Texas State Aquarium Leads with Women at the Helm
TSA elevates female curators, managers to spearhead one-of-a-kind aquatic experiences for guests. Corpus Christi, Texas – (April 26, 2017) The Texas State Aquarium (TSA) leads with women at the helm as it prepares to launch its $58 million, 71,000-square foot expansion, Caribbean Journey, on May 13. Four exceptional leaders in STEM roles are taking charge of curating birds, mammals, fish and herpetology, and maintaining water quality to bring the aquarium’s newest experience to life.
Corpus Christi, Texas – (April 26, 2017) The Texas State Aquarium (TSA) leads with women at the helm as it prepares to launch its $58 million, 71,000-square foot expansion, Caribbean Journey, on May 13. Four exceptional leaders in STEM roles are taking charge of curating birds, mammals, fish and herpetology, and maintaining water quality to bring the aquarium’s newest experience to life.
Although the aquarium employs many professionals, four women – Emma Gilbert, Curator of Marine Mammals; Lauren Wilson, Curator of Birds and Mammals; Hazel Manjarris, Curator of Fish and Herpetology; and, Veronica Thompson, Water Quality Manager – are leading the pack with strong work ethic and a passion for sea life sciences to bring the marine life of the Caribbean to the Texas Gulf Coast.
“Launching Caribbean Journey has been an extensive team effort, and we’re exceptionally proud of our women in STEM leadership roles as they continue to set a high bar for their teammates and serve as mentors for other women interested in marine life careers,” said Texas State Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid.
Gilbert serves as the curator of marine mammals, a role in which she manages the daily operations of the marine mammal department, cares for the aquarium’s Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and North American river otters and coordinates procurement for all aquarium animal diets. Her passion is driven by the aquarium’s commitment to excellence in animal care, visitor experience and education about conservation to protect all marine life.
“We’re fortunate to work for an organization that strives for not only excellence with animal care, but also visitor experience,” said Gilbert.
Wilson is the Curator of Birds and Mammals at TSA, a role in which she oversees animal diet and nutrition, housing, and general well-being of all birds and mammals except river otters and dolphins; she is also responsible for collection planning for exhibits and presentations that contribute to the aquarium’s latest expansion. Her passion is driven by the opportunities TSA presents to expose visitors to marine life and conservation efforts that they would otherwise never encounter.
Manjarris is the Curator of Fish and Herpetology; in this role, she is responsible for keeping the fish and herpetology collection healthy, making sure the animals are eating, and creating enrichment and mental stimulation opportunities for them. Her passion for marine life began at an early age as her father was a saltwater hobbyist with a love for animals; she was also a scuba diver with a love for sea life that grew into a dream career where she is driven by the interaction and care for animals.
“While volunteering at TSA, I fell in love with the aquarium and the sense of community that brought teammates together to care for the animals,” said Manjarris.
Thompson is TSA’s Water Quality Manager, a role in which she oversees PH, salinity, temperature, and other water chemistry analysis, performs life support system maintenance, checks filters and flow rates, and coordinates with curators to fix and improve water quality systems for the animals. The team she leads is instrumental in operating the new aquatic exhibits in Caribbean Journey. From a lifetime of exploring the natural environment, whether mountainous regions or the ecosystems associated with Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Thompson followed her heart to a career that allowed her the opportunity to educate and foster relationships between animals, the natural world and visitors of all ages.
“We’re committed to advancing passionate professionals through mentorship and continued education, and Emma, Lauren, Hazel and Veronica exemplify the kind of leaders we seek to promote to enhance our mission, guest experience and conservation efforts,” said Schmid.