Our Staff
Captain Monk and Captain Kat Daniel

Monk and Kat bring to SeaTrek a wealth of knowledge of sailing, scuba diving and youth education. They both hold U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Masters Licenses, are NAUI Course Directors, and are First Aid, CPR, and DAN Oxygen Administration Instructors. Their combined experience on live-aboard dive vessels spans 40 years in locations including the Caymans, Honduras, Mexico, Florida, Australia, Costa Rica, and Hawaii.

Captain Monk has over 30 years of experience on live-aboard dive vessels. He has developed and directed several student diving programs and served as a research diver and dive supervisor for Texas A&M University, San Jacinto College and the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

Captain Kat has a B.S. degree in Physical Geography and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education from the University of Michigan. She teaches math and science at a private school in Michigan while raising three active kids. She is an avid sailor, having years of experience running world-class live-aboard dive vessels.

Captain Colin "Farva" Jones
Program Director, Captain, Scuba Instructor Trainer, Equipment Manager

Captain Jones, aka Farva Jones, is a NAUI Instructor and Captain who has been with SeaTrek for more than 15 years. A California boy through and through, he is one of SeaTrek’s most experienced staff members. He has seen it all and is ready to pass on the experiences he’s acquired to any student or staff member. Always with a smile on his face and a joke to tell, he takes care of all manner of problems that come his way. Farva is well traveled, with many a story to tell about his adventures or things he has seen and experienced. There’s no telling where his adventures will take him next, but SeaTrek will always be a part of them.

Kelsey Hillman
Program Director, Scuba Instructor Trainer, Internship Coordinator

Kelsey was born and raised in Princeton Junction, New Jersey. However, she now resides in sunny Charleston, South Carolina, where she attended the College of Charleston and earned a degree in marine biology with a minor in environmental and sustainable studies. In her down time, Kelsey loves being outside enjoying nature while hanging out with her dogs and friends. Kelsey is a NAUI Instructor Trainer and intends to spread her love for the ocean through teaching others.

Rio Castro
Chief Medical Officer

Rio is the Chief Medical Officer for SeaTrek BVI. She is nationally registered as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and is responsible for taking care of student and staff medical needs in emergency and non-emergency situations. Currently, Rio attends Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio where she studies Chemical Biology and Cognitive Science with an aim towards attending medical school. She has always been passionate about medicine and applying her knowledge to help people. Rio is also very passionate about marine life, nature, diving (holds certifications in Open Water, Advanced, and Rescue Diving) and exploration, so SeaTrek has been more than a perfect fit for her!

Captain Alex “Bucky” Buckner
Captain, Scuba Instructor

Bucky was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. He attended Christian Brothers High School in Memphis where he played football for four years and graduated in 2015. He now attends the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and is majoring in Biomedical Engineering where he pledged to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Bucky has been with SeaTrek for three years, first as a student and then as an intern and full staff member. He loves the outdoors and spends most of his time fishing or cruising around Pickwick Lake in Mississippi. Bucky plans on attending Medical School after college and hopefully becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon to help athletes with injuries.

Captain Angie Cowan
Director of Marine Science, Captain, Scuba Instructor Trainer, Digital Marketing Specialist

Science, scuba, travel and education have defined Angie’s life and career. While earning a B.S. in Biology at Colorado State University, she studied marine biology, anthropology, and conservation in Australia and Belize. In 2007 Angie earned her Teaching Credential and M.A. in Teaching from UC-Irvine and became part of the SeaTrek family. She was a National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellow while earning her M.S. degree in Earth and Environmental Science at Indiana University where her research focused on algal ecology and water quality. Since 2010 she has worked with the National Geographic Society as a curriculum writer/reviewer. In 2014 she was an adjunct faculty member with Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis and developed a Coastal Environments & Sustainability field course in the Virgin Islands. As long as she’s in, near or under the water, all is well in her world.

