Youth Ambassador Programme

All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassadors are dedicated individuals who promote sustainable development and stewardship of the Atlantic Ocean. Ambassadors will develop campaigns and reach out to local communities, students and civil society, engage decision makers as well as work with local media to conserve and protect the Atlantic Ocean for future generations. In the development of online or local campaigns and events, Ambassadors will be supported by All-Atlantic research and innovation projects.

 The first goal of the Ambassadors will be to campaign and drive change in their own communities. Successful campaigns will be presented in early 2020 in Brussels at the All-Atlantic Forum. The All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassadors Initiative is supported by the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance under the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation and the Belém Statement on Atlantic Ocean Research & Innovation Cooperation.

Adrian Rogers


Adrian Rogers, originally from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, is attending the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland. On top of his studies, Adrian is an Ocean Bridge Youth Ambassador. Adrian’s main focus through his youth ambassador activities has been promoting sustainable fisheries; however, he has participated in various service projects across Eastern Canada, including completing Environmental Assessments, organizing shoreline cleanups, and helping to organize a freshwater quality awareness event. Adrian’s work as an All-Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by the Ocean Bridge program and Ocean Wise.

Eimear Manning


Eimear obtained her Masters of Science in Marine Sustainability in 2015. Since graduating she has worked in aquariums across Ireland as an aquarist and breeder. She has cared for exotic species held in quarantine facilities, as well as facilitated breeding programs for seahorses, jellyfish, rays, and sharks. For the past 3 years she has travelled to Miami, Florida to live aboard the R/V Garvin with the Field School crew. These expeditions enabled Eimear to assist in research being conducted at the University of Miami and Coastal Carolina University. Aboard the R/V Garvin she gained experience 4catching and scientifically working-up large predatory sharks and stingrays. Eimear's main interests are on public perception of sharks, and the effects of climate change on their behavioural ecology. She hopes to someday have the opportunity to conduct a PhD based on these passions. Eimear currently works in environmental education. She travels to schools, businesses, and community groups to inform individuals about how to lead more sustainable lifestyles. She presents workshops nationwide on plastic waste, pollution, water/energy consumption, and on marine sustainability.

Johanne Vad


Dr. Johanne Vad is a post-doctoral research associate currently working with within the Horizon 2020 EU-ATLAS European Project, which focusses on deep-sea ecosystems conservation in the North Atlantic. With this project, I have learned to collaborate efficiently with researchers from Europe and Canada. I have also taken part in several scientific expeditions (Diving: Maldives, Greenland; Ship-based: Spain, Ireland, Scotland, Canada) and understand how scientific data, needed for efficient conservation, is gathered. Dr. Vad’s work as an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by the University of Edinburgh via the EU Horizon 2020 research projects ATLAS and iAtlantic.

Leah McConney


Ms. Leah McConney is an Oceans Biologist working on the creation of marine protected areas at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. She is always looking for opportunities to share her passion for the oceans and believes we all have a role to play in the sustainable use of the marine environment. In addition to being an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador, Leah is also an Ocean Bridge Youth. Ms. McConney's work as an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by Ocean Wise.

Luciana Azul Irazoqui Soler


I have a degree in International Relations from the Universidad del Salvador, specializing in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy. Currently I work in the Liaison Office Argentina - European Union of the Secretariat of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation of the Argentine Republic, as an Official European Research Project Officer. Designated All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador in 2019.

Micaela Stange


Micaela Belen Stange, originally from Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina, is a recent graduate of a Biological Sciences Degree with a final job during which she studied the foraging sites and possible migration routes of green turtles through the use of stable isotopes and isoscapes under the support of the organization "The Leatherback Trust" and "IBIOMAR -CONICET". She completed her studies in Chubut, Patagonia Argentina, where she worked in parallel and actively developing environmental education programs dedicated to conservation and also participated in several scientific projects. Micaela is a youth ambassador for Argentina and her main focus through her youth ambassador activities has been the promotion of the ocean and the conscious use of his resources through education and active participation in the communities of two completely different regions of Argentina. Micaela has a deep belief that the participation and inclusion of communities and children are an essential element when working on any kind of conservation post.

Odeline Billant


Ms. Odeline Billant has a Master’s degree in political economy (Sciences Po Paris) and a Master’s degree in environmental law (University of Limoges). She is currently pursuing PhD at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale, developing a methodology to measure of the implementation of marine environmental law, specifically focusing on land-based pollution in the Atlantic (plastic, waste-water, nutrients). As the manager of a European project, she worked in interdisciplinary and international contexts and developed skills in project management, communication and event organisation useful to design and develop campaigns. Her Master’s thesis was related to the regulation of plastic bags in African countries bordering the Atlantic coast. Ms. Billant’s work as an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by Ifremer via the EU Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support Action AANChOR.

