Meet Our Staff

Pacific Whale Foundation's marine education team offer over 30 years of combined education experience.

Karen Molina, Youth Education Manager

Karen Molina

Karen Molina has been an educator for over 12 years and has taught kindergarten through 8th grade. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and Art and has a Multiple Subject Credential as well as a Montessori Teaching Certificate.

She was a teacher trainer for two years with the Peace Corps in Cape Verde, West Africa and has continued to do extensive work with education in Cape Verde. Karen’s passion is to facilitate critical thinking skills that open and inspire the thrill of learning. Karen has a great respect for each individual child and the perspectives that they share. She loves all adventure: travel, snorkeling, diving, running, rock climbing, friendship and capturing the beauty of life through art.

“I love the quote by Henry David Thoreau that states: ‘What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.’ What we learn lives within us and becomes a part of us forever.”

Alyssa Firkus

Alyssa Firkus

Alyssa, originally from Wisconsin, fell in love with marine life on a childhood trip to the Cayman Islands. This led to a lifelong desire to expand her understanding of the ocean, in hopes of conserving and protecting the marine environment. Pursuing her dream of becoming a marine educator, she earned a B.S in Marine Biology from Humboldt State University. Some of her experiences at the university include her involvement with animal husbandry, collecting data and assisting in research for the Telonicher Marine Laboratory. After serving in Americorps for a year, as an educator for the Brandywine Zoo, she returned back to school and received a M.Ed in Environmental Education from Western Washington University with a focus on marine mammals. Since 2008 she has worked as a marine naturalist in Alaska, Washington State, Canada, Maui and Australia for various environmental non-profits.

In 2010 Alyssa joined the Pacific Whale Foundation team as a marine naturalist. For the past two summers she also worked as a research assistant/education specialist for Pacific Whale Foundation Australia. In the fall of 2013 she joined the education department as our Marine Science Education Specialist. She believes her love and passion for marine life will help future generations make a special connection to the ocean. Her primary focus is raising public awareness on whaling and marine conservation.