MarineQuest Staff

The staff at MarineQuest was extremely accommodating and educated about what they were teaching. I'm really grateful that I was given the opportunity to participate in this program. I feel much more informed about the field of marine science. Thanks again! -Aubrie

Sue Kezios, Director of Youth Programs - UNC Wilmington MarineQuest

Sue Kezios, Director of Youth Programs

Dr. K grew up on the Chesapeake Bay crabbing, oystering and fishing. She earned a PhD in Biology from Princeton University and spent the first half of her career conducting research on cell differentiation. Once her children enrolled in school she became concerned about the lack of science instruction they were receiving. This led to collaboration with the NIH to create KinderScience, a hands-on science education program for young children. In 1999 Dr. K obtained her North Carolina teaching certification and began working at UNCW. In 2006 she was named Director of Youth Programs and immediately began creating a new standards-based curriculum for MarineQuest, one that includes field research, marine technology, and diving.

Harris MuhlsteinHarris Muhlstein, Science and Research Specialist

Harris grew up in the south shore of Long Island where he spent his youth as a competitive swimmer, surfer and ocean lifeguard. He holds both a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and Master's degree in secondary science education from the amazing UNCW. He also earned his Master of Science in marine science from the University of Texas. MarineQuest offers Harris the ability to merge his years of relevant marine science research experience with his teaching prowess that he honed as a NC high school science educator. When not designing and administering marine science based lessons at MarineQuest, he spends his free time being active, surfing, diving and inventing marine science related dance moves.

Erin MoranErin Moran, MarineQuest Summer Enrichment Coordinator

Erin grew up in southeastern Wisconsin where she spent her winters in the snow and summers playing on the lake. At a young age it was apparent that Erin was always going to live near water. Which is why to little surprise for her parents, she decided to pursue marine biology. Erin earned both of her degrees a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Masters in Marine Science from UNCW. Erin was part of the MarineQuest family for several summer seasons before becoming a permanent fixture. She has enjoyed inspiring young minds over the summers through SCUBA, research, and other MarineQuest activities. She looks forward to continuing to enrich our youth by providing exciting summer programs. When Erin is not in the office you can find her kayaking, hiking, camping or just simply enjoying coastal NC with family and friends.

Kimberly Cockrell Kimberly Cockrell, Youth Programs Budget Manager

Kimberly spent most of her youth in Ohio and North Carolina. She is a UNCW alumnus with a Communication Studies degree and has been active in the UNCW Alumni Association. Her office duties include the fiscal and administrative aspects of Youth Programs. Kimberly brings with her experience in marketing, office management, budget management and youth leadership. She enjoys the adventure of two teenage boys, quiet time reading a good book and spending quality time with family.

Nina Sassano, Program Assistant

Nina is a native to New Jersey where she was born and raised within a mile of the Atlantic Ocean. Being so near to the shore, she was constantly exploring marine organisms and fostering a fascination with marine science, while sharing any new information she learned with just about anybody who would listen. She earned her bachelor's degree in Marine Biology from Stockton University and her master's degree from East Carolina University studying jellyfish. Nina has held a variety of fun jobs, including serving as an environmental educator for AmeriCorps, a naturalist at a forestry center, and a technician for a National Estuary Program. Nina has always strove to include outreach in her research initiatives, and loves seeing young minds ignite with the same passion she has for the natural world.