Captain Aidan Parker
Captain, Scuba Instructor

Aidan was born and raised mainly in Scotland, with a brief 7-year stay in Houston, Texas. He is now attending the University of Leeds gaining his Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Aidan has been an avid diver since the age of 8, starting off in the pool and eventually moving out into the ocean blue at the age of 10. Aidan has over 500 dives across 28 countries and 6 continents and brings his diving experience to teaching at SeaTrek. Aidan has been with SeaTrek for several years, working his way from a student to intern to Captain and instructor. He is passionate about making sure the students achieve as much as possible at SeaTrek. Aidan has future plans to work in the oil industry.

Kaitlin Gasper
Lead Biologist

Kaitlin participated in SeaTrek's FATHOMS voyage in 2015 and has just joined the team as our Lead Biologist! Her interest in the marine world started while growing up in Colorado, where she read every ocean-related book in the library. Her interest turned into her passion when she graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Environmental and Ocean Sciences with a focus in Marine Ecology and a Biology minor. Since then, she has worked with a research organization in South Africa called Oceans Research where she contributed to projects on great white shark population dynamics, whale and dolphin tracking, tag-and-release studies on catsharks, and more. Her research looked at magnetic deterrence in hammerhead sharks, which aims to reduce shark bycatch in longline fishery practices. Eventually, she wants to work in a field that aims to find sustainable solutions for businesses through environmental preservation.

Anna Ortega
Marine Science Consultant

Anna’s love of marine life began by playing with snapping turtles in northern Michigan. Science was always her favorite subject, maybe because Captain Kat was her middle school science teacher! She’s rehabilitated sea turtles, studied wasp aggression, investigated the aquatic microbial world, tracked coral disease in South Caicos, and done climate change studies in the Great Lakes - but nothing compares to her love of doing science at SeaTrek BVI. Anna has a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity from the University of Michigan and is currently working toward her M.S. in Marine Biology at the University of Western Australia. She started working with SeaTrek in 2018 as part of the Bio team and then as Lead Biologist. Anna continues to consult with us and keep our science program fresh and exciting!

Captain Austin Phillips
Captain, Divemaster, Watersports Bossman

A born and raised southerner, Captain Austin "Arkansas" Phillips attended Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas where he pursued a B.A. in Environmental Studies. Ever since he was child, "Arkansas" has had a love for the outdoors and especially anything to do with water. In his spare time you can find him surfing endless waves on the many lakes of Arkansas or carving up the slopes of Colorado in the winter. On top of his duties as captain, he is also a NAUI Divemaster and the Watersports Director here at SeaTrek. Later in life Austin would like to become a Ski Patroller as well as continue his career as a Captain.

Captain Allison Hill
Captain

Captain Al (aka. "Big Al") is originally from Woodbridge, VA. She attended Messiah College in Pennsylvania where she earned her B.A. in Adventure Education with a minor in Psychology. Currently, she lives in Canada working on outdoor programs with youth. Al has worked with SeaTrek for several years as a captain. She is passionate about teaching sailing and helping develop students into leaders. Al is a certified scuba diver and looks forward to earning more NAUI certifications through SeaTrek so she can continue to explore the ocean and experience all it has to offer!

Captain Andrew “The Bos” Boswell
Captain, Scuba Instructor

“The Bos” has been with SeaTrek over 15 years and is a certified NAUI Instructor. He is a student at the University of Maine in Orono where he is studying English. Born in Dallas, Texas, he moved to Kennebunkport, Maine at the age of six and grew up exploring tide pools and scouring mud flats. He went through SeaTrek’s ShIP internship program in 2011. Bos was also Capt. Monk’s first mate for five summers. In addition to his first mate duties, his favorite job at SeaTrek is teaching his students and fellow staff members all about the inner workings of the boats.

Ray Ball
Scuba Instructor

Ray has been there and done that! After retiring from Ford as a senior engineer he took his passion for scuba to the next level and became a scuba instructor. He has been diving in environments from the Arctic Ocean to the South Pacific. During the off-season he is teaching scuba at Akron University, Cleveland Clinic Hudson Branch, and Deep Six Specialists. He also works at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium as an Exhibition Diver. He loves teaching his SeaTrek students how to dive, especially the math and physics part of the courses, and all about the boat when they are 'captain for a day'.

