Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping

(EX2403, EX2404, EX2407)

Meet the Explorers

Sam Candio

Sam Candio

Expedition Coordinator, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 2

Sam Candio is a physical scientist with NOAA Ocean Exploration. He splits his time between conducting field operations aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as an expedition coordinator/mapping lead and conducting shoreside responsibilities at the University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center, including mission planning, data quality control, and data archiving. Sam received a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW), with minors in environmental science and oceanography, and an associate degree in marine technology from Cape Fear Community College. Following graduation, he worked as an instructor for UNCW's MarineQuest, leading a suite of marine science experiential learning programs ranging from the generation of biodiesel from algae to the operation of side-scan sonars and remotely operated vehicles. Prior to signing on with NOAA Ocean Exploration, Sam spent four years aboard NOAA Ship Fairweather, serving as the chief hydrographic survey technician leading coastal bathymetric surveys in areas ranging from the Alaskan Arctic to California’s Channel Islands.

Sam Cuellar

Sam Cuellar

Expedition Coordinator-in-Training, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 2

Sam Cuellar is a physical scientist with NOAA Ocean Exploration. With a background in underwater archaeology, Sam specializes in mission and survey planning and the collection and interpretation of numerous types of geophysical data from oceanographic systems, including autonomous underwater and remotely operated vehicles and novel one-off technologies. Sam received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology and master’s degree in nautical archaeology from Texas A&M University, focusing on the development of a low-cost, off-the-shelf infrared imaging system to aid archaeological conservators in better diagnosing the state of recovered artifacts and revealing details invisible to the human eye. He is currently finishing his doctorate in nautical archaeology at Texas A&M, exploring the cultural maritime landscape of the abandoned 19th century port city Indianola, Texas, and surrounding Matagorda Bay. Sam’s research fuses newly collected geophysical data with ecological, historical, and archaeological contexts to better understand how various Indigenous and European groups were impacted by and morphed the landscape in which they settled. With 11 years of underwater archaeology experience, Sam has had the fortune of investigating an abandoned World War I fleet in a Texas river, excavating a wrecked 17th century Venetian merchantman carrying goods for the Ottoman Sultan in Croatia, and searching for the lost ships of Hernán Cortés along the Gulf Coast of Mexico.

Thomas Morrow

Thomas Morrow

Expedition Coordinator, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1

Thomas Morrow is a physical scientist with NOAA Ocean Exploration. He spends his time working as an expedition coordinator on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and supporting NOAA’s ocean exploration mission. Thomas is a marine geologist and geophysicist who started his ocean exploration career while earning his bachelor’s degree in geology at the University of Florida. He then moved to the University of Idaho for master’s and doctorate degrees in geological sciences, studying mid-ocean ridges, fracture zones, and hotspot seamounts. Prior to joining NOAA Ocean Exploration, Thomas spent several years as a postdoctoral research fellow at Boston College, coordinating missions to explore the Gofar transform fault on Research Vessel Atlantis and Research Vessel Thomas G. Thompson.

Fernando Aragon

Fernando Aragon

Technical Team Member, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1

Fernando Aragon graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. During his studies, he gained experience in several fields, including conceptual design, aerospace research, mechanical design, robotics, and software development. From these activities he was able to intern for NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, present research at a national conference, and even co-author a technical paper in the Journal of the Astronautical Sciences. His most recent position was at the Field Robotics Laboratory (FRL), where he helped support operations, testing, and software development for two unmanned surface vehicles. From his time in FRL, he discovered a true passion for development and design of robotic systems. Originally from Colombia, Fernando enjoys outdoor activities and currently resides in State College, Pennsylvania.

Amanda Bittenger

Amanda Bittenger

Mapping Watch Lead
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1

Amanda lives in Portland, Oregon. She began her hydrographic career as a NOAA Corps Officer, and she has been sailing as a member of the Mapping Team on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer since 2015. She has 15 years of experience in surveying and mapping with a bachelor’s degree in oceanography and a master’s degree in coastal management with an emphasis on using remote sensing to determine coral reef health. In addition to serving as the mapping watch lead, she has also been the onboard mapping lead for several telepresence mapping expeditions. She has an interest in coastal remote sensing, and she likes to teach explorers-in-training, design t-shirts, and do other creative art projects onboard.

Olivia Andrus-Drennen

Olivia Andrus-Drennen

Video Editor, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 2

Olivia Andrus-Drennen graduated from Montana State University with a master’s of fine arts degree in science and natural history filmmaking and two bachelor’s degrees from Purdue University in wildlife biology and film/video studies. With these degrees, she has pursued her passion in creating science-based documentaries for companies all around the world such as The Marine Mammal Center, Marine Mammal Foundation, Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and the American Chemical Society. When she isn't filming, Olivia spends the majority of her time hiking around her home in Bozeman, Montana.

