Caring for Stranded Marine Animals
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Staff

Staff

Lisa Becker, M.S., Marine Wildlife Rehabilitation Director
508-743-9888 x306, lbecker@nmlc.org

Gabbie Nicoletta, Animal Care, Necropsy, & Operations Coordinator
508-743-9888 x307, gnicoletta@nmlc.org

Sara Sperber, Operations & Programs Associate
508-743-9888 x303, ssperber@nmlc.org

Leah Vandermeer, Parasite Lab Research Coordinator
508-743-9888 x314, lvandermeer@nmlc.org

Sea Rogers Williams, V.M.D., Science Director & Associate Veterinarian
508-743-9888 x309, rwilliams@nmlc.org

Wendy Wyman, Animal Care & Life Support System Coordinator
508-743-9888 x305, wwyman@nmlc.org

Kathy Zagzebski, M.E.M., President & Executive Director
508-743-9888 x301, kzagzebski@nmlc.org

Adjunct Staff

Andy Voorhis, D.V.M., Associate Veterinarian

Staff Bios

Lisa Becker, M.S., Marine Wildlife Rehabilitation Director
508-743-9888 x306, lbecker@nmlc.org
Lisa’s career in marine and nature conservation started in January 2000 when she accomplished her first marine rehabilitation internship at a seal and seabird rescue station in northern Germany. Subsequently she studied Organismal Biology and received her Bachelor and Master’s degree in Ethology, Zoology and Ecology from the University of Osnabrueck. Her research on endangered semi-aquatic mustelid species focused on examining hyper-aggressive males in captive breeding programs and enabling a reintroduction program of the species back into the wild. During her career, Lisa worked with a variety of marine and terrestrial species for conservational efforts around the world New Zealand (cetaceans, birds, invasive species), Australia (Australian, African, Asian mammals, birds and reptiles), Spain/Canary Islands (cetaceans), Ireland (pinnipeds and terrestrial wildlife) and the United States (pinnipeds, cetaceans, sea otters, pelagic fish species). At Stanford University Lisa functioned as the Fish Facility and Lab Manager of a Neuroscience Laboratory for several years where she continued her research on hyper-aggressive males and managed ~5000 African cichlids as well as numerous undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students. Following her work at Stanford, Lisa moved to Ireland to manage Seal Rescue Ireland, the only marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation center in the Republic of Ireland. While residing in California, Lisa had been an Animal Husbandry Crew Supervisor and Rescue volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito for over six years where she worked very closely with staff and volunteers in rescue, research and rehabilitation of a variety of pinniped species (California sea lions, Steller sea lions, Northern fur seals, Guadeloupe fur seals, northern elephant seals, harbor seals), sea otters and occasionally cetaceans. Since 2017 Lisa has served as a director on the Board of Trustees at the Marine Science Institute in Redwood City, California, a non-profit organization that cultivates a responsibility for the natural environment through interdisciplinary science education. In her free-time Lisa enjoys dance (performing and teaching), yoga, swimming, cycling, live music, spending time with friends and traveling.




Gabbie Nicoletta, Animal Care, Necropsy, & Operations Coordinator
508-743-9888 x307, gnicoletta@nmlc.org
Gabbie Nicoletta joined NMLC as Animal Care Assistant in January, 2019. She previously served as an intern in spring and summer, 2018. Additionally, she interned at the New England Aquarium and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Gabbie graduated from Roger Williams University with a degree in marine biology.

Sara Sperber, Operations & Programs Coordinator
508-743-9888 x303, ssperber@nmlc.org
Sara received her bachelor of science degree in Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation and minors in Anthrozoology, Business, and Zoo Biology from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. During her college career, she gained experience in animal behavior research studying Western lowland gorillas and various other species, as well as field research studying samango monkeys in South Africa and sea turtles in the United States Virgin Islands with Buck Island Sea Turtle Project. Sara also accomplished various internships during her career that including studying with Elephants Alive! in South Africa assisting with their elephants and bees project and African elephant demographic distribution. She gained animal care experience from her time volunteering and then interning at the Roger Williams Park Zoo.
After graduating from college, Sara devoted a year of service with AmeriCorps Cape Cod. During this time, she served all 15 towns on Cape Cod through various environmental projects, including shellfish propagation to mitigate water quality issues, building trails, assisting with wildfire mitigation with the National Seashore. She also helped with schoolwide programs in all 15 towns to educate the children of Cape Cod on environmental issues. Sara was placed at the National Marine Life Center during this time, assisting with animal care and education programs each week. Since then, Sara has been working and volunteering with NMLC continuing to work with our patients and lead education programs. Sara joined us after spending time at the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, where she worked as a park interpreter leading education programs for a summer season and then moved on to be the Coastal Training Program Assistant assisting with educational workshops, blue carbon research projects, and conferences.