Raiza Andrade Borges Andrade


Ms. Raíza Andrade has a degree in Oceanography and is currently pursuing a PhD in chemistry at the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil. Her research has always been focused in natural and/or anthropogenic inputs of trace elements to the marine environment. Her scientific background has given her the opportunity to take part in scientific expeditions in the Atlantic Ocean (North and South) and to Antarctic in the near future. She is very curious and passionate about science, the environment, and specially the oceans. She believes that it is time for a change and that we must give people the opportunity of choosing a better option for the planet and all the life in it. Ms. Andrade’s work as an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by MCTIC.

Alicia M Wilson


Ms. Alicia Wilson received an MS degree from the University of Georgia in Wildlife where she studied the effects of extreme high tide events on sea turtle nest site placement and BS in Marine Biology from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. She currently is a 2019 Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellow with the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Coastal and Marine Program working on climate resilience, habitat restoration and marine protected areas. In addition to her fellowship, Alicia serves as a U.S. representative for the All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador. Ms. Wilson’s work as an All-Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by NOAA via the EU Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support actions AORA-CSA and AANChOR.

Eugenia Barroca


AMs. Barroca has a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Algarve, Portugal. She is currently working as a consultant to the Sustainable Ocean Alliance where she is responsible for its expansion to Portuguese speaking countries and she is also collaborating in the development of nature documentaries and series. Ms. Barroca intends to contribute to restore the ocean’s health by informing and educating her community about the biggest ocean’s threats and solutions to rescue marine ecosystems. Ms. Barroca’s work as an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by Ciência Viva via the EU Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support actions AORA-CSA and AANChOR

John Armstrong


Mr. John Armstrong works as an Educational Assistant at Fota Wildlife Park in Co. Cork Ireland. He has a degree in Ecology from University College Cork, Ireland and he volunteers with Cork Nature Network. He is a strong advocate on the Atlantic Ocean in his own community in Cobh Co. Cork and is motivated by the realization that this is our generations “do or die moment”. Mr. Armstrong’s work as an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by the Marine Institute Ireland via the EU Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support Action AORA-CSA.

Leandro Nole Eduardo


Mr. Leandro Nole Eduardo has a degree in fishing engineering from the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco (UFRPE - Brazil), with an interchange period at the University of Wisconsin (WI, USA) and Florida Institute of Technology (FL, USA). He received an MS degree from UFRPE where he studied the conservation and key habitats of fish biodiversity along the tropical Southeastern Atlantic coast. He currently is a Ph.D. student from UFRPE and Université de Montpellier (France), where he develops multidisciplinary oceanographic research focused on the deep-sea fish community of the South Atlantic. Mr. Leandro’s work as an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by TRIATLAS via the EU Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support Action AANChOR.

Mariana Martins de Andrade


Ms. Mariana Andrade is an Oceanographer and has a Master's Degree in Biological Oceanography studying marine conservation. In Brazil, Ms. Andrade represents the Marine Science Entrepreneurship Working Group (@gtecienciasdomar) of the Executive Committee for the Training of Human Resources in Marine Sciences, producing content and mentoring initiatives of ocean-related positive socio-environmental impact. She is co-founder of bloom: agency of collaboration, creativity and blue innovation (@bloom.ocean) and advisor for the Women's League for the Oceans (@ligadasmulherespelosoceanos). As an All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador (@ouroneatlantic) in Brazil, she is interested in supporting sustainability approaches and science-communication processes. Ms. Andrade's work as an All Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador is supported by the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Communication.

Miryam Edvam Lima


Ms. Miryam Lima is currently working as teacher and she has a master degree in sustainable management of fisheries resources. She participated in the South Atlantic Workshop for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. She was one of the speakers of the Marine and Atmospheric Scientific Symposium held in Cabo Verde and she did volunteer work for the protection of sea turtles. She did a research on the effect of climate change on the pattern of richness and geographic distribution of the birds of the Brazilian Cerrado. She have done an internship in Geomar (Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung, Kiel, Germany), where she published her first article (doi:10.5194/bg-13-1977-2016). She also belongs to the Association of Biologists and Researchers of Cabo Verde (ABI-CV). Ms. Lima’s work as an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by the University of Cabo Verde via the EU Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support actions AORA-CSA and AANChOR.

Sinegugu Mbense


Ms. Sinegugu Banda (Mbense) is a PhD student at the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research (CMR) and the DST-NRF SARChi Shallow Water Ecosystems hosted at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. She also serves on the South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research (SANCOR) Steering Committee as the current Student Representative since 2017. At SANCOR her duties include science engagement, social media management and assisting with organizing student workshops and training. Sinegugu is also a member of the Western Indian Ocean Early Career Scientists Network (WIO-ECSN) and Youth for Marine Protected Areas (Y4MPAs) network. Sinegugu has strong aptitude towards coastal and environmental management, a field that is solely lacking in in South Africa. Currently, her doctoral research focuses on marine and coastal ecosystems services and how these services will change in response to climate change and sea-level rise. She is a recipient of the DST – NRF Doctoral Innovation and Priority Research Areas Scholarship as her research will provide input to South Africa’s current climate policies, so that future incentives in the form of payments for ecosystem services (PES) can be provided for the protection and/or restoration of degraded coastal vegetated habitats such as salt marshes and seagrasses. She is passionate about creating awareness on the sustainable use of ocean resources and establishing PES schemes from which rural communities living in close proximity to the ocean can benefit. Sinegugu is an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador supported by the Department of Science and Innovation through the EU Horizon 2020, AORA-CSA and AANChOR.

