"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." -John Quincy Adams

Board Member | Executive Committee

Steven D. Robertson

Steven is a founding member of Shore Lab Discovery Center and the driving force behind The Science Ship™ and the inspiration for Stevie’s Morning Star Adventures©. He has spent over 35 years in science education at several prestigious public aquariums and has seen firsthand how putting your hands on science can change a life. His continued life goal is to promote science education and an appreciation for the natural world. Steven is an educator, well published, featured in news articles and documentaries. He has served as senior advisor domestically and abroad for many prominent Aquarium projects. Steven was formerly the Curator of the Dallas Aquarium, Texas State Aquarium, Florida Aquarium and the Executive Director of the Acquario di Genova, Italy. Steven has worked in the public and private sector and is skilled at uniting both. His innovative views on education have succeeded in changing the lives of many students, young and old alike.

Steven is a scientist, explorer, adventurer, sailor, horseman, fisherman, marksman and a member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences.

Board Member | Executive Committee

Sandra L. Gilchrist, PhD

Sandra is a long standing Board of Directors member and the creative force behind our education programs. She is the co-creator of the documentary series-"Gifts from the Sea". Sandra is a marine biologist, environmental scientist and a faculty member of the University of South Florida, New College Campus. She was appointed Director of the Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center in 2006. Her faculty position began at USF upon completing postdoctoral work at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Sandra received her Master’s Degree from Old Dominion University in Biological Oceanography and her PhD from Florida State University in Biology. Her expertise is in population biology of crustaceans and in disease resistance of Caribbean Corals. Sandra is also well known for her interest and expertise in informal science education, receiving the Sarasota Chapter NAACP Education Freedom Award in 2006. She has published both scientific and educational articles and has served on national committees including the education committee of the National Association of Marine Laboratories and locally as a member of the Science and Environmental Council of Sarasota County.

Board Member | Executive Committee

Jamie Creola, Director of Education

Jamie has over 25 years' experience in nonprofit leadership, strategic planning, fund raising and grant writing. She has a strong background in interpretive planning, community partnerships, board development, regional and national youth STEAM initiatives. Jamie has devoted her life to science education by working for aquariums, zoos, natural history museums, and science centers across America. She is a teacher, mentor and advisor for undergraduate and graduate students. Jamie is mission-driven and eager to deliver on her passion to link informal education with scientific research and conservation efforts. She is adept at engaging and inspiring minds through innovative programming and partnerships in nature and science. 

Jamie’s love of science and nature began in early childhood, prompting her to receive her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She developed a love of informal marine science education and went on to earn her Master of Arts in Science Education from Louisiana State University. Currently, she is the Vice President of Education for the Institute for System Biology in Seattle, Washington. She came to Seattle from Dallas, Texas where she was the Vice President of Learning and Engagement for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Prior to that she was the Vice President of Education for the Woodland Park Zoo, Director of Education and Visitor Services for the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Director of Education for the Utah Museum of Natural History, Curator of Education for Youth ALIVE! and Director of Programs for the Louisiana Arts and Science Museum.  She has also lent her education expertise to The Florida Aquarium, in Tampa, and the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Board Member | Executive Committee

R. Michael Byrnes

Michael is a founding member of Shore Lab Discovery Center. Michael is a successful business man and entrepreneur. In his early years he was a naval cadet in the British Navy.  An honor not easily won by an American. Later in life his direction turned to marine sciences and he attended the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.  Marine Biology was spiritually rewarding for Michael but the business world was his true calling. Over the past thirty five years Michael has been involved in Business Management and Development. He has started and sold several companies.

Board Member | Executive Committee

Van Gilbert

Van is a founding member of Shore Lab Discovery Center. Van is a prominent thirty-five year veteran of the New Mexico Architectural scene.  Van’s passion is for cultural architecture.  His firm’s mission is to create structures that influence culture and enhance the environment.  He is the creative genius behind the wildly successful Albuquerque Aquarium. Van’s honest, dedicated and take charge approach has made him the go to firm in the Architectural field. Van is a member of the College of Fellows of The American Institute of Architects. 

Board Member |

Massimo Boyer, PhD

Massimo is a scientist and teacher of environmental marine science. He received his Doctorate from the University of Genoa, Italy where he currently resides and practices. He works closely with Università Politecnica delle Marche in scientific research, education, as a lecturer and on-line tutor. He is proficient in photography and as a writer for scientific journals. He has authored more than 500 publications and filmed numerous documentaries.  He has compiled a vast archive of underwater photos and film footage which he makes available at www.edge-of-reef.com.  He is the scientific editor for the web-magazine Scubazone. Dr. Boyer is a certified PADI instructor and is the technical director for the Indonesian live aboard the Aurora.

