Current Students

Meet Some of Our Exploration Science Students

Tuttle, Justin


Justin Tuttle

Justin was born and raised in North Carolina before moving to Miami in 2006. Coming from an economics background, Justin has an interest in human ecology and worked in fields related to the built environment in both the public and private sectors. His focus now is using exploration and technology as a catalyst for cultural cognition to address environmental challenges.


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Nicole Palma

Nicole is a recent graduate from the University of Miami where she double majored in Biology and Environmental Science. Nicole has always had a strong affinity for the environment. Born and raised in South Florida, she spent a lot of her childhood enjoying the great outdoors by camping and fishing with her family and friends. In addition to getting her MPS degree in Exploration Science, Nicole works part time for the non-profit organization, Dream in Green, and is also performing research on the evolutionary history of the Ibiza Wall Lizard at the University of Miami with Dr. Albert Uy.

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Annie Peterson

Annie Peterson is a Miami native and naturally developed a love for the ecosystems unique to South Florida. She earned her Bachelors degree in Interdisciplinary Marine Science from the University of Florida and is now pursuing an MPS degree in Exploration Science to further her role in ocean exploration and conservation. Her curiosity has led her to complete a Sea Education Association semester out of Woods Hole and to work on a commercial fishing vessel in Kodiak, Alaska. Annie also works for the International SeaKeepers Society; a nonprofit dedicated to promoting oceanographic research through the direct involvement with members of the yachting community. When Annie is not in school, she enjoys swimming, diving, and playing water polo. She has an interest in sustainable fisheries but comes from an assorted background and is keen to all fields of marine science.




Malia Byrtus

Malia grew up in Melbourne Beach, Florida located on the barrier island nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon. It was in these environments that she fell in love with surfing and freediving. Malia earned her Bachelors degree from Florida State University in Environmental Science and Biology. Her passion for conservation and sustainability has led her to many places, including the Peruvian Amazon where she lived and worked with indigenous communities during the summer of 2015. Malia is pursuing a Master of Professional Science degree in Exploration Science to incorporate her academics with environmental activism. She is interested in using photography, creative writing, and her exploration skills to document and expose environmental issues such as wildlife crime, marine pollution, and climate change.




Brian Magnier

My name is Brian Magnier, and I studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, where I graduated in May 2016. My interests as a naturalist are broad.  I started out as a birder but have branched out into marine fauna identification where I enjoy spending time studying naturalist guides and then getting into the water to see what I can identify.

I have had a variety of research opportunities and experiences, including studying sub-oscine birds in Borneo, working at the Soutwester Research Station in Arizona, Alaska for small mammal research, Papua New Guinea studying fairy-wrens, and most recently St. Kitts in the Caribbean working on the invasive lionfish and their diet.

As I progress through the program I am interested to see what path I follow.  Ecotourism or citizen science? Academic research or professional scuba diving? Only time will tell.