Staff Directory

Heal the Bay Administration

Shelley Luce

President & Chief Executive Officer

Shelley is responsible for determining Heal the Bay’s policy priorities, forming smart strategic alliances, and growing public participation across greater Los Angeles. Shelley, who holds a Doctorate of Environmental Science and Engineering from UCLA and a B.S. in Biology from McGill University, began her advocacy career at Heal the Bay, serving as a staff scientist from 2001-2005. She went on to hold executive director positions at the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, the Bay Foundation, and the Environment Now Foundation before rejoining us as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2017.

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Meredith McCarthy

Operations Director

Heal the Bay’s long time Programs Director has recently shifted to the  Director of Operations. Meredith now oversees the organizational health and wellbeing of all programs and staff.  As an avid scuba diver she has seen firsthand what putting too much in, taking too much out and ignoring the edge of the ocean has done to our coastal systems. She remains committed to Heal the Bay’s mission of protecting this health of this precious resource and the 11 million people that benefit from it.

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Aurora Nunez

Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Aurora provides administrative and executive support to Heal the Bay, and is bringing a longtime love of local beaches to her position. She grew up in LA and graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a B.A. in Sociology and an Education emphasis. Her hobbies include making sculptures out of recycled materials, attending comic book conventions, and improving her lasagna recipes.

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Gabriele Morgan


Gabriele has been the face, voice, and administrative angel of Heal the Bay for nearly 20 years. She can answer any question about the organization and the Bay with ease and keeps the office running smoothly. When not manning her post as velvet rope/bouncer/concierge, she can probably be found in her recording studio.

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Heal the Bay Advancement

Dahnie Brandes

Advancement Director

Dahnie leads the advancement efforts at Heal the Bay, working to ensure the organization has the resources it requires to accomplish its mission. A native Angeleno, Dahnie is driven by his passions, both personally and professionally and is deeply committed to making an impact in his community. Raised with a deep love for the ocean, after graduating from UC Berkeley Dahnie volunteered on a remote Fijian island to help set up the country’s first marine protected area. Dahnie worked in education and spent five years as a regional development director at a national advocacy organization before bringing his professional talents to the beach. As an adult he has chosen to live in Venice, just steps from the ocean, to facilitate his long-distance swims, surfing, and playing in the water with his family. He brings that passion to Heal the Bay so that together, we can restore and preserve our oceans for generations to come.

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Sheila McSherry

Associate Director of Foundation Relations

Sheila serves as the liaison between Heal the Bay and the organization’s private, family, and corporate foundation partners. Before joining Heal the Bay in 2005, she advocated on behalf of a public health non-profit in Los Angeles for five years. Born and raised in the South Bay, she is passionate about ocean conservation work, witnessing philanthropy in action, and preserving a pipeline for the next generation of environmental leaders. Sheila graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz and is also a musician. Her favorite beach destination is somewhere along the coast of Costa Rica.

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Georgina Del Vecho

Advancement Manager

Georgina coordinates Heal the Bay’s corporate sponsorship program, Suits on the Sand. After a disillusioning first year as a pre-med, Georgina found her true passion for the environment and graduated from Duke University with a degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy. Before joining Heal the Bay, she spent a summer in Ste. Luce, Madagascar doing research to promote national land conservation in their coastal forests (and going to the beach). Talk to her about: the best place in town for pasta, NCAA basketball, or her beloved cat, Splash.

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Britta Bucholz

Major Gifts

Britta is a contractor who stewards relationships with individuals and family foundations in support of Heal the Bay’s major donor program.

Britta’s fundraising career began at City of Hope in Southern California, where she oversaw fundraising within the Music & Entertainment, Fashion and Beauty Industries. Most recently, Britta spent the last three years with Share Our Strength. In her role as the Director of Development of California for the No Kid Hungry campaign, she oversaw all fundraising efforts across the state, focusing on principal and major gifts, corporate sponsorships, and events. Prior to working with No Kid Hungry, Britta served as the Vice President of Philanthropy at the Starkey Hearing Foundation developing and implementing strategy for Starkey Hearing Technologies and Starkey Hearing Foundation.

Fun fact: Britta was on the swim team for the University of Miami, FL.

