Staff

Diane Quinn

Executive Director

Liesl Slabaugh

Development & Marketing Director

Betsy Carlson

Citizen Science Coordinator

Debra Diner

Administrative Specialist

Mandi Johnson

Outreach Coordinator

Brian Kay

Marketing & Development Coordinator

Elizabeth Lyon

Flagship Store Manager

Allison Nessmith

Aquarium Specialist

Alexandra (Ali) Redman

Aquarium Curator

Gabriele Sanchez

Registrar & Communications Manager

Brian Simmons

Facilities Maintenance Coordinator

Mia Steiner

Flagship Store Cashier

Tracy Thompson

Volunteer Coordinator

Carolyn Woods

Education Manager

Gabe Meyer

AmeriCorps member – Marine Stewardship Educator

Lydia Plescher

AmeriCorps member – Marine Stewardship Educator

Diane Quinn

Executive Director

Drawing on her more than three decades of experience in informal education, Diane Quinn’s goal as Executive Director is to create opportunities for people to keep learning and caring about our marine environment. Collaborating closely with staff, volunteers, and professional partners, she works to elevate programs, exhibits and experiences that bring people closer to the wonders and complexity of the Salish Sea Watershed as well as the growing restoration and conservation efforts being made throughout the region at this critical time.

Diane’s relationship with PTMSC began in 1998 when, while working for the Burke Museum, she first met with PTMSC’s founders and founding executive director about a new exhibit. Joining the PTMSC staff as Program Director in 2017, Diane focused on supporting new initiatives and ongoing programs that share PTMSC’s resources with the communities it serves. As part of this work, she led the creation of the new Visitor Center, Store and Gallery spaces in PTMSC’s Flagship Landing building.

For more than 20 years at the Burke Museum, becoming Director of Education in 2005, she helped to expand the scale, budgets and impacts of school and public programs. She nurtured innumerable community partnerships, contributed to the development of major exhibitions and participated in long-term, new museum planning resulting in a major capital campaign.

PTMSC’s mission along with its deep and sustained ties to the community continue to inspire her.

pronouns: she, hers

Liesl Slabaugh

Development & Marketing Director

As Development & Marketing Director, Liesl delights in helping people put their passion for the environment into action. She says, “My job is to make the experience of supporting the Marine Science Center a positive one. When people know that their resources are making a difference they feel good.” She adds, “it is a powerful experience to be part of a collective action that makes one’s values actual in the world and I am honored to be part of that.” Liesl also works with staff to be sure resources make the biggest impact possible. She is motivated by a desire to help people of all ages feel a connection with the Salish Sea.

Liesl is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). She holds an MPA from the University of Colorado and a BA in philosophy from Haverford College. Liesl has served on many volunteer boards and commissions, including the Jefferson County Community Foundation, the Port Townsend Planning Commission, and the Non-Motorized Transportation Advisory Board. She has worked for nonprofits for over 20 years, including United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Womenspace.

pronouns: she, hers

Betsy Carlson

Citizen Science Coordinator

Part of the PTMSC team since 2015, Betsy is thrilled to help coordinate Citizen Science projects, educational programs, volunteers, the Discover Lab, and the center’s data management.

Betsy has a Bachelors of Science in Plant Science from the University of Delaware and a Masters of Environmental Studies from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She has worked on a diverse array of projects with Washington State University, Olympic National Park, ForTerra, Olympic Park Institute, and Peace Corps Madagascar.

Always up for an adventure, Betsy is an outdoor enthusiast and loves to travel. She spent six years in Madagascar, one on a remote island studying forest habitat of an endangered primate, the Aye-aye. She fell in love with the Pacific Northwest as a backcountry ranger for Olympic National Park and has called Port Townsend home since the early 1990s. She enjoys gardening and raising her two sons.

pronouns: she, hers

Debra Diner

Administrative Specialist

Deb moved to Port Townsend seven years ago after retiring from teaching in California, where she taught all subjects to grades K-8 at a small rural school for 25 years. She started with the Marine Science Center six years ago by volunteering as an aquarium docent, and loved it! Deb was thrilled to be offered a paid position, working mostly remotely doing deposits, invoices, mail, and office duties!

