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 25 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 two active boys. 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 the past 10 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 and in the Fall of 2015 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 Austin Phillips
Captain, Divemaster, Watersports Bossman

A born and raised southerner, Captain Austin "Arkansas" Phillips is currently attending Hendrix college in Conway, AR where he is pursuing 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 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 spent two semesters studying marine biology, anthropology, and conservation in Australia and Belize. After working in experiential science education, Angie earned her Teaching Credential and M.A. in Teaching from UC-Irvine. In 2007 she became part of the SeaTrek family and 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 hired as 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.

Anna Ortega
Lead Biologist

Anna’s love of marine life began by playing with snapping turtles in Northern Michigan. Science was always her favorite subject in school, and she even had Captain Kat as her middle school science teacher! She spent the summers of high school on the East Coast, one rehabilitating sea turtles in North Carolina, and another working on a research project at Northeastern University. Currently, she is working on her degree from the University of Michigan in Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity. When she’s finished, she wants to get her M.S. degree in marine biology, and eventually work as a field marine biologist at NOAA. Anna really loves to spend time with her huge family, go to Michigan football games, read everything under the sun, go scuba diving, and cook. She started with SeaTrek in 2018 as the airport liaison and part of the bio team, and now she is our Lead Biologist! Whether cleaning up after dinner or turtle tagging, she’s always excited about something.

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 with a planned year of work experience at Phillips 66 refinery in the UK beginning early August.

Captain Andrew “The Bos” Boswell
Captain, Scuba Instructor

“The Bos” has been with SeaTrek for 12 years and is a certified NAUI Divemaster. 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 internship program in 2011. Bos has also been Capt. Monk’s first mate for three 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.

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 on St. John in the USVI and works for Pizza Pi, a food boat that sells pizza to boaters coming through the Caribbean. This summer will be her 2nd working with SeaTrek as a captain. She is passionate about teaching sailing and helping develop students into leaders. Last year she became a NAUI certified diver and is looking forward to earning more NAUI certifications through SeaTrek so she can continue to explore the ocean and experience all it has to offer!

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!

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, Photo Pro

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 two years old she has been traveling to the BVI and has always loved being in the water 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.

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 is especially excited to be Bahamas Explorer Lead this year as 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 Austin Phillips
Captain Angie Cowan
Anna Ortega
Captain Aidan Parker
Captain Andrew “The Bos” Boswell
Captain Allison Hill
Ray Ball
Kayce Howard
Max Klemm
Kirsten Kendler
Leilani Elkaslasy

Email link for staff to use while on the road

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