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2021 - 2022 MATES Project Terrapin Leaders 

Overall Division Coordinators


Abby Stephens '22

Events Overall Coordinator

Hello! My name is Abby Stephens and I first became affiliated with MATES Project Terrapin during my freshman year. Now, as a senior, I am the overall Events leader for MATES Project Terrapin. It is my goal to help organize, plan for, and run events that help keep New Jersey’s terrapins safe. 


Emily Jones '22

Outreach Overall Coordinator

Emily is a senior coordinator who coordinated outreach programs in 2020 - 2021. She is also a field research assistant with Project Terrapin, volunteering during the summer with mark and recapture, and serving as a MATES Summer STEM Experience counselor.  


Shealyn Lawless '22

Conservation Overall Coordinator

Shea has been an active member of Project Terrapin since her freshmen year.  She has participated in numerous outreach and community events.  Shea was also an active conservation leader in 2020-2021.  She is an active musician at Lacey High School.  


Lakshmi Yannam '22

Care Overall Coordinator

Lakshmi is in her senior year at MATES and has worked in the Care Division of Project Terrapin every year. She has conducted award-winning research in environmental science and has been involved in environmental based research initiatives, such as Rally for the Bay. She enjoys working with animals. She plans to major in biology in the future, and aspires to be a future cardiologist. 


Sarah Santos '22

Hatchling Overall Coordinator

Sarah has been working with our hatchlings for the past two years and served as an assistant hatchling coordinator last year.  She is responsible for the overall care of both temporary and permanent care.  Sarah has also completed independent research the past three years at MATES.   


Rocco Raimondi '22

Headstart Overall Coordinator

Rocco has been an active member of Project Terrapin since his freshmen year. He worked with schools in raising terrapin hatchings as part of a conservation initiative back in 2019-2020.  This year, we plan to raise terrapins with a few schools in which Rocco plans to organize. 

Division Assistant Coordinators


Mason Melito '22

Outreach Coordinator

Mason is a senior at MATES. Throughout his time in high school, he has completed award-winning research projects that range from bioplastic creation to influenza modeling. Outside of school, he enjoys staying involved with current events and promoting human and animal welfare. He is also a proud dog guardian to the best dogs in the world—Stella and Roxy.


Iliana Vasslides '23

Outreach Coordinator

Iliana is a junior at MATES and has been involved with Outreach for two years now. She loves working with others and helping them learn about our terrapins and why it’s important that we keep them safe. 



Karen Tsang '23

Outreach Coordinator

Karen has been a part of our outreach program for the past two years helping with developing lessons. This year our outreach will increase its scope and Karen will be an integral part in developing our new outreach items.  She is also a part of the Rally for Barnegat Bay project and conducts independent research.  



Miranda Lynch '22

Care Coordinator

Miranda has been an active member in the Care, Conservation, Events, and Outreach Divisions since her freshman year. When she is not working at the Jenkinson's Aquarium, she is either taking a nap or playing an instrument. Miranda is grateful to be on the Care Team and is looking forward to a great year!


Ethan Johnson.jpg

Ethan Johnson '23

Care Coordinator

Ethan has been a part of our care program for the past two years both in school and caring for turtles at his home.  He hopes to share his experience to train new care members as we will continue to care for turtles at school. 



Abigail Ostapovich '23

Hatchling Care Coordinator

Abigail (Abby) has been working with our hatchlings and the hatchlings tanks over the past two years. She is responsible for the overall care of both temporary and permanent hatchlings in captivity.  She has been instrumental in maintaining the hatchlings despite the distancing measures in place.  


Megan Thomas '23

Hatchling Care Coordinator

 Hi! My name is Megan Thomas and I am a junior at MATES. I began working with the MATES hatchlings in my sophomore year. Since then, I have been caring for the hatchlings, maintaining their tanks, and observing their health until they are ready to be released back into their natural habitat. I am excited to meet this year's new batch of hatchlings!


Caroline Liebmann '24

Assistant Conservation Leader 


Caroline started volunteering with Project Terrapin last year where she gained a better understanding of the impact people have on local ecosystems and an appreciation for our coastal environments. She will be continuing with independent research as a Sophomore. Her first research project at MATES compared the volume of microplastics found on beaches along Barnegat Bay and Ocean in Ocean County, NJ. Caroline  is passionate about environmental conservation and hopes to learn more about fieldwork and our local ecosystems. In her spare time, Caroline is a member of Lacey Township Marching Band and Jazz Band.


Angelo Amato '23

Conservation Coordinator

Angelo has been involved in Project Terrapin the past two years.  He has been instrumental in conservation and assisting in room 158 with tank maintenance and care.  He completed his Eagle Scout Project at Island Beach State Park by constructing a terrapin hatchery at the Nature Center in the spring 2021.  

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