Biographies of Road Scholar Teaching Staff
Rodney B. Kemp
A crowd-pleaser and proven spellbinder of adults and children alike, Rodney Kemp is a local boy who
managed to remember all those tales he heard while growing up. His humor comes not only from his
folksy manner, but also from his knowledge of and affection for the people of Carteret County, his
boyhood home. Born in Knoxville, TN and raised in Morehead City, NC, Rodney attended High Point
College and then Texas Tech University where he received a degree in journalism with minors in
English and History. He returned home to become a teacher and coach for three years at Newport
Elementary School and for eleven years at West Carteret High School. His current career in
insurance began in 1983 here on the Crystal Coast. He is a member and chairman of the Carteret
County Board of Education. An avid sportsman, Rodney has completed the running of twelve marathons
(26.2 miles) since 1982.
Jay Barnes is the author of North Carolina's Hurricane History and Florida's Hurricane History
(University of North Carolina Press), each of which chronicles the many hurricanes that have affected
those states for the past four centuries. His books are filled with riveting stories, weather facts,
and rare photographs that tell the story of great storms, from the days of the first European
explorers to recent hurricanes like Fran and Floyd. He is a graduate of the N.C. State University
School of Design, holds a master's degree from Syracuse University, and has been employed as director
of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores since 1989. He lives in Pine Knoll Shores.
John Cole hails from Winter Haven, Florida, so it's not surprising that he has made weather his life's
work. Florida is often chosen for weather studies because of its high incidence of lightning. In fact,
the central portion of Florida is known as "Lightning Alley" and records more than 100 days of
thunderstorms and 2.5 million lightning strikes annually, the most in the United States. John began
his career with a B.S. in Meteorology from Florida State University, and 2 years of Graduate Work in
Atmospheric Science from Texas Tech University. He has worked with the National Weather Service
since 1987 in Texas, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina. John and his wife Anita have three
Matthew Godfrey of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has been the coordinator of the
North Carolina Sea Turtle Project since early 2002. His job includes coordinating monitoring and
research on sea turtles both on the nesting beaches and in state waters. Prior to arriving in NC,
Matthew was fortunate to collaborate with different sea turtle projects in different countries,
including French Guiana, Brazil, Turkey, and Suriname. He also serves on the board of several
advisory commissions and is an active member of the board of the Marine Turtle Newsletter and
Penn Perry has been the Executive Director of Trinity Center since 2007. Penn is a long time staff member of Camp Trinity, the residential summer camping program of the Diocese of East Carolina and Trinity Center. He served on the Camp Trinity staff from 1988-2000, and he was the Director of Camp Trinity and Episcopal Youth Coordinator at Trinity Center from 2001-2006. Penn is a firm believer in the many benefits of residential community-based programming, and he advocates for all children to have access to the various programs of Trinity Center. His passions are movies, literature, and poetry; in fact, in his prior life he was an Instructor for the English Department of the University of Georgia. Penn anticipates the challenges of maintaining and eventually expanding the many ministries of Trinity Center, and he is dedicated to protecting this fragile environment of natural beauty and spiritual access for all who come to partake of it.
After graduating with a BS in Elementary Education from the University of WI Milwaukee Mindy wasn't sure she was quite ready to teach in the classroom. Instead, she joined the Peace Corps where for two years she lived on an island roughly the size of Bogue Banks, except that she was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, rather than 1 ½ miles from the coast. As a Peace Corps Volunteer to the island nation of Kiribati, Mindy spent her time teaching Junior High School level ESL and Social Science classes. One afternoon while swinging in her hammock in her stick house Mindy came across an announcement for the Sound to Sea Environmental Education Program; she somehow knew this would be her next adventure. She didn't know at the time that it would also become her home. Mindy has worked at Trinity Center since 2002, first as an instructor and then as the Sound to Sea Program Coordinator. As an instructor with the Sound to Sea Program and Road Scholar, Mindy enjoyed the unique atmosphere of teaching hands-on in an outdoor setting. As program coordinator, she also found herself drawn to curriculum design and program development. She now enjoys doing both in her position as Trinity Center Program Director.
