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, the scientific method.
  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!

Kate Nesbit

Kate Nesbit - Coordinator since 2016

If it lives in the ocean, and doesn’t have a backbone - I probably have a fun party fact about it! Invertebrates are really neat, and the ocean is teeming with all kinds of these weird critters!

I am a PhD student in Marine Biology, training in the Hamdoun lab. My research uses sea urchins as a model system to better understand how chemical pollutants in the environment impact development and contribute to disease.  

Fun fact: I love imaging/microscopy and diving (of course!). Outside of my interests that relate to the ocean, I love to bake and play multiple instruments.

Wiley Wolfe

Wiley Wolfe - Coordinator since 2017

Your car burns gas (probably). That makes carbon dioxide gas. About a third of that gas goes into the ocean. I study what happens next! 

I am a PhD student studying marine chemistry and geochemistry and my background in chemical engineering. My labs’ research focuses on carbon in the ocean and the technology we use to measure it. 

Fun Fact: I really enjoy making dad jokes when giving pier tours.

Kelli Mullane

Kelli Mullane - 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  - 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  - 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!