Board Member |

Francesca Scoccia, PhD

Francesca is a marine scientist and teacher. She received her doctorate from the University of Genoa, Italy and is an authority concerning the reproduction of Black Corals. She teaches mathematics and sciences in secondary schools and is a managing partner of an eco-tourism company specialized in underwater tours. Francesca is also a free-lance illustrator for marine and freshwater biology books and is the head graphics illustrator for a major Italian e-magazine. Francesca is a certified PADI instructor and is the Education Director on the live aboard the Aurora located in Indonesia.

Board Member |

Neil van Niekerk

Neil was born in South Africa and started his career as a marine scientist at the Port Elizabeth Aquarium. He is a PADI certified Master Diver and Trainer. Neil is also the coordinator of the Little Cayman Lionfish culling study. He is an adventurer and led the expedition to "Pickle Bank" in the film "1000 days for the Planet". Neil is currently the science diver for the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, founding charter member of Blue the Dive, on the Board of Cayman Island Tourism Association and President of Sister Islands Tourism Association.

Board Member |

Bob Hite

Over the past thirty years Bob has distinguished himself as a journalist and cinematographer. He has won numerous “Emmys” and is a celebrated Director; Narrator, Writer and Editor. Bob has been recognized as one of the foremost environmental reporters of our times and has filmed and produced several documentaries. He is best known to millions in Tampa Bay as the news anchor for WFLA. Bob is an accomplished sailor and arrived in Tampa Bay from Philadelphia aboard his classic wooden Ketch. As soon as Bob docked he began making a huge impact as an environmental reporter.

Bob is a Coast Guard licensed captain, pilot, diver, horseman and marksman. He is a life member of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, the Broadcast Pilots Association and the International Documentary Association. Currently, Bob along with his wife Bonnie run Kinship Productions.

Board Member |

Sylvia Jagerroos

Sylvia is a Marine biologist with over fifteen years’ experience assessing a wide range of marine habitats, mostly tropical.  Sylvia’s specialty is climate change and resilience adaptation. She has worked assessing ecosystems in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, and Pacific. Currently she is working in the South China Sea. Her research interests lie in evaluating and enhancing biodiversity and living resources in order to optimize resilience against climate change and human impact. She has worked on projects that are governmental to non-governmental, the private sector and corporations e.g. IUCN, World Bank, and Shell.

Advisory Board |

Kenneth A. Holden

Ken is a founding member of Shore Lab Discovery Center. He has been involved on the international business scene for over thirty years.  His client list is a who’s who of major corporations. His current position as Vice President of Amazon Natural Resources has afforded him experiences in this unique ecosystem that has shaped his views culturally, socially, and politically and made him determined to conserve Earths’ wild places.  Amazon Natural Resources has an exclusive contract with the indigenous peoples of Ecuador to develop their natural resources in an eco-sensitive manner.

Ken was a member of the Defense Trade Advisory Group, a consulting group to the U.S. Department of State. The group is a crucial link in advising on policy position. He also sits on the advisory board of Nova Sol Energy a renewable energy company providing large scale photo voltaic projects to utilities.

Advisory Board |

Ray King Burch

King is an original advisory board member. He holds advanced degrees in Finance from MIT, MBA from the University of Hawaii, MS in Fisheries and Oceanography from Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami and a BA from the University of South Florida In Zoology.  King has been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi National Scholastic Honor Society and a member of Beta Gamma Sigma National Business Honor Society. His focus is on developing investment finance avenues and marketing outlets for non-profit and for-profit marine oriented businesses. His interests are public aquariums, publicly listed aquaculture companies, world-renowned fishing tournaments and marine research foundations. King is well published, served as a production assistant on a locally televised program concerning Hawaiian businesses and conceived a six-part documentary on knowledge intensive businesses in Hawaii. King has years of experience with publicly listed foreign and domestic real estate services firms and private resort development.

Advisory Board |

Rob Bryan

Rob is the co-founder of Blue Heart of the Planet, PBC an organization that supports nonprofits in their efforts to educate the public about ocean environments and sustainability. He is also one of the principal’s at Ocean Story 150. Ocean Story 150 is an ocean awareness organization that uses social media, films, video, websites, direct action and other forms of outreach to inform the public about our oceans and our planet. The intention of Ocean Story 150 is to change humankind's behaviors and live sustainably. Ron wear’s many caps: ship’s captain, commercial diver, ship builder, ROV operator, dive instructor, sail boat rigger, sailor, environmental tour guide and one of the ocean’s best friends.