Meghan grew up in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. She chose to travel south for college to the University of Maryland. After graduating with a degree in zoology, Meghan went on a study abroad near Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya, studying wildlife management and ecology. She discovered her love of learning in nature amongst the elephants, wildebeest, and hyenas. She came to Sound to Sea in 2005 and taught as an instructor for 2 years. Meghan then moved to Washington State to be closer to family. There she worked as a naturalist at a wildlife park, teaching people about native northwestern animals like moose, wolves, and banana slugs. The sun, sand, and waves lured Meghan back to North Carolina and Sound to Sea in 2011, when she returned as a Program Coordinator. Meghan loves sharing her love of the natural world, especially mollusks, with anyone who would like to know. In her free time, you can find her collecting shells, playing outside, or sleeping.
Once upon a time (2005), in a land far, far away (Greensboro, North Carolina), young Jane graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Drama and a minor in History. Sufficiently armed to move to New York or L.A. and join the food-service industry...she promptly joined the Peace Corps and moved to a remote village in Burkina Faso for two years. Working mainly with the local primary school girls and their families as a Girls' Education and Empowerment volunteer, she also dabbled in teaching Geography to young learners, English to high school students, and volunteered at the local clinic's weekly infant and maternal health checks. After Burkina, Jane explored the field of education for the next 6 years teaching English in South Korea and Morocco. While in Casablanca, Jane had her first opportunity to teach environmental stewardship and, she knew this was the next step. To prepare herself for the mid-career transition, Jane earned a Master's in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. Finding herself in a position where "think globally, act locally" was no longer just a catchy phrase, older and wiser Jane returned to the great state of North Carolina for the next adventure: teaching environmental and conservation education at Sound to Sea.
Joe was born and raised in the small town of Cleveland, GA. While growing up in the mountains, he developed a love for nature and the great outdoors. Following his passion, Joe attained his Bachelors of Science in Biology from Reinhardt University in Waleska, GA. Not only was he a great student but he was also a four year captain and two time All-Conference football player. As a soaring Eagle, he gained incomparable leadership experience. After graduation, he found a desire to educate “youngin’s” on the lessons he had learned about being a good leader as well as the wonders of science and nature. He is excited to combine those passions by teaching here at Sound to Sea.
Beth Caporelli grew up in the great little state of Rhode Island. Growing up, Beth spent most of her time in a pine grove, four miles away from the coast, developing her love for the critters, trees and shore that were in her own backyard. Beth was lucky enough to find W. Alton Jones Environmental Education Center and attended programs like Farm Camp and Marine Madness, which helped develop a love for Environmental Education and teaching kids about the world we live in. Beth decided that Unity College in Maine, America's Environmental College, was the place for her, studying Environmental Education and Teaching Science, Life Science Concentration. Once she graduated she worked at W. Alton Jones Environmental Education Center and Nature's Classroom, teaching ages 5-17 about the environment. However, she missed being four miles away from the ocean and wanted to be closer, eventually lucky enough to find her way to Sound to Sea, where she could spread her love for the environment in one of her favorite places, the beach.
Connie's roots are planted firmly in the city of Rochester, New York. She grew up on nature documentaries and science books, and wished to pursue a career in marine biology. After graduating from high school, Connie attended Binghamton University where she received her bachelors in Biology with a double minor in Education and Asian American Studies. From there, she has worked on whale watch boats in Boston, Massachusetts and has interned as an educator at the Binghamton Zoo. She loved working with children and talking about ocean creatures, but Connie wasn't sure if the classroom was right for her. With a passion for teaching about our watery world, she found her way to Sound to Sea. During her free time, Connie enjoys reading science books, listening to podcasts, and taking long walks on the beach.
