Director of Education Senior Marine Mammal Specialist

“Live the Dream.”  That was the theme of an airshow I attended a few years ago.  Attending these yearly airshows always refuels my first true love of flying, but this particular airshow made me realize I had not chosen between two flight paths, but rather I had found a way to fulfill all of my dreams. While growing up as a contributing member of a farm family on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I not only learned the value of good old-fashioned hard work, but I developed a lifelong love for animals. Naturally, being surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, that love for animals translated into a love for anything in the ocean. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and Policy, my flight path took me to California where I was able to cultivate my teaching skills and experience first-hand the value of experiential education. I finally landed in Key Largo, where I have been afforded the opportunity to really ‘Live the Dream.”  I started at Dolphins Plus Oceanside in 2001 as a member of the animal care team.  My first few years were filled with learning animal behavior, animal training philosophies, and most importantly, building relationships with our resident dolphins. The bonds I have been encouraged to create with these amazing animals are a gift that I will always treasure. Over the years, my role at Dolphins Plus has evolved. Currently, I am part of the animal care team, a primary trainer for several of the animals that have become my family, and take on the many responsibilities of being the Director of Education & Marine Mammal Specialist.  It is a dream come true to balance my love for these animals with my passion for education.  I hope to inspire each and everyone I meet to find their passion in life and truly “Live the Dream.”


Supervisor of Animal Care & Training

Greetings from Key Largo, Florida! My Name is Jessica and I have been a marine mammal trainer since 2004. I am originally from Pennsylvania, and worked my way through college at the Arc of Northeastern PA in Scranton. This agency provides many different services to adults with special needs including vocational, personal, communication, motor and other skills. Throughout my 6.5-year employment, I learned about the principles of behavior modification and held many different positions at the Arc such as job coach, recreational aide, and group leader at the Arc’s day services center. In 2003, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science/Biology degree from East Stroudsburg University. Later, in 2004, I moved to the Florida Keys to attain a position with a shrimp hatchery as an algae biologist. There, my position entailed growing food for the shrimp to eat. As my seasonal position at the hatchery came to an end, a training position opened up at Dolphins Plus Bayside. I quickly submitted my resume and, thankfully, was integrated into this family-run company (both dolphins and co-workers). Throughout my years at Dolphins Plus Bayside, I have learned about every aspect of life. Working with animals has always been my passion and to be honest I don’t feel like I have worked a day in the last decade. One of my favorite quotes is, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” - Confucius


Supervisor of Animal Care & Training

Hi, my name is Kim and I am the Supervisor of Animal Care & Training at Dolphins Plus ! My career began in 2011, shortly after completing my Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Science from Eckerd College, in St Petersburg, Florida. I spent two summers interning with the Eckerd College Dolphin Project, participating in their ongoing bottlenose dolphin photo identification and acoustic surveys in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, I began volunteering weekly at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and eventually secured an internship position with Dolphins Plus Bayside the summer before my senior year. I fell in love with the Dolphins Plus Bayside family and affirmed my lifelong dream of pursuing a career in marine mammal training. After graduating the following spring, I returned home to Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania determined to make my dream a reality. A few weeks later I received the opportunity to interview with Dolphins Plus Bayside and was fortunate enough to be offered a position on their animal care team. I ecstatically accepted and moved to the sunny Florida Keys that fall. It has been an adventure ever since! They say if you love your job, you will never work a day in your life. I can honestly say that this is true. Being a dolphin trainer is as challenging as it is rewarding, and every day reminds me of how much more there is for me to learn. Our field is not just about swimming with dolphins, it’s about inspiring conservation through interaction and awareness. My favorite part of the job is not only working and learning with the animals, but also having the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for marine mammals with guests from around world.  It’s a pretty great day at the office!

Holli, Ph.D.

Assistant Director of Research

Learning about the ocean and advancing marine mammal science is my passion! My fascination with dolphins began early, with a visit to SeaWorld and from that day forward I was captivated. Although raised in beautiful Colorado, I always ventured to the ocean, from family vacations to schooling. I journeyed to California to obtain my Bachelor of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology. Between degree programs, I had an opportunity to intern at Island Dolphin Care, which further drove my passion to learn more about the species. After returning to California to further my education in Animal Behavior, I was offered the coveted position of working with the animals at Dolphins Plus Oceanside. Hired as an animal care staff in early 2001, my dreams of working with these amazing creatures were fulfilled. Learning proper care, training, and building relationships with the population took time, which I was more than willing to invest. During my first year, I had the pleasure of working with dolphins such as Fonzie, Squirt, Isla, and in the fall of 2001, I was placed with LB, Ding, and their son Cosmo. Over the next several months, I learned that training three dolphins simultaneously was challenging, but with proper training, I was able to be a part of their dynamic team and we worked harmoniously together. For over a decade, I have been one of LB and Ding’s (and their calves: Cosmo, Kai, Julie, BB) primary trainers. During this time, I developed amazing relationships with these animals, and learned more about animal behavior and myself than I ever dreamt possible. A few years into my career, my yearning to learn more about the animals became the driving force for advancing my education. While working full time at Dolphins Plus Oceanside, I acquired my M.S. and Ph.D. in Research Psychology and became the Assistant Director of Research. Through my schooling and mentors, I gained the knowledge to derive appropriate research methodologies, proper sampling techniques, and the means to analyze findings with statistics. Through my evolution of wanting to work with dolphins and desire to learn more about their behavior, communication, cognitive abilities, and how they perceive their world, I realized that learning more about our population of animals, contributing to the existing body of literature, and educating the public is crucial to protecting and furthering our understanding of the species. My passion for advancing marine mammal science is fueled daily by numerous non-invasive, independent investigations at Dolphins Plus Oceanside, including marine mammal development, social dynamics, communication, acoustic development, cognition, and conservation, as well as by serving on multiple graduate student committees (Masters, Ph.D.). I am blessed to live my dream working with and studying the species, and embrace the role of scientist, educator, and caretaker.


