2023 - 2024 CERF Inclusive Leadership Program

CERF is excited to announce the inaugural cohort of the Inclusive Leadership Program (ILP), which supports coastal and estuarine scientists and managers from all career stages with the goal of creating and sustaining a more equitable and inclusive field. This 18-month program engages current and future leaders to be culture change agents through personal and professional development activities. ILP participants receive expert-led training in three key knowledge areas: diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging foundations; leadership skills; and capacity to drive change. Participants learn through group training and discussion, self-reflection activities, leadership projects, and one-on-one coaching at three in-person events and regular virtual meetings. We are excited that through funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), we are able to support 10 leaders in the first cohort of this program, which kicked off with a retreat in September 2023 at the Western Washington University Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes, Washington.

Caption: Inclusive Leadership Program participants and leadership team at the in-person kick-off retreat, September 2023, at Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes, WA.

Meet the Leaders!

Krista Kamer, Director, California State University Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology (CSU COAST)

Christopher Katalinas, Learning Coordinator for NOAA’s Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship, Lynker at the NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Malachy McCaffrey, Research Technician, Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Pedro Morais, Training Coordinator, Sustainable and Smart Aquaculture Collaborative Laboratory

Danielle Perry, Marine Habitat Resource Specialist, NOAA Fisheries

Anna Pfeiffer-Herbert, Associate Professor of Marine Science, School of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, Stockton University

Rae Quadara, Marine Education Project Manager, The University of Southern Mississippi's Marine Education Center

Alfonsina Romo-Curiel, Project Manager, Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE)

Zola Roper, Marine Debris Coordinator, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources

Cecily Steppe, Professor and past chair, Department of Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, United States Naval Academy

Meet the Facilitators!

Shani Dellimore Barrax is a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategist with more than 25 years of practical experience in DEI training and development; change leadership, management and agency; data-informed strategy and action planning, and capacity-building programming. At her core, Shani is a change agent grounded in cultural humility, striving to replicate change agency for those committed to creating and sustaining spaces that are humane - where everyone can thrive, engage, and develop with psychological safety. Shani has led and liaised with cross-functional teams across sectors - such as education, nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations and associations, corporate and the arts - to increase individual and organizational capacities through change agency facilitation.

Dr. Jennifer Sandoval is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Central Florida and a campus leader for equity and inclusion initiatives. She has a Master’s in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University School of Law and a Ph.D. in Culture and Communication from the University of New Mexico. As an expert in communicating effectively across difference and difficulty she has worked with many leaders and organizations to implement evidence based and promising practices that enhance work cultures and climates. Her research focuses on how identity shows up in complex spaces like healthcare, education, and environmental work. 

The ILP is being led by a team of CERF staff and volunteers: Leila Hamdan, CERF Past President, Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) over Coastal programs, and Professor of Marine Microbial Ecology in USM’s School of Ocean Science and Engineering; Treda Grayson, CERF Governing Board Member-at-Large, past co-chair of the Inclusive Culture Council, and Supervisor in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water; Kristy Lewis, CERF Inclusive Culture Council member and Assistant Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography; Amara Foster, CERF Program Coordinator for ILP and Rising TIDES; and Susan Park, CERF Executive Director.  

 The 2023 Inclusive Leadership Program is supported by NSF Award No.s 2233699, 2233700, and 2233703.