Growing up the daughter of a San Diego Sport Fisherman, Risa developed a love of travel and all things ocean early in life. After completing her BA at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, she pursued graduate work in Aquatic Ecology and obtained a degree in Marine Technology at the College of Oceaneering with a specialty in Diving Medicine. Risa’s diving experience brought her to the US Navy Marine Mammal Program in 2000. She spent five years supporting various Fleet Systems and the Breeding Program as an Animal Trainer. Since 2005 Risa has continued her support of the animals by coordinating the Foundation’s clinical and research diagnostics and acting as the NMMF’s Registrar and Regulatory Specialist.
Brittany graduated from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with a specialization in Marine & Aquatic Biology. Before joining the NMMF Translational Medicine & Research Team, Brittany interned and worked for many different facilities in her home state of Ohio, including The Greater Cleveland Aquarium and The Toledo Zoo & Aquarium as well as facilities here in San Diego, including interning for the Navy Marine Mammal Program’s Animal Care & Training Internship. In her undergraduate years, Brittany spent a lot of time working on various different research teams, including studying Microbial Drug Resistance within Lorain County Community College’s Biotechnologies Laboratory & studying Aquatic Animal Behavior at Bowling Green State University’s Laboratory for Sensory Ecology. Brittany currently manages the Navy’s biological sample archive as well as collects any needed samples for the Breath Metabolite & Diabetes studies, assists with coordination & collaboration of the clinical & research testing and helps with the creation, maintenance and upkeep of the Navy’s new sample log database. Brittany plans on applying to veterinary school next fall, with hopes of one day returning to the National Marine Mammal Foundation to continue her career & pursue her passion for animal care & ecosystem conservation.