Erica is a marine scientist, public educator, and advocate for the environment based in St Petersburg, Florida. She is a seasoned explorer and a strong advocate for the next generation. Erica is known for carrying her love of science and exploration with her in every aspect of her life. Recently inducted into the Explorer’s Club as one of 16 women honoured during the 40th Anniversary of Women joining the Club, Erica has worked remotely in places ranging from the rainforests of Guyana to the Arctic circle.
In her day job, Erica is the Director of the St. Petersburg College (SPC) STEM Center at Bay Pines, engaging students in contextualized curriculum, independent research, and conservation programs. In her free time, she runs PVC ROV, a small business geared toward building and teaching others about underwater robots. She also serves as the Director of the Center for Open Exploration (C4OE) a non-profit she established to provide connections to grant opportunities for citizen science projects. Erica was just recently honoured for this work by NAUI Worldwide with their Environmental Enrichment Award and by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in their Sharing Science grant program.
Her life as an explorer has been propelled by a desire to lift others through ocean technology, including Indigenous knowledge, empowering women, and citizen science. Erica firmly believes that science applies to all of us and understanding our planet is important as we only have one.
A diver since 13, Erica’s life passion is helping others understand science, especially through her technical contributions to the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) kits used in student competitions and simple ocean exploration. She jumps at every opportunity to teach people how to work in the underwater world and is honoured to participate in this expedition to Antarctica. Erica is focused on removing barriers to participation. If you can’t get in the water, she wants to help you still see it in another way. Helping people to understand science and exploration -it’s not as complex as one might think – and so many challenges are still out there for solving. We need people interested in technology to also dive in. Just because you aren’t an ocean scientist or a scuba diver – it doesn’t’ mean you can’t contribute. Science takes all types and there is a good likelihood that your idea just might help us out. Science applies to all of us and understanding our planet is important, we only have one.