Bianca Prohaska


Dr. Bianca Prohaska is currently a Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) working in the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) International Activities office. In addition to being a Knauss Fellow, Dr. Prohaska serves as an All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador. Dr. Prohaska received a Bachelor’s of Science from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master’s of Science from the University of New England. Most recently, Dr. Prohaska received her Ph.D. from Florida State University where she studied physiological ecology of sharks and rays. Dr. Prohaska’s work as an All-Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by NOAA via the EU Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support actions AORA-CSA and AANChOR.

Irene Sastre


Ms. Irene Sastre has a degree in Communication Sciences and Information and a Master in Science and Public Health Communication (Complutense University of Madrid). She is currently working as the Responsible for Dissemination and Training of the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) where she works on projects related to ocean technologies and renewable offshore energy, such as FLOTANT; and on projects related to the promotion of cooperation between the MAC regions, such as RIS3_NET, in order to exchange knowledge and best practices with regards to R&D and innovation policies and information systems. She is fully engaged with the promotion of sustainable, renewable and environmentally friendly energies using communication, dissemination and volunteering, and actively participating in initiatives such as FridaysForFuture. Ms. Sastre’s work as an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by PLOCAN via the EU Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support actions AORA-CSA and AANChOR.

Jorge Elisio Lopes Gomes


Mr. Lopes has a degree in Biology Science by the University of Cabo Verde. Currently, working as a touristic Guide on Explore Cape Verde which is an eco-tourism company. He is running mainly Shark tours, Bird watching trips and Turtle walks. Working already in the tourism he was choose as the Cabo Verde Youth Ambassador to take part on the creation of an Atlantic friendly certification for costal industries. So far he’s being doing meetings with coastal industries, tours company’s and Nature NGO's such as Hilton resort, Explore Cape Verde, Meliã resorts or Project Biodiversity. Often having many important meetings to do as with TUI which is one of the biggest touristic operator’s worldwide. These meetings are to see if the companies are already working with similar certifications and to see if they are willing to work with our Atlantic Friendly certification.

Lilja Gunnarsdottir


Ms. Lilja Gunnarsdóttir is a doctoral student working at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute. Her doctoral project in Biology at the University of Iceland is on the effects of seaweed harvesting on shore biota. She obtained a Bachelor‘s of Science in Biology and a Master‘s of Science in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland. Lilja‘s work as an All-Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by RANNÍS, The Icelandic Centre for Research.

Meenakshi Poti


Meenakshi Poti is a social-ecologist and artist, pursuing her PhD at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Belgium. Her research focuses on conflicts between conservation and development in small islands. Meenakshi recently completed a traineeship at the European Commission's DG Environment where she initiated the Youth for Biodiversity program, which focuses on connecting youth with EU policy-makers, to enhance collaboration for environmental decision making. Meenakshi uses art to communicate science and policy to a wider audience. She has contributed to storybooks, conservation magazines, workshops and popular science articles. Meenakshi’s work as an All-Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by JPI Oceans.

Natalie Prinz


Natalie Prinz has graduated from the University of Western Australia with a B.Sc. in Marine Science and now holds a Master’s degree in Tropical Marine Ecology (University of Bremen & ZMT). She has gained experience in temperate and tropical fieldwork activities as well as on polar research vessels. She worked as a research diver and engaged in public outreach since finishing her Master’s degree, where she focused on a social-ecological question for making reef tourism more sustainable. Communicating science and making it available to the public will be her main goal in the future. She is about to start a PhD at the University of Waikato to engage in New Zealand’s Sustainable Seas Challenge. For this she will work on marine species around the coast and investigate the impact of multiple stressors on their functional role in the ecosystem as well as translating this to native and local stakeholders. The concept of collaborating countries around an ocean basin and a global ocean approach seems particularly promising for the new Ocean Science Decade. Natalie’s work as an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador is supported by the Consortium for German Marine Research (KDM) and the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) via the EU Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support Action AANChOR.

Sandra Phoma


Sandra Phoma is a South African ocean microbial ecologist. Her PhD thesis focuses on the biogeography and functionality of ocean microbial communities using oceanography and metagenomics approaches. This study has provided insight in using microbes for ongoing monitoring of the South Atlantic, Indian and Southern Oceans. She is currently embarking on incorporating advocacy and her expertise to develop sustainable efforts to ensure good ocean health. Sandra is an All Atlantic Youth Ambassador, supported by the University of Pretoria and Department of Science and Technology via the EU Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support actions AORA-CSA and AANChOR.

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