Welcome! My name is Anastasia ("Ana" for short) and I am an almost-graduated MS student studying ecology in the Castillo Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am currently also serving as a NC STEM Policy Fellow in the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR), where I work on projects related to coastal resilience and implementation of nature-based solutions in the floodplain.
I made my way down south a year after graduating from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, where I received my B.A. in biology and music. During my time at HC, I was a Brooks Scholar and undergraduate researcher working under Dr. Justin McAlister in the Marine Organismal Biology Lab. In the MOB Lab, my research investigated how environmental conditions influence reproductive energetics across different urchin populations in the Canary Islands. In summer 2018, I had the opportunity to travel to Oregon as an intern with the NSF REU program, which allowed me to conduct independent research investigating larval development in Pacific sand dollars (you can read more about this experience at my blog from that summer here!). After graduation, I moved to Germany for a year as a junior ambassador with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals. At UNC, my work is focused on investigating the microbial ecology of temperate corals off the coast of North Carolina.
Beyond research, I am passionate about advocating for the environment and sustainability and mentoring the next generation of marine scientists. I previously served as the Director of Environmental Affairs in Graduate and Professional Student Government, and have been fortunate enough to mentor and teach many incredible students at both the high school and college level. In my free time, I enjoy running, obsessing over the houseplant collection I've accumulated over the past two years, and taking my cat Meechi on walks around the block.