Who is SCOPE?

All SCOPE tours are lead by volunteers. Our volunteer pool is composed of graduate students, faculty, and staff from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. 

Mission Statement

Since its inception, SCOPE has grown in presence and impact in the Scripps and San Diego community, and broadened its mission from loosely defined outreach to a program mission centered around four specific goals:

  1. to foster scientific curiosity and STEM education opportunities in today’s youth and the broader public, especially demographics traditionally underrepresented in science and underserved communities. ​​
  2. to spread understanding of, and appreciation for, scientific practices.
  3. to promote environmental stewardship.
  4. to provide graduate students and researchers opportunities to engage in scientific outreach and communication.


SCOPE coordinators

The behind the scenes organization and planning is handled by a group of volunteer graduate student coordinators. If you are contacting SCOPE, you will be talking to one of us! We can help you schedule events, and will help to make your visit to SIO a positive, educational experience!

Kelli Mullane

Kelli Mullane (she/her/hers) - Coordinator since 2018

Oceans cover over 70% of Earth’s surface and contain about 97% of the Earth’s water, yet less than 1% of this space is habitable by humans. I study the microorganisms that are able to survive in environments that we humans - and most other organisms - can’t. These microorganisms are called ‘extremophiles’ (lovers of the extreme), and my research focuses on how these organisms are able to survive (and even thrive) under extreme environmental conditions like high pressure, low temperature, and high pH. 

I’m a PhD student in the Marine Biology program at SIO, and my lab generally focuses on deep-sea trench microbiology.

Fun Fact: A lot of my work has implications for the origin of life on Earth and other planets (a field of science called astrobiology)!

Emelia Chamberlain

Emelia Chamberlain (she/her/hers)  - Coordinator since 2019

When describing water from summer melt ponds under the microscope during his 1893-1896 Arctic expedition, famous polar explorer Dr. Fridtjof Nansen exclaimed “I actually found bacteria – even these regions are not free from them!” And, of course, he was right! The majority of biomass on Earth is made up of these microorganisms and the Arctic Ocean is no exception with up to ~1 million bacteria found in 1 mL seawater alone.  

As a Biological Oceanography PhD student in the Bowman Lab at SIO, I study the diversity and ecological roles of the microbial communities living inside and underneath sea-ice. 

Fun Fact: To collect samples for my research I spent almost 6 months on a ship floating through the Arctic Ocean on an international polar expedition recreating Nansen's famous drift. When I'm not trapped in ice, I love to read, play board games, and snuggle with my cats!

Erik Saberski

Erik Saberski (he/him/his) - Coordinator since 2020

“Can a butterfly flapping its wings in California lead to a hurricane in Florida?” A weird thought, but an interesting example of cause and effect.

Lots of things in the ocean are unpredictable. Temperature, fish populations, nutrient concentrations etc. This is because there is an entire web of cause and effects driving what happens in the ocean.

As a biological oceanography PhD student in the Sugihara Lab at SIO, I use math to untangle the complex relationships between organisms and their environment.

Fun Fact: My dog Onyx is with me everywhere I go. Maybe you’ll see her on your next pier tour!

 Shailja Gangrade (she/her/hers) - coordinator since 2021

If you have watched the movie Elf, you may know the quote: "I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly-twirly gumdrops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel."

It turns out the journey of plankton in the ocean may be just as swirly-twirly before shooting out along a fast current. As a PhD student in the biological oceanography program, I use physics and biology to study waters that contain plankton (small floating animals). Using both data collected from ships at-sea and from satellites above Earth, I can figure out where these plankton-filled waters may have come from and where they're going. Because many animals such as fish, seabirds, and whales, feed on patches of plankton, it is important to understand their small and large movements in the ocean.

Fun Fact: While I love swimming in the ocean, I also love flying through the sky! I've been ziplining, paragliding, and even skydiving and bungee jumping – both on the same day!

 Hannah Adams (she/her/hers) - coordinator since 2021

Remember the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland? Well, he (and other hat makers from the 19th century) were crazy because of their work of producing hats and felting with mercury! Over time, we learned that mercury is a powerful neurotoxicant, and it bioaccumulates in the marine food web. This is why you should be concerned about eating tuna and swordfish, due to high levels of mercury! 

I am a PhD student in the Marine Chemistry program, and I work in the Schartup lab to study mercury biogeochemistry. In other words, I study the various chemical reactions that mercury undergoes in the marine environment and how it gets incorporated into the marine food web. 

Fun Fact: I went to a K-12 Spanish Immersion school, so I am fluent in Spanish! I love connecting with different people in Spanish, and maybe you'll catch me giving a Pier tour in Spanish!


Past scope coordinators

Kate Nesbit

Wiley Wolfe

Brooke Rasina

Shelby Jones-Cervantes

Maitreyi Nagarkar

Heather N. Page

Jessica Carilli

Alexandra Curtis

Lauren A. Freeman

Melissa Garren

Summer Martin

Nastassia Patin

Samuel J. Wilson

Lisa Munger

Christine Reif

Alison LaBonte

Fernando Gonzalez