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In honor of Black History Month, we’re excited to wrap up February in celebration of our staff, as well as their dynamic contributions to the world of marine conservation! 

Renowned for conducting ocean research and restoration with the big picture in mind, the Perry Institute is committed to revitalizing coral reefs, mangrove forests, vital fisheries and more. Our approach to conservation in The Bahamas and the Caribbean is made most effective because of the incredible leadership and decision-making of our diverse staff working on the frontlines of climate change. That’s why we embrace, and are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion as organizational values year round and are exploring new paths to amplify the important lived-experiences and voices of people of color each and every day. 

Read on to discover how our team members are driving waves of change in the field of marine biology.

Anwar Godet is a pivotal member of our coral reef team! Born and raised in The Bahamas, Anwar is a Master Scuba Diver Trainer with more than 20 years of experience beneath the waves! He strives to reverse the decline of coral reefs, not only to protect the island nation he calls home but to preserve its natural underwater beauty for generations to come. 

Ashawnté Russell is our newest intern and one of the driving forces behind our up-and-coming sustainable seafood campaign. Based in New Providence, she works closely with our community conservation team, where she strives to conduct research that will not just aid in the stability of our fishery sector, but people’s overall attitudes towards it. More specifically, she hopes to empower Bahamian restaurants, fishers and consumers to make decisions with the health of our oceans top of mind. 

Hailing from North Andros, The Bahamas, Collin Brooks is our boat captain! A long time sea-farer and PADI scuba instructor, Collin has been passionate about the ocean since as long as he can remember. He loves sharing his knowledge of The Bahamas’ popsicle-blue waters as well as the creatures that inhabit them. A natural guide and mentor to those who are lucky enough to spend time at sea with him, Collin lives by his personal motto “teach as many people in life what you know and let it grow, because too many people die taking their knowledge with them to the grave.”

Lashanti Jupp is a crucial member of our community conservation team, where she seeks to provide the tools, training and experience to foster a greater conservation ethic in The Bahamas. Born and raised in New Providence, Lashanti’s passion is connecting people to nature. Lashanti aspires to save the world, one ocean at a time, with one conversation at a time. About Nassau, she also says #BornBredGaDead

Kandize Mcphee is one of our awesome interns based in New Providence, The Bahamas. For as long as she can remember, Kandize has always wanted to assist the Bahamian blue economy and innovate sustainable solutions. Now, she's eager to examine how subsistence fisheries can impact island communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both a scientist and a teacher, Karlisa Callwood has trailblazed our community conservation program here at the Perry Institute. Karlisa boasts a doctorate degree in ecosystem science and policy, as well as more than a decade of experience creating and managing informal science education programming. These days she’s all about working with local communities and schools to foster a new generation of ocean stewards locally in The Bahamas and regionally across the Caribbean!

Kemit is our development director at the Perry Institute, where he works to build PIMS’ case for support and build strategic new partnerships! Born and raised on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands and a passionate ocean-lover from the get-go, Kemit’s underlying philosophy for his work is that by reducing anthropogenic stress while recovering critical species and restoring “resilient” sites, one can conserve marine life, protect the local tourism product, and preserve a culture’s commercial, recreational, and spiritual value for the ocean.

Krista Sherman runs our fisheries research and conservation program at the Perry Institute! Renowned for being the first Bahamian woman to receive her doctorate degree in marine biology, Krista’s inspirational journey has paved the way for young black women to pursue fulfilling careers in ocean science. With more than a decade of fisheries and coral reef research under her belt, Krista’s work was critical to the development of the first Nassau Grouper Conservation Management Plan for The Bahamas. 

Meghyn Fountain is a research assistant on our coral reef team in New Providence! Growing up in The Bahamas, Meghyn has always felt captivated by the ocean and its myriad of wonders. The bulk of Meghyn’s research focuses on the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease crisis that has plagued our waters since 2019; indeed, she’s doing everything she can to stop its spread and save Bahamian coral reefs, the lifeblood of her homeland’s blue economy.

Silia Woodside is one of our research technicians based on the beautiful island of Eleuthera, The Bahamas. In collaboration with the Nature Conservancy and the Cape Eleuthera Institute, Silia strives to innovate coral restoration technology; that is, to make our coral restoration impact faster and scalable. With more than ten years of diving under her belt, a typical research day for Silia involves tinkering in both ocean and land-based coral nurseries, as well as educating interns and school groups on the importance of healthy coral reefs.

Zoe Brown is an intern based in Eleuthera investigating the link between subsistence fisheries and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Zoe is interested in utilising conservation, restoration, and nature-based solutions to create a resilient future for the Bahamas. She has a passion for both the terrestrial and marine world, and at the Cape Eleuthera Institute, she works to educate others on the value of Bahamian plant biodiversity, while also actively restoring degraded coastal ecosystems.