Kayce Howard
Scuba Instructor

Kayce was born in Tucson, Arizona and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Since then she has lived in Spain, Maryland, and is currently in Colorado. She works at a local dive shop year-round, except when she is teaching students in the British Virgin Islands. Her passion for the ocean began when she was in 3rd grade learning about whales and it has only expanded since then. She loves helping people learn about the ocean by taking them underwater and showing them firsthand how amazing it really is!

Suzie Gourley

Suzie was born in California but raised on a farm in Western Pennsylvania. Growing up, she visited the ocean on family vacations and never thought about focusing her career or life around it. Leaning more towards the arts and math, she obtained a B.S. in Fashion Merchandising from Kent State University. After having fellow SeaTrek staffer Ray as her dive instructor, she became fascinated with marine life. She’s obsessed with sharks but will settle for diving with any marine creatures, including freshwater fish in local quarries. Since becoming a diver, Suzie has shifted gears and is looking into pursuing a second degree in marine biology. She’s excited to be a part of the SeaTrek team as airport liaison and to help out wherever she can so that others can fall in love with the ocean the way she did.

Serenity Mitchell
Photo Pro, Scuba Instructor

Serenity was born in Colorado, but always loved the ocean. After college she found herself moving to the US Virgin Islands to be a photographer and scuba instructor. She started at SeaTrek as a student in the FATHOMS science program and fell in love with the ocean and the boats. Her favorite animal is a shark, and she can talk for hours on the different sharks and share stories of her encounters throughout the years. She can't wait to explore the waters of the BVI this summer and assist SeaTrek students in finding their joy in whatever sparks their interest.

Max Klemm
Boat Biologist, Divemaster

Max has been passionate about ecology and biology since he was 5-years-old running around the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. His hobbies while on the boat include practicing his invertebrate identification and looking for sea turtles. He is currently double majoring in History and Philosophy of Science and Environmental Studies at Case Western Reserve University. Max started at SeaTrek as a student in 2015 and worked his way up going through our ShIP intern program, eventually joining our biology team. Science presentations are Max's favorite part of the voyage because it's good practice for being a high school teacher, which is what he aspires to be someday.

Kirsten Kendler
Divemaster

Kirsten is from Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Adlai E. Stevenson High School. She is extremely passionate about soccer and has played at the highest level in the U.S. Development Academy. After facing some setbacks as a busy athlete, Kirsten hopes to become a physicians assistant for an orthopedic surgeon so she can help other injured athletes. Since she was a toddler she has been traveling to the BVI and in love with the water and swimming with the fish. Kirsten has been part of the SeaTrek family for several years and has tried it all! She has voyaged on the Bahamas Explorer and Leewards Explorer trips and is now working on main program in the BVI. Kirsten loves working with her students and can’t wait to be back in the water teaching and earning her NAUI Instructor certification.

Leilani Elkaslasy
Divemaster

Leilani was born and raised in New York City. Her passion for diving started at a young age when her dad would let her use his spare air cylinder to “scuba” in kiddy pools. She has been with SeaTrek for many years and became a staff member to be part of creating the awe-inspiring experiences she had with SeaTrek for others. She has a deep love for the Bahamas after spending a high school semester studying and doing research in Eleuthera. She is passionate about all things ocean and will take any opportunity to enthusiastically teach her students about marine life, freediving, scuba and more.

Captain Monk and Captain Kat Daniel
Captain Colin "Farva" Jones
Kelsey Hillman
Rio Castro
Captain Alex “Bucky” Buckner
Captain Angie Cowan
Captain Aidan Parker
Kaitlin Gasper
Anna Ortega
Captain Austin Phillips
Captain Allison Hill
Captain Andrew “The Bos” Boswell
Ray Ball
Kayce Howard
Suzie Gourley
Serenity Mitchell
Max Klemm
Kirsten Kendler
Leilani Elkaslasy

Email link for staff to use while on the road

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NEW Voyage!   Two-Week Bahamas Explorer (July 17-30)    GO EXPLORE!