Erica is an educator, marine scientist, adventurer and maker with more than 20 years’ experience designing, developing and implementing continuing education & marine and environmental education courses. She has worked in the U.S. and abroad with experience, in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, including most aspects of education programming and outreach.
Erica loves the challenge of answering the question "what do you do?" For her, it’s a combination of a lot of her passions. Underwater robots, scuba diving, outreach education, grant writing, exploring and citizen science. It may seem like different directions all at the same time, but really they are all pointed in the same direction - using science to explore.
In her day job Erica is the Director of the St. Petersburg College STEM Center at Bay Pines, engaging students in contextualized curriculum and in her free time she runs #pvcrov, a small business geared toward building and teaching others about underwater robots. Erica also serves as the Director of the Center for Open Exploration (C4OE) a non-profit providing connections to grant opportunities for citizen science projects. Erica is also a member of the Sedna Epic Expeditions and has been providing marine technology education in person and online in many Inuit/Arctic communities.
Always for an adventure, she has always been passionate about science since she first declared that it was what she wanted to do at the age of four. She earned her B.S. from the University of West Florida, and was inducted into Beta Beta Beta, as an undergrad. Erica also spent a semester on board the LIU Southampton vessel Spirit of Massachusetts, traveling from Maine to Haiti. She earned her Master’s degree in Conservation Education from Prescott College while living with the Arawak Amerindians in Guyana, South America.
As a college instructor and biologist for 10 years at HCC, Erica designed, developed, and implemented continuing education and environmental education courses. During her college tenure, she was part of a team of four scientists who facilitated an aquaculture experiment aboard the Space Shuttle Mission STS 95, with Astronaut John Glenn.
Erica has been SCUBA diving since the age of 13. She is a Master diver, an AAUS Certified Scientific Diver, and has certifications in Nitrox, DrySuit and Rescue diving.
Erica has been actively involved in the Marine Technology Society, serving as Chair of two committees. She has hosted and coordinated the MTS Ocean Explorers program. She currently conducts ROV education and training with her small business, PVC ROV, and has partnered with ORCA, NySci, NAUI Green Diver, Vulcan, AUVSI Foundation, SeaGlide and OpenROV. Recently, she has presented her ROV outreach at the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History and at the Explorer’s Club in NYC.
Erica’s personal interests include running in events—from Ragnar to half marathons—and spending time outdoors with her family. Her life’s 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.