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Heal the Bay Aquarium

Marslaidh Ryan

Aquarium Director

Marslaidh (pronounced like parsley) studied Environmental Science at the University of Oregon, Aquarium Science at Saddleback College, and Fisheries and Wildlife Science at Oregon State University. She began her career in public aquariums over fifteen years ago gaining experience in areas such as marine science education, animal husbandry, life support systems, and facility operations. She has worked and volunteered in various institutions as she made her way down the coast, such as the Marine Mammal Center, Aquarium of the Bay, Aquarium of the Pacific, and the California Science Center. She dives locally as an active PADI Divemaster and Scientific Diver, and is a member of the Grunions US Masters swim team.

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Laura Rink

Associate Aquarium Director, Operations

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in Aquatic Biology, Laura has spent the last 10 years working in the aquarium industry at facilities housing diverse collections of aquatic life.  Her previous positions include Curator at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney, Senior Aquarist at The California Science Center, and Aquarist for the Calvert Marine Museum along the Chesapeake Bay.

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Kelly Kelly

Education Manager

Kelly is responsible for teaching bright-eyed students on field trips about the local coastal ecology, in addition to managing the Key to the Sea and Summer Camp programs. She is excited to be back with Heal the Bay and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, not just to educate others about marine animals and habitats, but also to instill stewardship and foster change. Kelly’s also excited to be back to where she first started as an intern and naturalist in 2014. She is currently working on her M.S. in Informal Science Education at CSU Long Beach. When not teaching on the beach or going to class, Kelly loves going to the zoo (even when she worked there), taking photos, and seeing live music shows.

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Tikiesha Wilson

Education and Outreach Coordinator

“Tiki” is a graduate of the LATTC Chemical Technology Certification program, with an Associate’s Degree in Science. Tiki has been an enthusiastic member of Heal the Bay’s watershed monitoring team since 2011. She was honored by Heal the Bay in 2015 as a “Super Healer”. Her ambitions are to be of service to her city and home, Los Angeles, by protecting our precious waterways. In Spring of 2018, she transitioned to our Aquarium as an Education and Outreach Coordinator where she helps educate K-12 students, while also working with corporations to teach them about conservation and preservation.

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Robert Ramos

Education and Outreach Coordinator

Robert Ramos is an aspiring marine biologist from Philadelphia. He discovered his passion for marine science while attending college at Wesleyan University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in both Biology and Environmental Science. Once graduated, Robert found his way out to California by participating in an AmeriCorps internship on Catalina Island building nature trails. Eventually, Robert was welcomed into the Heal the Bay family as an Education and Outreach Coordinator, where he educates and inspires young people to be stewards of their environment!

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Jenna Segal

Associate Aquarium Director, Programs

Jenna earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Northeastern University, and coordinates with educators, event planners and others who wish to use the facilities. She also acts as liaison with various city agencies and Santa Monica Pier neighbors, and oversees the facility’s public hours and retail operations. Originally from Massachusetts, Jenna moved out west to enjoy the sunshine and study marine science. She started her career at Heal the Bay as an Aquarium and MPA Watch volunteer, and officially joined the staff in 2012.

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Nancy Cheng

Public Programs Manager
Nancy is an intersectional environmentalist who is passionate about working with local communities to conserve our planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity. A strong believer that people conserve what they love, and people love what they know, she hopes to integrate Heal the Bay’s science and policy campaigns with the Aquarium’s marine animal exhibits to emphasize the interconnectedness of people, wildlife, and our environment. Nancy has a B.S. in Animal Science and Natural Resources from Cornell University, and prior to joining Heal the Bay, was a captain on a sailboat and spent a year sailing across the Pacific Ocean to research the impacts of climate change on coastal communities and marine ecosystems. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Nancy is excited to work for an organization that protects the things she loves doing most, such as diving the kelp forests, sailing around the Channel Islands, and wildlife watching for her two favorite animals: the island fox and the southern sea otter.

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Annie Lopez

Public Programs Associate

Annie graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2017 with a bachelor’s in Environmental Science. She’s passionate about connecting with others and creating equitable educational opportunities for people to learn more about the environment and how they can become environmental stewards. In her free time, she enjoys going on hikes, watching sunsets at the beach, and spending time with her family.

Daniel Chavez

Public Programs Associate

Daniel was born and raised in Mexico until he moved to the states, and eventually was lucky enough to get a BS in Marine Science from Boston University. There he focused on behavioral ecology of tropical fish, particularly the clownfish, leading to his undergraduate research thesis. Daniel also went to Belize for a few weeks to participate in field expeditions involving coral reef restoration and climate change. Growing up, he played all kinds of sports; now he spends most of his time golfing, diving, hiking, and spending time with his dog, Luna. He loves being able to make a difference in his community and the feeling of giving back to nature in everything that we do.

