Meet The Team

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Christy Hudak, Research Associate
Christy has been a Research Associate in the Right Whale Ecology Program at the Center for Coastal Studies for over six years. After obtaining her M.S. in marine biology from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, Christy worked at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, heading the Manatee Program at the Tequesta Field Station. From the sunny shores of Florida, Christy brought her experience in marine mammal necropsies, rescues, tracking, aerial surveys, and photo identification to the cool shores of Cape Cod and currently focuses on the food resource of the North Atlantic right whales.

Amy James, Aerial Observer & Flight Coordinator
Amy became fascinated by North Atlantic right whales while working off Jeffrey’s Ledge in 2008 with the Whale Center of New England. Shortly after, she moved to Australia where she spent seven years researching humpbacks and sea turtles. She returned to Massachusetts as a right whale intern at Center for Coastal Studies during the 2011 season, before heading back Down Under to complete her Master’s degree at the University of Queensland followed by work as an aerial observer and fieldwork coordinator. When she moved back to the US in 2016, she rejoined the CCS family to continue with the aerial survey team. In the off season, you can find her working at Chequessett Chocolate, her other passion.

Brigid McKenna, Aerial Observer & Data/Photo Manager
Brigid was born and raised in South Boston, MA, and has connections to the Cape dating back to the Mayflower. After graduating from Boston Latin School, she completed her undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Massachusetts –Amherst with honors. She began researching North Atlantic right whales at CCS as an intern in 2013, and since then has obtained her master’s degree from the University of St Andrews in Scotland and. Between past field seasons in Cape Cod Bay Brigid has been a member of the New England Aquarium’s right whale team conducting research in Bay of Fundy and Gulf of St Lawrence and has worked as a marine mammal observer for NOAA. In her down time she explores the Cape with her dog, Walter, plays bar trivia, and partakes in the occasional karaoke.

Alison Ogilvie, Aerial Observer
Alison Ogilvie grew up on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada and holds a biology degree from the University of Victoria. She spends her summers on the water as a naturalist, and contributes to humpback whale monitoring and research on Northern Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada. Having joined the CCS team as a right whale intern in 2015, this is her first season as an aerial observer. She loves the fast paced plane environment and the new perspective of viewing these incredible animals.

Lauren Goodwin, Intern
Lauren grew up in a small town in northern Massachusetts and spent her summers soaking up the natural wonders of Cape Cod. She holds a biology degree from Eckerd College, in St. Petersburg, FL. Throughout her time in college, Lauren worked with Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory, mostly assisting with manatee rescues and necropsies. She has also worked with wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organizations in Florida and Guatemala. During a college winter term, she studied aboard a Sea Education Association vessel and there learned lots about performing science at sea. She is eager to apply her knowledge and skills aboard the R/V Shearwater and back in the laboratory at CCs and is beyond thrilled to contribute to conservation research for the endangered North Atlantic Right whale.

Lauri Leach, Intern
Lauri grew up in central Massachusetts and completed her undergraduate degree in biological sciences at the University of Rhode Island.  She spent several years working as a wildlife rehabilitator and veterinary technician, before moving to Hawaii to pursue her passion for marine mammal research and conservation.  Lauri has spent the past few years exploring different aspects of field work, including studying Hawaiian monk seals on a remote atoll, monitoring piping plovers at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, and flying as an aerial observer for the right whale team in Florida.  She is very excited to be part of the CCS Right Whale Ecology Program this season and is looking forward to learning more about these incredible animals as a vessel observer.

The 2018 Right Whale Ecology team with the AvWatch pilots and crew. Back L-R: Craig O’Hearn, Trevor Laue, Christy Hudak, Lauri Leach, Chris Kluckhuhn, Mike Cortese. Front L-R: Amy James, Brigid McKenna, Alison Ogilvie, Stormy Mayo