In high school, Deb actually wanted to be a marine biologist, but discovered that she is very prone to sea sickness, so switched to land, and got her degree in anthropology. While in college, Deb decided to become a teacher because it would include all her interests (math, science, art, reading, and kids) in one job! She also has a “hobby business”, a shop on Etsy called Wee Brigadoon. She makes custom tiny clay figurines that are put in fairy gardens or used as birthday and wedding cake toppers. Deb also enjoys baking treats for the staff and for PTMSC special events.

pronouns: she, hers

Mandi Johnson

Outreach Coordinator

As the Outreach Coordinator, Mandi enjoys connecting those within our community to PTMSC through a variety of sustainability projects and endeavors. Her focus is on community education and response activities that reduce waste and create a change in attitude towards this waste. Her favorite part of her job is seeing the way a person’s eyes light up when they do something that has made an impact and realize they too can make a difference! Mandi has held several different roles while with PTMSC since 2018, including serving two terms as an AmeriCorps member. She holds a BS in Biology with an emphasis in Animal Science and a minor in Environmental Sustainability from Northern Arizona University. While not working, you’ll find Mandi playing around this beautiful state with her dog and significant other.

pronouns: she, hers

Brian Kay

Marketing & Development Coordinator

A brief rundown of his numerous tasks: as part of the marketing team, Brian designs print and web collateral for PTMSC’s events and programs while updating the PTMSC website, social media channels, and e-newsletter communications. Development duties include maintaining the donor database and membership programs, as well as organizing and providing administrative support to the PTMSC Annual Benefit Auction, the Stewardship Breakfast, and the various member & donor events. Brian also attends to internal IT matters.

Prior to working at PTMSC, Brian interned with Port Townsend-based Copper Canyon Press. Before relocating to Port Townsend in 2010, Brian worked previously with Oregon State Parks as a public service representative. Brian currently serves as president on the board of Port Townsend Film Festival; he also volunteers with Olympic Angels to provide support to local foster care families.

Whether it’s sipping americanos at a local Port Townsend coffee shop, cranking punk rock on his RAV4 stereo on another errand to the local hardware store, day-tripping with his mirrorless camera to any of the infinitely beautiful locations around the Olympic Peninsula with his amazing and beautiful wife Dana, or just spending a rainy day at his beautiful home with his lively cats Luke and Leia, Brian enjoys living the good life. (Oh, and he likes bowling, too.)

pronouns: he, his

Elizabeth Lyon

Flagship Store Manager

Elizabeth started at PTMSC as a volunteer, greeting in the Museum and Aquarium. With a background in marine biology and education from Occidental College, she enjoys helping out on low tide walks, and is on an unrequited hunt to see a nudibranch in the wild. Following her 30+ career teaching Kindergarten- 7th grade, and lifelong love for visiting museum gift shops, she is now managing our retail spaces downtown and at Fort Worden. “I love that the downtown space has become a visitor’s center. I truly enjoy talking with visitors about our mission, and then sending them off to the Aquarium and Museum!”

pronouns: she, hers

Allison Nessmith

Aquarium Specialist

As Aquarium Specialist, Allison is always looking to steward a love for the environment through education and fun! Working with the public and volunteers, she hopes to continue to bridge the world above and below the tide.

Allison received her undergraduate degree in Marine Biology from University of West Florida. Leaving Florida in 2018 for the mountains and a change of pace, she was involved with zoo education, paleontological work, and animal shelter care in Colorado. She moved to Washington state from Colorado in the beginning of 2024. She has many years of animal experience ranging from rehabilitation, shelter, and zoological care.

Allison has a passion for learning and enjoys spending time soaking up knowledge of the Salish Sea and all who call this beautiful place home. On her free time she can be found walking the beach, hiking, camping, or kayaking.

pronouns: she, hers

Alexandra (Ali) Redman

Aquarium Curator

Ali is from Washington and grew up sailing the Salish Sea.  Always interested in conservation and animal husbandry Ali initially worked with terrestrial species from Southeast Asia. After getting her undergraduate degree from University of Washington she worked at an animal rescue facility in Borneo. She returned to the USA to pursue a master’s degree at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and refocus her career on the marine environment.  Most recently she oversaw the wet labs, aquarium, and field courses at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station in Virginia.  When not working Ali enjoys introducing her husband and son to the beautiful environment she grew up in.

pronouns: she, hers

Gabriele Sanchez

Registrar & Communications Manager

Prior to moving to Port Townsend in 2015, Gabriele was the creator and owner/operator of The Retreat House in Rockport, Texas, an arts and crafts retreat facility that is still going strong after 20 years (she’s very happy about that!). 