Heal the Bay Communications

Talia Walsh

Communications Director

Talia oversees Heal the Bay’s communications department and strategy. She mobilizes individuals and organizations to advocate for equitable, sustainable, and clean water from summit to sea. Her work encompasses branding, public relations, digital marketing, advertising, partnerships, social media, and campaign activations. She earned her B.S. in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University with an emphasis on public communications. In her free time, you can find her hiking, camping, making and experiencing art, gushing over new Emoji, mentoring students and writers, and enjoying live music. Fun fact: She was once a Park Ranger in Rhode Island!

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Alvin Lam

Data and Information Specialist

Alvin graduated from UCLA, but more importantly, unlike Frank Drebin, he doesn’t love swimming in raw sewage. It’s this aversion that led him to Heal the Bay where he helps the team attract lovers of clean water (yes, that was a reference to the 90’s classic, Naked Gun 2 ½).

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Nazara Ali

Data Coordinator

Nazara’s just a girl from the Bay, working now towards healing it. Well, she’s from the San Francisco Bay, but it still applies. The beach has always been her safe space, and now she aims towards making it a safer place for everyone as Data Coordinator. Nazara has grown up around the water, living in San Francisco before moving to San Luis Obispo to study political science, and now lives in LA. Before joining Heal the Bay, Nazara volunteered at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation department and Morro Bay’s Pacific Wildlife Care, a rehabilitation center for wild animals. She loves traveling, hiking, and trying out new vegan recipes.

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Heal the Bay Science, Outreach, & Policy

Dr. Katherine Pease

Science and Policy Director

Katherine assesses the water quality and biological health of greater L.A.’s watersheds and assists stakeholder groups with policy recommendations. Katherine studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Barnard College and earned a Ph.D. from UCLA, where she wrote her dissertation on the impacts of invasive crayfish on native frog tadpoles in the Santa Monica Mountains. Katherine is passionate about freshwater ecosystems and loves to explore L.A.’s wilderness.

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Nancy Shrodes

Senior Watershed Specialist, South Santa Monica Bay

In her newest role, Nancy is the Watershed Coordinator for the South Santa Monica Bay, along side an amazing team. She looks forward to supporting communities across this watershed and in the greater Los Angeles region to achieve high water quality outcomes through projects that have multi-benefits with a focus on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

She continues to connect our technical work to our outreach programming. She passionately works to educate local community members and protect our watersheds and has done so for nearly 9 years at Heal the Bay. While spearheading our campaigns, Nancy earned her Master’s Degree in Water Resource Engineering at LMU, with a certificate in Sustainability. Having grown up in the South Bay, you can find her spending her free time on the volleyball courts or in the water body surfing.

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Mikaela Randolph

Senior Watershed Specialist, Central Santa Monica Bay

Mikaela Randolph joins Heal the Bay as the Watershed Coordinator for the Central Santa Monica Bay Watershed Area. In this role she looks forward to supporting communities across this watershed and in the greater Los Angeles region to achieve high water quality outcomes through projects that have multi-benefits with a focus on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

Mikaela brings a wealth of policy expertise ranging from the national to the local level on a variety of issues and looks forward to the opportunity to bring these complementary skills to her work at Heal the Bay team. Mikaela is a native Angelino, and a lifetime resident of South Los Angeles. She’s a fierce community advocate, proud mom to a teenage girl and dog mom to Hunny Bear, an adorable Lhasa Ahpso.

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Kayleigh Wade

Associate Director of Campaigns and Outreach

Kayleigh (she/they) is from Lynwood, CA and serves as the Associate Director of Campaigns and Outreach. They transferred to UCLA from Santa Monica College where she majored in Chicanx Studies and minored in LGBTQ Studies. With 8 years of organizing experience, their commitment to social justice has played out in a variety of spaces – from organizing with fellow students at Santa Monica College to prevent the privatization of general education courses, to supporting girl-identified youth at the raddest rock camp of all time, Chicas Rockeras de Sur Este Los Angeles. A highlight of her environmental justice journey was serving as the Southeast LA Youth Organizer with Communities for a Better Environment, where she spent 3 years working alongside powerful youth and organizing on campaigns such as joining the 20+ year effort of fighting against the 710-S expansion (which we won!), as well as holding Exide and Central Metal accountable to the harms they caused communities of color. In their spare time, they like thinking about when they’ll finally learn how to surf, trying to finish reading books before they’re due back at the library, hanging with her perfect pets (Penny x Oats forever), and eating alllll the yummy foods.

