ragged-tooth sharks.
Risius, board member, graduated from the University of Michigan in 2016 with a degree in environmental science and a concentration in wildlife conservation. Shortly after graduation, she moved to Key West to work for Reef Relief as an education intern. She later served as Reef Relief’s membership development consultant, education coordinator and assistant director. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in environmental management at Duke University.