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Oceans for Youth Foundation, Staff

Samatha Whitcraft Samantha Whitcraft, Director of Conservation & Outreach
Samantha is the Director of Conservation & Outreach for M/V Oceans for Youth, U.S operations. Over the past 20 years, as a marine conservation biologist and educator, Samantha has worked to increase ocean literacy and raise awareness about ocean conservation. She has taught both formally as an Adjunct Professor in Natural Sciences at Miami Dade College and informally as a professional wildlife guide teaching students and guests alike about endangered marine animals and their ecosystems across the tropics. Samantha created an innovative curriculum for the University of Hawaii focused on integrating Hawaiian cultural knowledge with reef fish identification and taught an environmental ethics course at a marine magnet high school. At NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, she created an educational program for local waterfront residents about the economic and ecological value of maintaining their mangrove shorelines. Samantha is a PADI-certified Dive Master and a NAUI-certified Scuba Instructor. She holds a Bachelor’s in Natural Sciences from Harvard University, a Masters in Literature and Arts from St. Andrew’s University, Scotland, and earned her Masters of Marine Affairs and Policy at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

M/V Oceans for Youth, Scientists


fabian Fabián Pina Amargós PhD, Marine Biologist
Fabián is a Professor of Protected Areas at the Center for Marine Research of the University of Havana and an environmental consultant with Avalon Diving operations in Cuba. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology (University of Havana), a Master’s degree in Marine Affairs (Dalhousie University, Canada), and his PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Havana. His research interests include fish community structure, marine protected areas (MPAs) design and performance, movement and MPA-spillover of fish, status of tropical ecosystems, integrated coastal zone management, hurricane impacts on tropical ecosystems, status of fisheries, environmental issues of recreational fishing and SCUBA diving, fish biodiversity, and environmental economics. He has published over 30 papers and book chapters in a variety of refereed scientific journals in ecology and economics. He has led many scientific projects in Cuba’s iconic marine protected area, the Jardines de la Reina National Park. He has been involved in the declaration of marine reserves and protected areas in Cuba. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation (2012) and six Cuban Academy of Science Awards (2004, 2008, 2009, 2014).

Tamara Figueredo Martín, Environmental Economist
Tamara is a Professor of Economy and Environment at the Center for Marine Research of the University of Havana and an environmental consultant with Avalon Diving operations in Cuba. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics (University of Camagüey, Cuba) and a Master’s degree in Integrated Coastal Zone Management (University of Havana). Her research interests include natural resource and ecological economics, marine protected areas design and performance, integrated coastal zone manage- ment, status of fisheries, environmental issues of recreational fishing and SCUBA diving, socioeconomics issues and environmental planning. She has published papers in a variety of refereed scientific journals in economics and integrated coastal zone management. She has worked in many scientific projects in Cuba’s iconic marine protected area, the Jardines de la Reina National Park. She has been involved in the declaration of marine reserves and protected areas in Cuba. She was awarded a grant to researchers coming from developing countries to participate in the Twelfth International BIOECON Conference in 2010 and a Cuban Academy of Science Award in 2014.

Omar Gutiérrez Hidalgo, Hydraulic Engineer
Omar is a hydraulic engineer and the vessel operations director for M/V Oceans for Youth. Omar is a Cuban citizen born in Puerto Padre, Las Tunas. He earned his first degree in Hydraulic Engineering in 1995 and his Master of Engineering in Environmental Sanitation in 1997 both from José Antonio Echeverria University, Havana, Cuba. From 1998 to 2003 he served as the regional governmental representative of Science and Environment participating in more than 20 environmental projects and investigations, and has more than ten published national articles. Omar is completing his Doctorate of Pedagogic Sciences with a planned thesis defense.
   

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