Program Director

Dr. Jeroen Molemaker

Jeroen Molemaker

Dr Jeroen Molemaker is an physical Oceanographer with an interest in oceanic phenomena that are beyond the power of satellites of observe and only recently within the power of numerical models to simulate. The small scale flows, also known as the submesoscale is thought to be of critical importance for the global energy budget of the ocean, the exchange of properties between the ocean and the atmosphere, and on the bio-geochemistry of the upper ocean. He is the founder of the Marine Operations program at UCLA and has lead it since it's inception in 2014.

Marine Operations Manager

Laura Edwards

Laura standing at the helm of the Zodiac

After graduating from UCLA with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in AOS, Laura has been the Captain of the Zodiac since Fall 2022. She leads educational field trips and captains research cruises for which she is responsible for operating and maintaining a myriad of scientific instruments, as well as oversees lab organization and supplies. She is interested in how changing conditions affect life in coastal ecosystems and how those effects can be mitigated. Outside of science, Laura tutors middle and high school students in a variety of subjects and loves to run, hike, skateboard, do yoga, read, swim in the ocean, and generally spend as much time outside as possible!

Contact Information


Tanner Shinkle

Tanner sitting on the edge of the Zodiac, with the ocean and bluffs in the background.
Tanner joined Marine Operations as a third year AOS major in Winter 2023. He assists with cruise operations as well as instrument and boat maintenance. His interests include instrument development, modeling, and being hands-on with the ocean.

Garrett Staller

Garrett standing on the boat by the winch, holding his hand up in a "hang loose" signal.
Garrett joined Marine Operations in the Fall of 2022 in his third year as a UCLA AOS major. He assists with boat operations on sampling and field trips, as well as with boat and instrument maintenance. In addition, he is currently working on a project using temperature and salinity data collected on the Zodiac to characterize fronts in the Santa Monica Bay.


Aviv Solodoch

Aviv was a graduate student in the UCLA AOS department, doing observational research in the Marine Operations team (further on this and more research Aviv is involved with in his homepage: He got involved in the Marine Operations program in his 1st year since he thought it would be a fun thing to do, and as he was right, was sucked in henceforth. Aviv led the UCLA team in the SPLASH campaign (where Jeroen served as CARTHE's Chief Scientist), as well as the development of the Towed Instrument Array and other Kodiac capabilities in preparation for the campaign. He enjoys long days of taking measurements on glassy seas, and is satisfied after long days of taking measurements on incredibly choppy seas. 

As of July 2023, Aviv is a Senior Lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. 

Sarah Hafiz

Sarah is a Sustainability Analyst for Belkin and is aiming to get her masters in Environmental Engineering.  At Belkin she work on a variety of projects, including calculating the total CO2 footprint of the organization for the corporate environmental report. This helps with planning and facilitating projects throughout the organization to reduce GHG emissions. She also ensures all the products are free of hazardous substances harmful to the environment and people, and that the products follow chemical regulatory standards. 

Tim Pilegard

Tim recently finished his master's in Marine Studies at University of Delaware, and is currently working for L3 OceanServer, an autonomous underwater vehicle company, as a field engineer in San Diego. 

Michael Morrison

Tim is currently creating an online climate change certification course for working professionals with The US Green Chamber of Commerce. He is an Air Quality, Environmental, and sustainability consultant at Alta Environmental (CEQA analyses, GHG inventories, hazardous waste reporting, annual sustainability reports).

Kristie Ashby

Kristie Ashby

After participating with Marine Operations in 2016, and graduating from UCLA with an Environmental Science B.S., Kristie Ashby now works as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst with Evari GIS Consulting, Inc., a San Diego company that contracts locally and nationally to create, analyze and present geographic information. The company provides GIS services in support of  stormwater, civil engineering, planning, transportation, and smart city, Internet of Things (IoT) projects.  

Michael Hicks

Michael Hicks

Michael Hicks was an intern during his time as a Math and Atmospheric and Oceanic Science student. He worked on the Hydrofoil attachment for one of our instruments known as an ADCP, which is now regularly used to collect water current data.