A Los Angeles native, Apryl’s undergraduate degree is a double major: chemistry and marine science. She received her degree with honors from the University of Tampa and worked with Clearwater Marine Aquarium during her entire undergraduate years. She was an Honors Research Fellow and presented her work to the American Chemical Society. The research in isomer reactions also resulted in a scientific publication. After completing summer research in marine chemistry with NOAA when graduating, she went on to the Medical University of South Carolina and received her MS in Biomedical Science. Apryl did her thesis in the Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Epidemiology and volunteered at the South Carolina Aquarium. Her research in the affects of trichloroethylene on metabolism also resulted in a scientific publication. Upon graduation she came back home to L.A. and worked as a statistician for a political research firm.
She “got stuck” in the marketing analytics world after that working for companies like Warner Home Video and TBWA\Chiat\Day. She left the security of the big corporations to start her own digital marketing agency, Social Age Media, and drew in large clients like Marriott, the Tourism Office of Spain, and Byron Katie International. During this time she surfed nearly every day and was involved in volunteer work with Heal the Bay’s Pier Aquarium, Surfrider Foundation, and had a stint with the California Science Center’s Animal Husbandry team. Finally, she realized that 10 year old Apryl would be very disappointed that she had all of the education and experience to be a marine researcher but was doing marketing analytics and strategy instead. After taking an 11 week course in Data Science at General Assembly in the summer of 2015, she was inspired to take the El Porto Shark pet project she started in 2013 and make it into a real business. Still involved in volunteer work, you can find her feeding the tanks and talking about marine life at the Roundhouse Aquarium in Manhattan Beach. As educating the public and next generation of scientists is of utmost importance, you can also find her working on shark programs with Waterfront Education in Redondo Beach and as a member of the Shark Angels team. She’s been featured in Discovery’s Shark Week companion magazine and and as a regular shark expert for many news outlets.
Check her out on HuffPo here
Kayt Colburn – Chief Information Officer
Kayt’s fascination with science started early. As a child she was always found outside somewhere, observing the grass, the water, the streams, trees, and any wildlife that she came across. When she got to college, Environmental Science was a natural draw, and that’s where she discovered GIS and the power of data. Kayt was immediately hooked on GIS! After college and about a year of working for an environmental consulting firm as an analyst, she went on to get a Master’s degree in GIS at the University of Redlands in 2013. Redlands is the home of esri and is truly the birthplace of the most innovative GIS technology, and she felt that during her time there. Her first exposure to GIS in the marine space came while she was finishing up her thesis. A good friend at U of R presented a side project paper at the 2nd ever Ocean GIS Forum at esri with Kayt and she was immediately drawn in by the incredible work of the marine scientists that she met at the conference and was inspired to contribute to the budding industry of marine spatial planning and Ocean GIS. Through that conference she was offered a position as GIS Developer at Oceaneering, where she’s grown as a developer and big data scientist. While her time spent physically in the ocean is limited compared to many in this field, two years ago she found herself being flown out to Svalbard, Norway to live on a Swedish icebreaker for two weeks to test some GIS software that she helped build at latitude 82º with limited connectivity. It was an incredible experience and sparked her drive to do anything and everything in my power to ensure pristine ecosystems such as the Arctic Ocean and the flora and fauna they support are preserved. Needless to say Kayt was thrilled when that same friend who took her to the Ocean GIS Forum in grad school introduced me to Apryl and the El Porto Shark project. Now Kayt is thrilled to show the world through data science how important top predators are to our oceans and our very existence on this blue planet. In her spare time, she has to admit she’s a land dweller, as my true passion is horseback riding. She has her own a horse and currently competes in dressage in south Texas.