Gwen was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She earned a B.S. in Marine Biology and a M.A. in Biology, both from UCLA, influenced by her road-trip-taking, nature-walking, photo-taking, National-and-State-park-camping, museum-and-fish-hatchery-visiting upbringing. Her research experience is primarily with benthic aquatic invertebrates (marine and fresh water), but has also studied plankton. Gwen was trained as an AAUS scientific diver 18 years ago and has since spent time collecting data underwater in Hawaii, Tahiti, southern California, the Philippines, and in aquarium exhibits. She also has a variety of informal education experience teaching 'K through gray' on boats, in tidepools, in mountain streams, on research reserves, in aquariums, and, occasionally, in a classroom. Gwen volunteers her time with the Los Angeles Waterkeeper surveying Marine Protected Areas and diving to help restore kelp forests as well as sewing for Quilts from the Heart, a service group that makes and donates quilts to those who need them.