Lea is originally from New Jersey, USA. She achieved her Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. During her undergraduate career, Lea interned at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, working with cephalopods, and at the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, conducting dolphin population surveys using Photo ID. During her SDRP internship, Lea also gained experience in juvenile and large shark surveys, sparking her passion for elasmobranchs.
Upon graduation, Lea returned to Mote Marine Laboratory for an internship focused on spotted eagle rays and helped with a variety of projects. Afterwards, she went back to Northeastern University to pursue her Master’s in Marine Sciences through the Three Seas Program.
Currently, Lea is working on her Master’s thesis in the Reef Ecology Lab at KAUST, primarily focused on population genetics and connectivity of the bluespotted ribbontail ray (Taeniura lymma) in the Red Sea.