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Annelisa Moe

Water Quality Scientist

Annelisa helps to keep L.A. water clean and safe by advocating for comprehensive and science-based water quality regulation and enforcement. Before joining the team at Heal the Bay, she worked with the Regional Water Quality Control Board in both the underground storage tank program and the surface water ambient monitoring program. Annelisa completed her master’s degree in geological sciences at CSU Northridge. In her free time she enjoys caving, canyoneering and scuba diving.

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Emily Parker

Coastal and Marine Scientist

Emily works to keep our oceans and marine ecosystems healthy and clean by advocating for strong legislation and enforcement both locally and statewide. She focuses on plastic pollution, marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, and climate change related issues. Before arriving at Heal the Bay, Emily earned a M.A.S in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, where she conducted research on sea turtle conservation in El Salvador. When not advocating for ocean rights, Emily can almost always be found on the shore catching a wave or soaking up some L.A. sunshine.

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Luke Ginger

Water Quality Scientist

Luke fights for the environment’s rights by advocating for water quality regulation and enforcement. But he’s also looking out for the humans who go to the beaches, rivers, and streams by managing the Beach Report Card, River Report Card, and NowCast programs. Before joining Heal the Bay, he worked as an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency compliance consultant for small businesses. He has a B.S. in Biology from The University of St. Thomas and a M.S. in Biology from Miami University. Although Luke does not consider what he does at Heal the Bay “work,” when he’s not in the office he is hiking in the National Parks or hanging out on the beach.

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Emely Garcia

Senior Beach and Watershed Programs Manager

Emely is passionate about environmental conservation, marine protection, and connecting people with the outdoors. She earned her Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Management with a focus in Policy and Planning from Humboldt State University. Before joining the Heal the Bay team, she worked closely with the Sierra Club and LA Nature for All advocating for the protection of our San Gabriel Mountains and San Gabriel River. At Heal the Bay, Emely manages all Beach Programs that are open to the public. If you’re interested in being a part of a Nothing but Sand Beach Cleanup, getting involved with Adopt-a-Beach with your team, or volunteering on Coastal Cleanup Day feel free to reach out to Emely!

On her spare time, you can find her painting nature inspired art work, trail running, and planning her next National Park camping trip!

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Alex Preso

Outreach Manager

Alex Preso is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Growing up in Bozeman, Montana, near Yellowstone National Park, Alex has always been passionate about protecting the environment, and she moved to Venice in February to pursue a career in marine conservation. Since then, she has enjoyed taking advantage of the local beaches and surf spots. She began working with Heal the Bay as an MPA Watch Intern and has now moved into the position of Outreach Manager.

Frankie Orrala

Angler Outreach Program Manager

Frankie manages the Angler Outreach Program, overseeing a multilingual team of five. He also develops partnerships with the Spanish-speaking community and acts as Heal the Bay’s Spanish media liaison. Before joining Heal the Bay, Frankie was a Fishing Observer for the Ecuadorian National Fishing Institute in the Galapagos Islands. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of Guayaquil.

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(Heather) Forest Leigh Curtis

MPA Watch & Watershed Program Senior Coordinator

Forest (they/them) provides support as a science communicator for Heal the Bay’s watershed and community science programs. They joined Heal the Bay after completing their Master’s degree in Biology at the California Institute of Technology, and they are having a blast learning how they can help empower Los Angeles communities in water advocacy. In their free time, Forest enjoys rock climbing, salsa dancing, and exploring the California wilderness with their adventurous rabbit, Han Solo.

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Lucy Rieves

Water Quality Modeler

Lucy uses environmental and historical bacteria data to create the NowCast models for Heal the Bay, and makes the weekly Beach Report Card grades using recent bacterial data from coastal California counties. She studied Applied Mathematics, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, and Geographic Information Systems at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she worked on projects modeling Avalanche risk in the Colorado backcountry and assessing future risk of crop loss with the National Center for Atmospheric Research climate models. Lucy loves exploring and quantifying trends and relationships occurring in the natural world and producing means to improve public health by increasing awareness, as well as any outdoor recreation opportunities!

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