Meet the Staff of Maui Ocean Camp, 2009!

Merrill Kaufman
Education Director

Merrill has lived on Maui for 21 years. Originally from Long Island, NY, Merrill joined Pacific Whale Foundation as a research intern in Australia and then moved to Hawaii where she graduated from Chaminade University with a degree in elementary education. Merrill also holds a Montessori early childhood teaching credential. Merrill has 4 daughters who were born on Maui and enjoys gardening, hula, ocean swimming and crafting.

"I love working with young children, especially in outdoor settings. Just observing and questioning kids brings out their innate curiosity and scientific tendencies."

Erica Cushing
Youth Education Manager
program scheduling, administrative support, teaches labs

Erica moved to Maui from Texas 10 years ago. Erica earned a degree in marine biology from Texas A&M University in Galveston and a masters in business administration from University of Phoenix. In addition, Erica is a certified divemaster and rescue diver. Erica joined Pacific Whale Foundation after working 9 years in animal husbandry.
Erica has a one-year old daughter who keeps her very busy. In any ìfreeî time Erica enjoys running, gardening, or reading a good book.

"I love learning and embrace the opportunity to inspire youth to learn more while having fun.The best feeling is when you see a child beam with pride when he has accomplished something grand in his mind."

Ashley Justice
Community Outreach Specialist,
Maui Whale Festival Coordinator
sun, surf and service camp for middle school

Ashley graduated from the University of the South (Sewanee, TN) in 2004 with a degree in Anthropology and Environmental Studies. After graduating, she went on to work in the conservation department of The Nature Conservancy in her hometown of Atlanta, GA. In 2005, Ashley joined the Peace Corps as a Habitat Conservation Volunteer in Ecuador. Ashley is fluent in Spanish. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys yoga, a good book, and pretty much any type of beach related activity.

"Having had opportunities to meet children from all over the world and from many different backgrounds, one of the things that I am always struck by is their enthusiasm to learn about nature. This enthusiasm really opens people up to think about their world and themselves in new ways."

Carmen Villasenor
Ocean Camp for Kids Lead Staff

Carmen holds a MS degree in Outdoor Education and has worked extensively with the Peace Corps in the Philippines. At the Bradford Woods Outdoor Education Center in Indiana, Carmen planned and instructed a hands-on environmental education program. Carmen has just completed her first Maui whale season and is excited about summer camp!

"I'm full of energy and enthusiasm and ready to bring my experiences with different cultures to the children in our Ocean Camp program."

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