On Saturday, Nov. 9th – Monday, Nov. 11th, 2019, all veterans, active duty military personnel and police officers receive free admission to the Key West Aquarium.* Learn More >

Meet the Team

Genya Yerkes

Title: Aquarium Curator

About: I was born and raised in Eustis, FL, originally. I moved to Key West in June 2000. I have left and returned to KWAQ multiple times after pursuing other opportunities. Key West always calls me back home. I have worked in the zoological industry since June 2000 in multiple roles including educator, safari educator, aquarist, reptile keeper, and dolphin trainer. Along with the Key West Aquarium, I’ve worked for Discovery Cove, SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa, Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts, and the Orlando Science Center. My favorite marine animals are cuttlefish. I was lucky enough to aquaculture a common species, S. bandensis, and it has been a highlight of my career.

Kristina Pendleton

Title: Education Supervisor

About: I am originally from Waterfort, CT and I moved to the Florida Keys in 2010. I have resided in Key West since January 2017.

I earned my degree in Marine Biology from the University of New Hampshire; I’ve been in the marine science field and working as an outdoor educator for 10 years.

My favorite marine animal is the octopus because it’s incredibly smart, beautiful, and complex.

Carolyn Malin

Title: Educator

About: I am originally from central Pennsylvania but resided in Virginia for 40 years. I moved to Key West in August 2016 after my husband passed.

I am crazy about reptiles and amphibians, snorkeling, swamps, and wildflowers. My late husband would say he married me because I knew more about snails than he did!

I don’t have a favorite marine animal but the octopus fascinates me because of its amazing abilities!

Rae Corley

Title: Educator

About: I am originally from Colorado and I moved to Key West in December 2015 to attend our local college.

I play musical instruments and love to draw, paint, and crafts. I graduated from Florida Keys Community College in 2017 with my A.S. in Marine Environmental Technology and I’m a certified AAVS diver.

My favorite marine animal is the octopus because facets of their intelligence rivals dolphins and humans! What’s not to love?

priscilla-g
Priscilla Gartenmayer

Title: Aquarist
About: I was born and raised in Key West. People born on the island are known as “Conchs”!

If there was one thing I would want everyone to know about me it would be how much I love the ocean.

My favorite animal is the conch because it is our high school mascot at Key West High. Go Conchs!

Brianna Archibald

Title: Aquarist
About: I am originally from Burlington, Iowa and moved to Key West early September 2017, right before Hurricane Irma hit! This is my first professional position in the zoological industry and relocated to the island to attend the local college and try to get my foot in the door.

My goal is to be a marine mammal trainer in the future and I hope to travel the world to experience the varied coral reefs and cultures around the globe, especially the Great Barrier Reef!

Amanda Daleo

Title: Senior Aquarist
About: I’m originally from Deltona, FL and I have worked at Sea World, Orlando and the Central Florida Zoo. My favorite animal is the sea lion!

I worked previously with a geriatric sea lion, who was fully blind, at one of my internships. She was very smart and taught me so much about training because we had to use verbal and tactile (touch) training cues. She would test you to see if you would take it easy on her and let her cheat!

portrait of Key West Aquarium cast member Amina Chaudry
Amina Chaudry

Title: Educator
About: My hometown is Denver, CO and I relocated to Key West in August 2019.

One of my favorite memories is when I had the opportunity to hand feed squirrel monkeys. My favorite animal is the minke whale, because it is the smallest whale and I also call my doggy that!

portrait of Key West Aquarium cast member Jared Cziko
Jared Cziko

Title: Educator
About: My hometown is Scotrun, PA and I moved to Key West in June 2019 to attend our local college.

I love being around animals. Having the opportunity to work around them has inspired me to pursue a career in the veterinary field. My favorite animal is the gorilla, they are beautiful animals. I find it inspiring how intelligent they are and how similar their mannerisms are to humans.

portrait of Key West Aquarium cast member Meghan Imm
Meghan Imm

Title: Educator
About: My hometown is Mount Dora, FL and I officially moved to Key West in late July 2019 after completing my summer internship with Key West Aquarium. I plan to attend our local college, as well, to pursue my degree.

I am an avid fisherman and the largest fish I have caught to date was a 460 lb goliath grouper! My favorite animal is the vaquita, their name means “little cow” in Spanish. They are critically endangered and their plight inspired me to pursue a career in the marine sciences.

portrait of Key West Aquarium cast member Samuel Richardson
Samuel Richardson

Title: Educator
About: My hometown is Merritt Island, FL and I relocated to Key West in 2012.

I originally moved to Key West to earn my PADI scuba instructor certification but changed my plans and became a certified underwater research diver. My favorite animal is the chambered nautilus; they have amazing buoyancy control by using their chambers and gas.

portrait of Key West Aquarium cast member Laura Cannella
Laura Cannella

Title: Aquarist
About: My hometown is Navarre, FL and I relocated to Key West in 2012. I attended our local college, The College of the Florida Keys, and graduated with my degree to aid me in pursuing my career in animal husbandry.

My favorite animals are Large Polyp Stony Corals (LPS)! Watching those huge polyps flow in the current is relaxing, the variation in their appearance is amazing. They are so diverse compared to other species of coral.

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