Gabriele has worn many hats while at PTMSC, working with both the programs and marketing/development teams. Currently she is the registrar, helping school groups, summer campers, and other program participants to ensure they have a great experience. As part of the marketing and development team, her role includes managing social media, helping develop and maintain PTMSC’s new website, and working with the team planning campaigns and events.

When she’s not at the Marine Science Center, Gabriele enjoys photography, reading, fiber crafts, and exploring and learning about the Salish Sea.

pronouns: she, hers

Brian Simmons

Facilities Maintenance Coordinator

Brian moved to the PNW in 2009 to learn how to grow veggies at a small, bio-diverse, organic farm in Indianola. Immersed in the local food scene, he managed the Poulsbo Farmers Market, the North Kitsap High School greenhouse program, and most recently, facilities and operations at Fishline Food Bank in Poulsbo. He also served a term as Vice President of the Washington State Farmers Market Association.

Brian has a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management with a minor in Political Science from Northern Illinois University and a Wilderness EMT/ First Responder certificate from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). He can often be found with his little family exploring local beaches and forests on foot, by bike and by boat.

Brian joins the PTMSC to maintain and improve its numerous facilities through the coordination of volunteers, staff, partner organizations and tenants.

pronouns: he, his

Mia Steiner

Flagship Store Cashier

Bio coming soon-ish!

pronouns: she, hers

Tracy Thompson

Volunteer Coordinator

Tracy comes to the Marine Science Center with experience in a range of nonprofit functions, including marketing, fundraising, education and program development. She has previously worked at Centrum, and was the Assistant Head of School at Swan School in Port Townsend. For four years she led Carnegie Picture Lab, an art education nonprofit in Walla Walla, WA, where she recruited and trained a cadre of over 90 volunteers who brought art lessons and projects into 13 elementary schools in the valley. To diversify the curriculum of artists taught in the Picture Lab program, she wrote and published an illustrated picture book about Yakama/Warm Springs artist Lillian Pitt, titled Lillian Pitt, She Who Watches.

She is a big proponent of the power of volunteerism, and is eager to get to know the many dedicated volunteers at PTMSC, and to support the organization with this role. Tracy is an avid quiltmaker, dog walker, and loves to swim, bike and kayak.

pronouns: she, hers

Carolyn Woods

Education Manager

As the Education Manager, Carolyn enjoys sharing her passion for conserving the Salish Sea with students through school programs and summer camps at PTMSC. She enjoys connecting youth and adults with the wonders of the natural world and uses art as a teaching tool whenever possible. Her favorite part of the job is being a witness to discoveries and connections made by students in the marine environment.

Carolyn has worked at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center in various roles since 2014, including serving as a Marine Mammal Stranding Network Intern and a term as an AmeriCorps member.  She holds a BS in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from the University of Washington and has also served at the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge as a Visitor Services and Education Intern. When she’s not at PTMSC, Carolyn might be painting, hiking, rollerskating, birding, listening to music, or some combination thereof.

pronouns: she, hers

Gabe Meyer

AmeriCorps member – Marine Stewardship Educator

Gabe is formerly from Cave Creek, Arizona, and has lived in the PNW since 2010. He graduated from Brigham Young University – Hawaii with a BS in Marine Biology. Gabe was an intern with the PTMSC in 2020. In the past, he has worked with Pacific Tubenoses and Hawaiian field crickets. Most recently, he worked for the Washington Conservation Corps to help repair riparian wetland ecosystems. Gabe enjoys baking, reading, and spending time with his two dogs – Bullitt and Senna.

pronouns: he, his

Lydia Plescher

AmeriCorps member – Marine Stewardship Educator

Lydia grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and recently graduated from the University of Michigan, where she majored in Environmental Studies. Last year, Lydia served as an AmeriCorps member in West Virginia at the Appalachian Forest Discovery Center, where she designed an exhibit about native edible and medicinal plants. She love thinking about how complex scientific topics can be presented in more creative and accessible ways, and is excited to be continuing this work at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, surrounded by the fantastic marine ecosystems of the Salish Sea. In her free time, Lydia loves to explore the outdoors, crochet, sew, and rollerblade.

pronouns: she, hers

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