’s thesis is investigating microbial metagenomes from cryptofaunal sponges and ascidians from Moorea, French Polynesia. She is interested in the role of microbes in affecting the health of coral reef invertebrates and how host-associations change in response to human-induced stressors. What excites her most about this research is broadening our understanding of how microbes are integrated in the larger reef system.
Jen is also interested in educational outreach and capacity-building in youth. She currently a Bilingual Education Specialist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium teaching preK-12 school programs and co-leading two middle school programs: Young Women in Science and the Student Oceanography Club. As part of Dr. Geller
’s NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education
(PIRE) project, Jen is helping build capacity in students involved in the US-Indonesian partnership by having helped with the 2013 Diversity Project class in Bali and by working with Indonesian students.
Jen received her B.S. in Marine Biology with a minor in Interdisciplinary studies from San Diego State University. As an undergraduate Jen worked on a diversity of projects including an endocrine study on Arctic bowhead whales, a genetic study on Mako and Thresher sharks, a behavioral ecology study on resident and transient killer whales, and other ecology projects in the wetland habitats of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and San Diego, California. She is an active member of MLML’s AAUS scientific dive program
, volunteers much of her time in her faith community, and is a mentor for undergraduate students in the Enlace Program at Evergreen College in San Jose.