Caitlin Bailey

Caitlin Bailey

Video Editor, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 2

Caitlin Bailey became a member of the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration video team and started sailing aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2016. She is a "bi-polar" explorer, having been to both the Arctic and Antarctica, as well as a National Geographic Explorer. Caitlin is passionate about wildlife and sharing the deep sea and polar regions with a wide variety of audiences. She has a Master of Fine Arts in science and natural history filmmaking from Montana State University and a Bachelor of Science in animal biology from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. When not at sea, Caitlin resides in San Antonio, Texas, where she enjoys SCUBA diving, hiking, and entertaining her labradoodle, Camie.

Roland Brian

Roland Brian

Remotely Operated Vehicle Superintendent, Oceaneering
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1

Roland Brian brings 38 years of electronics and satellite experience, with 29 of those years focusing on television and video engineering specialization. Throughout his early years in television, Roland worked to hone his skills and experience for various television stations and remote broadcasters as well as national broadcasters ranging from CBS, PBS, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, ESPN, Fox Sports, and the Golf Channel. With a keen eye for precise high-quality, high-definition video, he really enjoys and helps bring the imagery to life for the viewers. Roland began his career in the U.S. Air Force where he worked as a satellite communications engineering technician with visions of working on the U.S. Space Station. He traded in that quest for one of deep-ocean exploration and sharing the beautiful imagery with the world. He has worked with NOAA Ocean Exploration since 2010 and plays an integral part in telepresence-enabled remotely operated vehicle (ROV) expeditions. He has also provided engineering design, integration, and operation services for other projects using various Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE) and NOAA Ocean Exploration mobile telepresence systems. His duties aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer include operation and maintenance of the ship's telepresence and video and satellite systems, including those on ROVs Deep Discoverer and Seirios. Again, Roland’s experience embodies the breadth and depth of knowledge that GFOE and NOAA Ocean Exploration encourage. When not at sea, Roland enjoys life with his wife and family in sunny Sarasota, Florida.

Mia DeNardi

Mia DeNardi

Mapping Watch Lead
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1

Mia DeNardi is a geographer and was first introduced to ocean exploration while working as a graduate intern for the National Geographic Society’s Education Department. Mia never anticipated working in the field, but continued to follow those explorers while she worked to build a 15-year career as geospatial and technical analyst. Mia enjoys taking photos on land and underwater, SCUBA diving, and exploring national parks.

Brian Doros

Brian Doros

Video Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1 & 2

Brian Doros is a television broadcast engineer who was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. Active in sports throughout high school, Brian moved to Southern California and spent the next few years traveling the world surfing and then exploring his technical interests at college in San Diego, California. After changing his course of study to electronics, he focused on broadcast electronics and technical maintenance in broadcasting. His career path first led him to employment at IBM/MCA Video Laser Disc Company in Costa Mesa, California, doing research and development in the early days of optical laser disc, then to Los Angeles, where he specialized in film for television post-production. The next several years were spent working in the Hollywood post-production industry at Paramount Pictures, MGM/Lorimar Telepictures, 20th Century Fox, NFL Films, and Sony Broadcast Company North America, contributing to his 25 years of experience in television post-production and broadcast systems integration. After Hollywood, Brian worked in the field, traveling and upgrading network television facilities to digital broadcasting capabilities during the analog to digital conversion. He now has moved on to less broadcast traditional applications of his background working in his current position.

Malia Kapuaonālani Evans

Malia Kapuaonālani Evans

Outreach and Education Coordinator, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1

Malia Kapuaonālani Evans was born and raised in Waiākea, Hilo, and Kailua, Oʻahu, in Hawaiʻi nei. She is number 11 of 12 children born to James Dominick Evans and Blossom Leialoha Kalama. She honors her roots to island people through her Kanaka ʻŌiwi lineage through her mother and Irish and Welsh lineage through her father. Malia has spent the last two decades advocating for the protection and preservation of the natural and cultural heritage of Kō Hawaiʻi Pae ʻĀina (the Hawaiian Archipelago) and elevating the value of ʻike kupuna (ancestral knowledge) and generational cultural practice through her work as a kiaʻi, archaeologist, ethnographer, oral historian, and educator. For the last six years she has worked with NOAA on behalf of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site as an outreach and education coordinator. Malia has a B.A. in anthropology and M.A. in applied archaeology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Shannon Fitzgerald

Shannon Fitzgerald

Explorer-in-Training
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 2

Shannon recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelor of Science degree in geography. She is currently working towards a career as a professional mariner on scientific research vessels. For several years she taught navigation and marine science in youth non-profit sailing programs, through which she developed a passion for accessible science education. In her time as an executive member of her college’s outing club, she led a series of events focusing on river cleanups, equitable access to the outdoors, and environmental stewardship. She hopes to help people understand how important the ocean is to day-to-day life so they share in the desire to protect it.