Jonathan hails from Fort Collins, Colorado. In college, he pursued his three passions of biology, a nomadic lifestyle, and run-on sentences across three continents and turned a scientific eye toward rats, mice, ants, flies, and human children before getting a Bachelor's Degree in biogeography with a focus in myrmecology and parasitology from Hampshire College. Post college, he once again took flight and began studying environmental anthropology among Tibetan monks in Dolpo, Nepal before completing a Master's Degree in cultural anthropology at Colorado State University where his thesis focused on place attachment, identity formation, and discourse theory among the Chamorro of Guam. He has always had a strong interest in environmental education and is thrilled to now be teaching at Sound to Sea.
Becca was born and raised in Ellicott City, Maryland, smack between D.C. and Baltimore. She loved the easy access to museums and historical sites; and ever year looked forward to a trip to her great-grandmas beach house in Delaware. As much as she treasured her east coast home, the mountains called her west and she attended college at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. While there, she found a degree in Geography to be the perfect fit for her love of and curiosity towards the natural world. After her sophomore year she taught at a nature day camp for the Audubon Naturalist Society. She loved the opportunity to see students grow in knowledge and confidence and decided she had found her ideal career in the environmental education field. After graduating from BYU, Becca worked for a season as a community and school programs facilitator for the American Youth Foundation in Shelby, Michigan. The following year found her at Haw River State Park (Browns Summit, NC) working as an instructor for their residential EE program. But, the mountains weren't through with her yet and she answered the call again, this time to Idaho to complete her M.S. Natural Resources degree. For the first 9 months of the program, she lived in a 10 ft yurt in the small mountain town of McCall, ID at the University of Idaho Outdoor Science School where she was a field instructor for students from all over the state. She snowshoed with her students in several feet of snow and drilled holes in the frozen lake surface for water sampling. While Becca treasures her true winter experience, she was more than a little willing to trade it in for life on the coast. She is excited to be a part of the Sound to Sea staff as the lead instructor and Road Scholar Coordinator. She is excited to help students, young and old, obtain the tools and confidence to explore and understand our wonderful area.
Natalie grew up in Wilmington, NC. With easy access to the ocean, it was there that she first developed an appreciation for the natural environment, something that would continue to grow even after she left the coast. Initially unsure of what to study in college, Natalie decided on biology, a degree which allowed for continued exploration of the natural world both on a small and large scale. After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill, she moved to Denver, CO to participate in a year-long volunteer program. There, she was placed full-time as a Family Resource Advocate at The Gathering Place, a day shelter for women and children near the center of the city. It was there that Natalie realized her passion for working directly with children and families. Looking for a way to combine her interest in science and love of kids, she found Sound to Sea and decided to return to NC. She is excited for the upcoming year, and is looking forward to learning more about the North Carolina coast!
Logan was born and raised in Swansboro, North Carolina. As a child he went on frequent boating trips with his family throughout the Bogue Sound, and developed an interest in sea life as he explored the marsh and barrier islands that he called his back yard. When looking at colleges, Logan knew that he had to choose one that focused on Marine Biology, and he decided to attend the University of North Carolina Wilmington. There he worked part time in the Center for Marine Science's benthic ecology laboratory helping in a study on the effects of beach nourishment on local wildlife. Logan would eventually earn his Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology and his Masters in Secondary Science Education. He taught high school science in Williamston NC for two years, but the ocean called back to him. Logan is eager to apply his education experience and marine science knowledge to helping others see the wonders of the coast.
Jessie grew up in the small town of Rutherfordton, North Carolina in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Although she loved the mountains, she wanted to pursue a career in marine biology so she headed to the coast and made the University of North Carolina Wilmington her home. From UNCW Jessie received a B.S. in Oceanography and Environmental Science, with a minor in Biology. During her senior year she worked at a church in Wilmington as an Assistant Youth Director, which helped her realize her passion for teaching and interacting with students. Soon after she graduated, Jessie moved home and began working as a substitute teacher for elementary, middle, and high schools in Rutherford County, North Carolina. Although substituting provided valuable experience, she knew her true desire was to find a way to enter the realm of environmental education. When she found "Sound to Sea," she knew she had hit the jackpot! When she is not leading a group or climbing trees, you may spot Jessie strumming on her ukulele or creating origami llamas.