Sea Education Association Faculty Kara Lavender Law

Kara Lavender Law, PhD

Research Professor of Oceanography

Kara joined the SEA faculty in 2003 to teach, oversee undergraduate research, and sail as Chief Scientist in SEA Semester programs, including in the regions dubbed “garbage patches” in the eastern North Pacific and western North Atlantic Oceans. For more than 15 years, she has researched plastic debris in the ocean, initially focusing on the physical processes that carry, transport and transform plastics in the marine environment, with more recent work focused “upstream” on the generation, pathways and treatment of plastic waste, ultimately aiming to prevent plastic leakage to the environment. Dr. Law received her Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography/University of California, San Diego in physical oceanography, and a B.S. in mathematics from Duke University.

Jessica Donohue, MS

Research Associate

Jessica joined the SEA plastics team in 2014. She is interested in studying how plastics move and change in the marine environment along with sharing information about ocean plastics through education and outreach. She holds a B.S. in environmental geology from Binghamton University, an M.S. from the University of Rhode Island in environmental science/hydrogeology and has a background in science education and outreach.

Past SEA Researchers

Gregory D. Boyd

Emelia DeForce, PhD

Deb Goodwin, PhD

Skye Morét, MFA

Giora Proskurowski, PhD

Amy Suida, PhD

Jude Wilber, PhD

Erik Zettler, PhD

Summer 2022 Interns

Chloe Beittel
Chloe Beittel
Chloe is an undergraduate student at Duke University and a member of the Duke varsity fencing team. She is majoring in Marine Science and Conservation with a certificate in Policy Journalism and Media Studies and a Biology minor. She has previous research experience studying the mesopredator trophic cascade effects in marine ecosystems and is currently researching breathing events of short finned pilot whales. She has an avid love of photography and science communication. She hopes to use environmental storytelling to create positive change for the planet and the people on it.
Ava De Leon
Ava De Leon
Ava is an undergraduate student at the University of Miami studying Marine Affairs and Public Relations. She has a passion for science communication and hopes to bridge the gap between scientists and the public for pressing issues, like plastic pollution, through her work. Ava enjoys exploring creative outlets and outdoor spaces through art, design, and scuba diving.
Isabelle Stewart
Isabelle Stewart
Isabelle is an undergraduate student at Gettysburg College studying biology. She sailed with Sea Education Association in the Marine Biodiversity and Conservation program. She has previously done research on food allergies, feeding habits of marine fishes, and protein misfolding in C. elegans. Isabelle is incredibly passionate about the health of our oceans and natural environment, biological oceanography, education, and conservation. She loves to spend time exploring the outdoors by hiking, swimming, and sailing.

Previous Interns

Emily Dailey, 2018

Florida State University

Madeline Hughes, 2017

Wellesley College

Julia “JJ” McDowell, 2016

Cornell University

Kit Pavlekovsky, 2015

Carleton College

Ethan Edson, 2015

Northeastern University

Kate Tremblay, 2015 – 2016

University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth

Theophilos Collins, 2014

Duke University

High School Science Fair Projects

Students from Falmouth Academy, Falmouth, MA

Piper Augat, 2022

“A Comparison of Microplastics from the Caribbean and North Atlantic Gyre”

Sarah Thieler, 2019 & 2020

Exploring the Presence of Microplastics in Great Pond”

“Microplastic Characterization in Surface Waters Near Pacific Islands”

Heather Wang, 2018

The Degradation of Microplastic in the South Pacific Ocean”

Bishakha Oli, 2017

Microplastics in the Coastal Ocean over Time”

Martha Clark, 2016

Microplastic Ingestion by Oysters, Crassostrea virginica”

Palma ​​Foschi Walko, 2015

Which of Three Local Cape Cod Beaches has the Greatest Abundance of Plastic Debris?”

Funding and support provided by:

March Marine Initiative

The Henry L. and Grace Doherty Foundation

With additional support from:

Elemental Herbs