Treyson (Trey) Gillespie

Treyson (Trey) Gillespie

Mapping Watch Lead, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 2

Treyson (Trey) Gillespie lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in geology and environmental geosciences and a Master of Science in environmental and sustainability studies from the College of Charleston (CofC). At CofC, Trey completed the BEnthic Acoustic Mapping & Survey (BEAMS) program where he gainedexperience processing and analyzing multibeam bathymetric data for applied scientificresearch. As a result, Trey had the opportunity to work and sail with a variety of international and domestic organizations such as Seabed 2030, Geological Survey Ireland, the INFOMAR Project, the U.S. federal government as a NOAA explorer-in-training on multiple expeditions, and aboard several University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) vessels in support of oceanographic science and as a mentor to undergraduate students. Since 2019, Trey has worked with academic, commercial, and governmental vessels to map our ocean in support of the greater scientific community and now serves as a mapping watch lead for NOAA Ocean Exploration helping to train and mentor new generations of explorers-in-training aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.

Margaret Hanley

Margaret Hanley

Mapping Watch Lead
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 2

Margaret Hanley is a master’s student at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science. She began her academic journey at the College of Charleston, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in geology. While there, she was a member of the BEnthic Acoustic Mapping & Survey (BEAMS) program and gained experience using different mapping software through research and other field experiences. One such opportunity was sailing on the Okeanos as an Explorer-in-Training during the first expedition of Voyage to the Ridge 2022. Upon graduation from the College of Charleston, she moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, and joined the Center for Ocean Mapping and Innovative Technologies at USF. Her current research utilizes data from multibeam sonars and video footage to create a classification scheme for the Sabrina Coast in East Antarctica. In 2023, Margaret was also hired as a part-time federal contractor in NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, where she works on the external source data team.

Kala Hind-Boyd

Kala Hind-Boyd

Cultural Liaison
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 2

Kala Hind-Boyd is serving as a cultural liaison for this expedition after recently serving as a cultural monitor in the Lahaina wildfire debris removal mission on Maui. He is a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner that has traveled to Papahānaumokuākea with the Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy on the vessel Makani ʻOlu. He is a graduate of Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau and has continued to foster Hawaiian cultural practices.

Elizabeth Huang

Elizabeth Huang

Explorer-in-Training
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1

Elizabeth Huang is pursuing degrees in geology and English at Whitman College. She is fascinated by the ocean floor and is particularly interested in how it represents deep time. She strives to combine her love of storytelling with science and wants to be a part of deciphering and communicating the narratives that can be extracted from scientific work. Post-undergraduate, Elizabeth plans to attend graduate school to further her studies in geology with a focus on field- and lab-based sedimentology/stratigraphy, paleontology, and bathymetry. In her free time, Elizabeth uses GIS to make maps of outdoor cats.

Nathaniel Kenney

Nathaniel Kenney

Video Editor, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1

Nate Kenney joined the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE) in the role of video editor in 2023. Nate comes with a five-year background as an editor and cinematographer, with a diverse background that includes working on narrative feature films and wildlife docu-series. He is a proud graduate of Montana State University's Science and Natural History Filmmaking program, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts. With a genuine appreciation for the natural world and a passion for storytelling, Nate is excited to apply his skills to GFOE's mission and create captivating content that advances our understanding of the ocean and its vast ecosystems.

Lia Kim

Lia Kim

Explorer-in-Training
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1

Lia Kim is a third-year undergraduate student at Barnard College of Columbia University, where she is pursuing a B.A. in political ecology. Lia joins NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as a science communication intern through the Explorer-in-Training Program. While aboard the expedition, Lia aims to work with Native Hawaiians and cultural liaisons to communicate the intricacies of deepwater mapping and the natural and cultural significance of Papahānaumokuākea Marine Natural Monument in Hawaiian culture and history. She hopes to bring an anthropological perspective to her communications about life at sea on a research vessel and plans to apply this experience to her future endeavors in science education, outreach, and environmental journalism. Lia is originally from Tenafly, New Jersey, and in her free time, she loves to journal, play tennis, and spend time outdoors.

