by Meagan Schroeder | Thursday, Aug 05, 2021
Summer Intern 2021

FAU Harbor Branch 2021 summer interns (16) will be presenting the results of their 10 weeks of research on Thursday, August 5, in the Johnson Education Auditorium (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.). The Harbor Branch Summer Intern Program began in 1974 (the longest running program at Harbor Branch) and attracts top undergraduate and graduate students for a 10-week internship with Harbor Branch mentors. These presentations are the high point of the internship experience for the students.

Our 2021 sponsors include the Link Foundation, the Gertrude E. Skelly Foundation,  the Marilyn C. Link Memorial Internship supported by the  HBOI Foundation, and the Fort Pierce Yacht Club. 

Intern projects are very much a reflection of the research being done at Harbor Branch, so if you want to learn more about our current research, with fresh perspectives provided by the interns, this is a good opportunity to do so!

This year we will also be live streaming the event.  Below are the links and schedule:


Session 1
9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Direct Link to Watch

Session 2
1:30 -3:00 p.m.
Direct Link to Watch


9:00  Welcoming Remarks 

Dr. Dennis Hanisak (FAU Harbor Branch)


Session 1 – Engineering, Technology, and Aquaculture 

Chair: Dr. Paul Wills (FAU Harbor Branch)


9:10  Monica Trask  (Ohio State University)

Hydrokinetic Turbine Blade Force Analysis and Performance Characterization  Mentor: Bill Baxley

Sponsor: Link Foundation


9:25  Alexis Base  (Florida Atlantic University)

A Digital Holographic Imaging System for In Situ Measurements of Marine Particles, Plankton, and Fish Larvae

Mentor: Dr. Adi Nayak

Sponsor: Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation (Marilyn C. Link Memorial Internship)


9:40 Carlos Garriga-Dominguez  (Florida Atlantic University)

Refractive Indices of Marine Particles Using Digital Inline Holography

Mentor: Dr. Adi Nayak

Sponsor: Link Foundation


9:55 William Smith  (Florida Atlantic University)

Investigative Design for a Helikite-Mountable Free-Range Camera Platform

Mentor: Dr. Mike Twardowski

Sponsor: Link Foundation


10:10 Robert Pugh  (Florida Atlantic University)

Flowers Fish Farm Application

Mentors: Dr. Bing Ouyang and Dr. Paul Wills 

Sponsor: Link Foundation


10:25 Amanda Reinhardt  (Florida Atlantic University)

Correlations between Turbidity, Chlorophyll Concentration, and Dissolved Oxygen Levels in Outdoor Channel Catfish Aquaculture Ponds

Mentors: Dr. Paul Wills and Dr. Bing Ouyang

Sponsor: Link Foundation


10:40 – 11:00 Break


11:00  Sponsor Remarks

Dr. Andy Clark (Link Foundation)


Session 2 – Marine Ecosystem Health 

Chair: Dr. Annie Page-Karjian (FAU Harbor Branch)


11:05   Jade Salis  (Coastal Carolina University)

Can Juvenile Hard Clams,  Mercenaria, be Successfully Produced in an IMTA System that Experiences Varying pH?

Mentor: Dr. Susan Laramore

Sponsor: Link Foundation


11:20  Kayla McCulloch  (University of Miami)

Effectiveness of Hard Clam Field Culture Gear against Whitespotted Eagle Ray  Aetobatus   narinariPredation

Mentor: Dr. Matt Ajemian

Sponsor: Link Foundation


11:35  Loann Koch  (University of South Carolina)

           Seagrass Crisis in the IRL: Is  Ruppia   maritima  the Plant of the Situation?

Mentor: Dr. M. Dennis Hanisak

Sponsor: Link Foundation


11:50 Cody Acker  (Indian River State College)

Out Fishing, Not Catching

Mentors: Dr. Jon Shenker & Dr. M. Dennis Hanisak

Sponsor: Fort Pierce Yacht Club


12:05 Clara Hay  (United States Coast Guard Academy)

Essential and Non-Essential Analyte Bioaccumulation, Distribution, and Elimination in Odontocetes

Mentors: Dr. Annie Page-Karjian & Steve Burton

Sponsor: Link Foundation


12:20 Lunch & Photographs  (Interns, Mentors, Sponsors)


Session 3 – Marine Natural Products Drug Discovery, Sediment Chemistry, and Outreach 

Chair: Dr. Amy Wright (FAU Harbor Branch)


1:30 Tahlia Cisneros  (Keiser University)

Discovery of Antibiotic and Adjuvant Activity from the Haplosclerida Sponge

Mentors: Dr. Amy Wright & Dr. Peter McCarthy

Sponsor: The Gertrude E. Skelly Charitable Foundation


1:45 Olivia Hernandez  (Eckerd College)

The Discovery of Secondary Metabolites from  Jaspis  sp. Effective against MRSA

Mentors: Dr. Priscilla Winder & Dr. Peter McCarthy

Sponsor: The Gertrude E. Skelly Charitable Foundation


2:00 Anika Heuberger  (University of Florida)

Targeting Metabolic Pathways of Pancreatic Cancer Cells with Marine Natural Compounds

Mentor: Dr. Esther Guzmán

Sponsor: The Gertrude E. Skelly Charitable Foundation


2:15  Emily Frett  (Luther College)

Sediment Fluxes of Color Dissolved Organic Matter in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

Mentor: Dr. Jordon Beckler

Sponsor: Link Foundation


2:30  Katelyn DiGirolomo  (Nova Southeastern University)

“Keep the Sea Free of Debris”: A New Junior Ambassador Program for Teens in Underserved Communities

Mentor: Dr. Gabby Barbarite

Sponsor: Link Foundation


2:45   Closing Remarks 

Dr. Dennis Hanisak (FAU Harbor Branch)