Senior Marine Mammal Specialist

Hey everyone! My name is Tara and I am one of the trainers here at Dolphins Plus. Working with marine mammals has always been a dream of mine since an early age. My first trip to sea world at 6 years old made me realize that this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. During high school I volunteered at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut with belugas and stellar sea lions. While I was in college, I acquired an internship at Sea Life Park in Hawaii. I was hired on after my internship where I worked with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins as well as sea lions. From there I moved to Texas to become a trainer at the Texas State Aquarium, where I worked with 4 male Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and North American river otters. Knowing working with dolphins in Florida was my main goal, I applied to Dolphins Plus! After I was offered the position I drove down and started my new training position. I’m so excited to be part of this team of amazing animals and people and cannot wait to see what Dolphins Plus has in store for me!


Marine Mammal Specialist

Hi, my name is Anna and I am a Marine Mammal Specialist here at Dolphins Plus.  I am from the great state of Texas where I graduated with a major in psychology and a minor in biology from A & M University of Corpus Christi.  When in college, I was lucky enough to get my first internship at Texas State Aquarium.  Upon graduation, I attained a trainer position there.  It wasn’t until my best friend Tara moved to Key Largo to be a trainer here at Dolphins Plus that I decided to do the same and follow my dreams.  I am proud to say I am living out my dream that I have wanted and worked for since I was a girl!



Hi, my name is Amanda and I am a trainer here at Dolphins Plus. I am originally from Boston, Massachusetts and moved to Key West, Florida to attend college. After graduating in 2018 I received my first internship in the field right here at Dolphins Plus! I went on to complete an internship at DPMMR and Island Dolphin Care here in Key Largo after which I moved to Panama City Beach, Florida where I accepted my first trainer position at Gulf World Marine Park. I was immediately missing the Keys so when an opportunity came up to return I accepted a trainer position at Island Dolphin Care in 2020. Two years later I was granted an interview with Animal Care and Training team at Dolphins Plus and graciously accepted their offer to become a full time trainer. Four years later I was back where it all began! I have dreamed of being a dolphin trainer since I was a little girl so to be able to live in the magical Florida Keys and have my dream job is something I’m grateful for everyday!



Hi everyone! My name is Caroline and I am one of the trainers here at Dolphins Plus. Growing up in a small beach town in Connecticut gave me a strong appreciation for the ocean. My family frequently vacationed to Florida where I swam with dolphins for the first time, I was amazed! From that point on I knew I wanted to work with dolphins and help give back to such wonderful animals. In college, I moved to Tampa to obtain my Bachelors in Psychology and Marine Biology from the University of Tampa. As a student, I gained volunteer experience at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and The Florida Aquarium. After my second year of college, I earned an internship position at our partner facility Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder, and the rest is history! After two internships with the DPMMR team, a research project, and a whole lot of dolphin love, I was lucky enough to land my current training position at Dolphins Plus Bayside! I am grateful to be part of such a supportive and hard working team and I am proud of the amazing work we do for our animal family everyday.



 Hi! My name is Rhiannon and I am one of the trainers at Dolphins Plus Bayside. Originally from a small town near Fort Worth, Texas, my passion for the ocean started when my parents took me to SeaWorld, zoos, aquariums, and national parks. From then on, I knew I wanted work with animals and educate the public about the ocean that I fell in love with. I followed my dreams which led me to attend college in Galveston, Texas. My love for the ocean grew tremendously throughout my college career working with sea turtles at the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research. In 2022 I graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. degree in Marine Biology. After graduation, I packed up my bags and moved to Key Largo, Florida for an internship opportunity of a lifetime at Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder. After my level 1 and level 2 internships at DPMMR, I moved back to my home state to work as a Husbandry Assistant at SeaWorld San Antonio. However, a piece of me stayed in Florida, so I moved back for a seasonal trainer position at Marineland in Saint Augustine, Florida. The dream continues to become my reality as I was offered a full-time trainer position at Dolphins Plus Bayside. I moved back to the Florida Keys to where it all began and have been living the dream ever since! Follow your dreams and do what you love, you never know where they might take you!