Anabel Kinsey

Explorer-in-Training
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1

Anabel Kinsey is a Computer Science and Economics double major at Fordham University. She is originally from O’ahu, Hawai’i. Inspired by the native ʻōhiʻa lehua trees in her childhood backyard being decimated due to Rapid Ōhi’a Death, she engaged in conservation research. The project was titled, “The Effects of Indigenous Microorganisms on the Native Hawaiian Ōhi’a Lehua’s Pathogenic Resistance to Fungal Myrtle Rust,” which was presented at a student science conference at the NOAA Inouye Regional Center. Anabel has previously received a grant for research from the Kay Fellowship program, which inspired her passion for research. She is especially interested in how data can be used to help solve complex issues, such as protecting Hawai’i’s natural resources.

Nika Lebedev

Nika Lebedev

Explorer-in-Training
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 2

Nika is going into her sophomore year of her undergraduate degree, majoring in oceanography with minors in mathematics and chemistry. Nika is hoping to gain experience in mapping and physical oceanography and to learn more about life at sea this summer. She is looking forward to specializing in physical oceanography and ultimately plans to pursue a doctorate in physical oceanography. A student at Oregon State University, Nika studies temperature variability in estuaries. She is a PADI divemaster and an American Academy of Underwater Sciences scientific diver who works with Oregon State’s recreational and scientific scuba programs.

Claudia Martinez

Claudia Martinez

Explorer-in-Training
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1

Claudia Martinez holds a bachelor’s degree in geoscience from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She was awarded the AGeS2 GSA grant to work on undergraduate research studying the mantle geodynamic origins of seamounts in the Mariana Trench region. Currently, she is working on her master’s degree at the same institution studying an island-arc hosted hydrothermal vent field near the Izu-Ogasawara Trench. She will be joining a Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) research expedition in the summer 2024 aiming to explore further the hydrothermal vents by the Izu-Ogasawara Trench. Additionally, she enjoys outreach and volunteer work, striving to inspire the youth in learning about marine science. She is passionate about understanding the geological processes shaping the seafloor to further unravel the many mysteries of the seafloor.

Cidney McMahon

Cidney McMahon

Explorer-in-Training
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 2

Cidney McMahon is a fifth-year undergraduate student pursuing degrees in earth sciences and philosophy at Syracuse University. She is interested in oceanography and during her time as an undergraduate, has had the opportunity to conduct marine research projects at Syracuse University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and University of Canterbury. Cidney strives to promote diversity in geoscience and wants to serve as a resource for students who would like to pursue a career and degree in geology. She hopes to bring a philosophical perspective to the sciences and plans to apply her knowledge and living experience at sea to her future career in earth sciences and educational outreach. Cidney is originally from Houston, Texas, and has a strong love for African American and Afro-Caribbean literature. In her free time, Cidney writes African American fiction novels and reads books by authors like Toni Morrison.

Makoa Pascoe

Makoa Pascoe

Graduate student, University of Hawaii Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Graduate Program
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1

Makoa Pascoe was born and raised on the island of Oahu in Kahaluʻu and moved to Hilo on the island of Hawaii in pursuit of a B.S degree in marine science. He has just recently become a graduate student and is starting his graduate education in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) Graduate Program. Makoa is a marine science student who works within the MEGA Lab to help create and analyze 3D models of coral reefs to gain a better understanding of how structural complexity affects fish assemblages. He has assisted in researching the effect that freshwater runoff from storm events impacts a corals microbiome and aided in shoreline mapping to gain deeper insight into sea level change within the Keaukaha community. In addition to this, Makoa has conducted observational research on octopods with the use of the MEGA Labs livestream camera, enabling a temporal study of their habits and seasonality in order to make connections of these findings to traditional Hawaiian knowledge. Makoa spends most of his free time going to the beach and diving.

Chris Wright

Chris Wright

Data Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Beyond the Blue: Papahānaumokuākea Mapping 1 & 2

Chris Wright holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Mary Washington and a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College. After graduation, he worked as a network and systems administrator and engineer in the hospitality industry in the Northeast and Mountain West for more than 15 years. Recently relocating back to the East Coast, Chris joined the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE) data team in early 2019 as one of the newest members of the organization. In 2019, he completed his first expedition aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and is extremely excited about continuing the journey to explore the oceans around the world. When he isn't sailing on Okeanos Explorer, he’s busy working in GFOE’s Quonset office planning, designing, and implementing data solutions to help refine and mature its base of operations for ocean exploration. Chris and his family currently reside in Newport, Rhode Island.