Marty Dunn - Lead Counselor

Marty has been a counselor at DISL for over twelve years. He taught 5th Grade for 18 years and now teaches 3rd - 6th Grade Gifted students at Harrand Creek Elementary in Enterprise, AL. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from St. Mary’s University of Texas, Master’s degrees in Personnel Management and Elementary Education, and certification as a School Counselor from Troy University. The U.S. Army, with assignments around the world, was his home for twenty years. Marty is married, with four children, ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

 
Danielle Boyd

Danie has been coming to the sea lab since she was in middle school when she was a camper, which then lead her to attending the high school Marine Science course.  She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in December 2014 with her Bachelor’s degree.  Prior to working at DISL, she was a camp counselor for the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee where she was a lifeguard, canoe instructor, and unit leader.  Danie is a recent newly-wed, adopted a new puppy named Mouse in January (St Bernard and Great Pyrenees mix), and has plans to begin substitute-teaching for Rutherford County schools in the fall. The sea lab is her second home which she enjoys more every year. 

 
Nikki Cosper

Nikki was born and raised in Mountain View, CA, and moved to Sylacauga, AL in 2005. She received a B.A. degree in Natural Science at San Jose State University, and a Masters in Education from the University of Montevallo.  In addition to teaching 6th grade, she is a voracious reader of books of all kinds, and is an avid horsewoman, specializing in dressage and jumping.  Nikki loves marine science, and has enjoyed being a part of Dauphin Island Sea Lab, either participating in classes, camps or visiting, since 2006.

 
Victoria Pendley

Vicki has been a camp counselor at the Sea Lab since 2013 and loves it! She teaches 7th & 8th gifted students at Daphne Middle School in Daphne, AL. She holds a Master’s Degree in Gifted Education. "I wish for..... learning to be like the world: busy, chaotic, and always in motion. Every learner to be part of our community. Learning to come from experiences. Creativity to be a habit. Mistakes to be viewed as opportunities. The freedom for learners to explore, discover & develop." Let's have fun together at The Dauphin Island Sea Lab!

 
Elaine Piazza

Elaine has been a teacher for Gadsden City Schools for over 30 years, and currently serves as a guidance counselor for the elementary schools. She received her B.S. and M.S. in physical education from Jacksonville State University, and has her Education Specialist degree in Guidance. Elaine enjoys birding, gardening, traveling, and reading, and being a DISL counselor is on her “Bucket List.” This will be her third summer as a counselor with us.

 
Rissa Stephens

Rissa Stephens teaches 6th grade Earth Science at Emma Sansom Middle School in Gadsden, Alabama. She holds an Education Specialist degree from the University of Alabama, even though she is an Auburn fan!! Rissa’s philosophy of education is that every child experiences the wonders of science through hands on experiences, especially in marine biology!!! Rissa has been a counselor every summer since 2004, and she brings a group from ESMS every fall to experience fun and learning at DISL.

 
Allison Wrape

Allison is from Huntsville, Alabama. She came to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in between her junior and senior year of high school to participate in the Discovery Hall Programs Marine Science Course. She is entering her junior year at Troy University, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Applied Behavior Analysis, with the goal of becoming a marine mammal trainer. She loves Dauphin Island and cannot wait to come back to be a counselor. The Sea Lab taught me so much about the ocean and made me love it even more.

 
Ashley Allen

Ashley teaches science at Oneonta High School in Oneonta, AL and has attended numerous workshops at the Sea Lab in the past.  When not teaching science, Ashley can be found across the state searching for fossils with the Alabama Paleontological Society or exploring Alabama's caves.  His interest in our past is rooted in his experiences as an undergraduate and graduate student at Livingston University (now the University of West Alabama).  

 
Lori Blubaugh

Lori is excited to be a part of the summer camps at Dauphin Island Sea Lab this year!  She is married with two boys, and teaches 7th grade life science at Cedar Ridge Middle School. Her first experience at the Sea Lab was as a student on a field trip with Athens State.  Since that time, she has come to the Island as often as possible for workshops and training, which have enabled her to share many wonderful experiences with her students.  

 
Ted Kicklighter

Ted grew up in Americus, Georgia and spent his youth exploring the great Southern outdoors.  Ted spent nearly 22 years in the US Air Force and currently resides near Prattville, Alabama.  While in the Air Force, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.  Upon retiring from the Air Force, he began teaching secondary science at Billingsley School (K-12), covering an extensive variety of classes – 7th Grade Life Science, 8th Grade Physical Science, 9th Grade Biology, 10th Grade Environmental Science, and 12th Grade Genetics.  Ted's love for science continues this summer at DISL and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

 
John Ness

John is from Birmingham, Alabama and is a rising senior at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon Iowa, studying biology. This is John’s third summer as a counselor for DISL. He attended the Marine Science class the summer between his junior and senior years of high school, and he looks forward to returning to the island for another summer.

 
Brenda Allen

Brenda is from Poplar Bluff, MO where she teaches students in 4-6 grade in the school’s gifted program.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Murray (KY) State University and a Master’s in Educational Administration from Southeast Missouri State University. Brenda is a 30-year educator, teaching music and gifted education, was an elementary and middle school principal, and at-risk director for the Poplar Bluff School District. Brenda is a certified SCUBA diver, a licensed pilot, and enjoys sailing, swimming and kayaking.

 
Tom Allen

Tom teaches math and science to 7th and 8th graders in the gifted program in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.  He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.  He has brought his 8th grade students to Dauphin Island Sea Lab each fall since 1994.  He has also enjoyed taking DISL’s classes for teachers and bringing a team to the Northern Gulf Coast Regional ROV competition held at the Sea Lab.  In his spare time he sails, scuba dives, and travels.

 
Michelle Watkins

Michelle first attended Dauphin Island Sea Lab as a 6th grade student and is now returning as a counselor. Michelle is a 5th grade math and science teacher in Enterprise, Alabama. She graduated in 2014 from Troy University with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and will complete her Master's degree in Gifted Education in July 2016. Outside of school, Michelle enjoys spending time with her husband, Douglas, playing with their dogs, Dolly and Cole, cooking with her family, traveling, and gardening.

 
Jessica Roberts

Jessica is from Doylestown, Pennsylvania and is a rising senior at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, majoring in marine science and minoring in psychology. She is also a CHAARG Ambassador at the University. Jessica attended the DISL Marine Science course between her sophomore and junior year in high school, and currently volunteers at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia and the Columbia Animal Shelter.