Leah Vandermeer, Parasite Lab Research Coordinator
508-743-9888 x314, lvandermeer@nmlc.org
Leah has eight years of experience as a biologist and lab manager working for an environmental testing and regulatory services company. She came to the National Marine Life Center in fall, 2017 to work in the Parasite Laboratory. Leah has a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from Maine Maritime Academy.


Andy Voorhis, D.V.M., Associate Veterinarian
Dr. Voorhis has been volunteering with the Dr Andy VoorhisNational Marine Life Center since 2014. When he’s not examining sea turtles and seals, he works as a bio-infomaticist with the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. Dr. Voorhis received his veterinary degree from Washington State University.





Sea Rogers Williams, V.M.D., Science Director & Associate Veterinarian
508-743-9888 x308, rwilliams@nmlc.org
Sea Rogers Williams is an aquatic and IMG_0068companion animal veterinarian who lives on Martha’s Vineyard with his life partner, Bridget Dunnigan, MS, DVM, who is also an aquatically trained veterinarian. They live with their three dogs, two cats, and five birds where they enjoy hiking, kayaking, and international travel to explore the world’s avifauna. They own and operate the Vineyard Veterinary Clinic in Edgartown.  Currently employed by the National Marine Life Center, Dr. Williams started his aquatic training during vet school at the University of Pennsylvania by attending AquaVet® and AquaMed® courses and participating in the Aquatics club. After a few years in companion animal and mixed animal practice Dr. Williams added more formal training, completing a clinical internship at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Upon moving to the Vineyard he realized that there was no on-island veterinary stranding program. Roger and Bridget have been the primary responders to over a hundred marine mammal and sea turtle strandings as volunteer veterinarians working under the Stranding Agreement of the New England Aquarium. In 2002 they accepted a split position as veterinary medical officers for NOAA Fisheries and as the veterinarians for the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. They responded as government veterinarians to strandings, marine animal transports, and provided the veterinary care for the aquarium’s collection of seals, fish, and invertebrates. They helped re-establish a sea turtle rehabilitation program at the aquarium in coordination with the New England Aquarium. In 2007 they left the aquarium and Dr. Williams accepted the position of director of science, and in 2008 as the attending clinical veterinarian, for the National Marine Life Center. Dr. Williams has a long established interest in infectious disease, particularly parasitic interactions, occurrence, and disease. Dr. Williams has published scientific articles in the fields of fish ophthalmology, marine mammal hematology, sea turtle pathology, infectious disease, and parasitology.


Wendy Wyman, Animal Care & Life Support Systems Coordinator
508-743-9888 x305, wwyman@nmlc.org
Wendy started as a volunteer with the National Marine Life Center in 2007. She quickly made her self invaluable both in working with the animals and in fixing and maintaining the tanks, pumps, and filters needed to house aquatic wildlife. Wendy joined staff in 2014 as a part time animal care assistant and became full time in 2018. She also helps maintain our life support systems and rehabilitation tanks of all sizes. Her diverse background includes experience with a variety of aquatic systems.


Kathy Zagzebski, M.E.M., President & Executive Director
508-743-9888 x301, kzagzebski@nmlc.org
kaz croppedKathy joined the National Marine Life Center as President and Executive Director in March, 2005.  For the previous seven years, she led the Stranding Department at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, where she was responsible for rescue operations along a 600-mile stretch of the California coast.  From 1997 to 1998, she served as Program Manager for the Georgia Coastal Management Program, and helped achieve a federally-approved coastal zone management program for the state.  Kathy has volunteered for a variety of marine mammal projects including animal rehabilitation crews at The Marine Mammal Center; dolphin research/training and whale research at the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory in Hawaii; the marine mammal stranding network in North Carolina; and several dolphin monitoring projects.  She graduated magna cum laude from Augustana College, and received her master’s degree in coastal environmental management from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.  She is a member of the Society of Marine Mammalogy, the International Sea Turtle Conservation, the American Cetacean Society, the National Marine Educators’ Association, and the Massachusetts Marine Educators’ Association.  An alumna of the Cape Leadership Institute of Cape Cod and the Islands, Kathy also serves on the board of the Bourne Financial Development Corporation, the Cape Cod Technology Council, the Massachusetts Marine Educators’ Association, and the Philanthropy Partners of Cape Cod and the Islands. Additionally, she serves on the Town of Bourne’s Wastewater Advisory Committee, the Main Street Steering Committee, and the advisory committee of the Environmental Technology Program at Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School.