VB Sea Camp Staff

Sea Camp Staff (pdf)

Bob Carroll, Sea Camp Director and Lead Educator

Bob (aka Captain Octopus) is the director of Virginia Beach Sea Camp. He has over 20 years of professional experience leading field trips on beaches, canoes, boats and islands throughout the Chesapeake Bay while working in various education positions for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Bob begin teaching 4th and 5th grade science at Norfolk Academy in September 2015. He taught 7th grade life science for the Virginia Beach City Public School system at the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program housed at Plaza Middle School for 9 years prior to moving to Norfolk Academy. Bob led the marine biology summer camps at the Baylake Pines School from the summer of 2008 until they closed in 2014.

Recent accomplishments include:

  • He was one of three Virginia teachers to be selected as a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) in 2016.
  • He became a National Board Certified Teacher as of Nov 21, 2013. Twenty-two teachers with the Virginia Beach City Public Schools passed this certification process in 2013.
  • He was awarded the Presidential Award for Innovative Environmental Education in 2011/12.
  • He has raised over $250,000 through competitive grant proposals and awards over the course of his career to fund environmental education projects.

Bob studied fresh water ecosystems at Cornell University in college. He also studied nautical science and oceanography on the Sea Education Association (SEA) Westward-108 cruise during a semester abroad. He received a masters degree in marine science from the College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, where he assisted on a host of research projects on the Georges Banks, Antarctica and all over the Chesapeake Bay. He has a 100-ton U.S. Coast Guard captain's license and a Commonwealth of Virginia teaching license.

Bob grew up on the Jersey Shore in Spring Lake. He started working as a beach cleaner when he was 14 years old which was the 2nd best job he ever had. He was an ocean lifeguard for 6 summers through high school and college which was the best job he ever had. Bob currently has 8 aquaria in his life as well as three young children, a mermaid (The Oyster Queen), a bearded dragon, a crested gecko, a Russian tortoise, a red-eared slider, a rabbit, a snake and one dog. Bob lives in the Pelican Dunes area of Ocean Park, Virginia Beach. Please wave if you see him on Shore Drive.


Laurie Sorabella, Director of Oyster Reef Keepers of Virginia and Lead Educator

Laurie (aka The Oyster Queen) is an oyster restoration scientist and environmental education expert. She has over 20 years of experience inspiring students and teachers to understand, embrace and contribute to the restoration of the environment. She worked for several years as a field educator on the Chesapeake Bay where she was the first female manager of the Fox Island education center, a remote residential education center. She later formed Oyster Reef Keepers of Virginia, a non-profit organization that works to restore oyster reefs in Virginia waterways through community-based restoration, education, scientific research and monitoring. For the past 16 years, Laurie has led and directed the “Schools Restoring Oysters to the Chesapeake” program that annually engages 200 teachers and 20,000 students in an educational restoration project where students raise and stock almost 1,000,000 oysters (yes that’s 1 MILLION oysters) to Virginia’s oyster reefs every year. If your child has raised oysters in school, than he or she has already been impacted by Laurie’s passion.

Recent Accomplishments include:

  • Laurie was recognized as a Model Community Partner by the City of Virginia Beach Public Schools in spring 2014 for her volunteer work with city teachers in creating inquiry based units of study that use oyster restoration as a focal point. This award is a significant accomplishment that shows Lauries commitment to personally working with schools to implement meaningful education based on the oyster restoration project.
  • She was awarded the Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) Community Partner award in November, 2013.
  • She has raised over $775,000 through competitive grant proposals thus far in her career to fund environmental education and restoration projects in Virginia.
  • She was awarded Virginia’s Environmental Educator of the Year in 2006 to recognize her major contributions to the environmental education of Virginia’s youth and the restoration of Virginia’s vital natural resources.

Laurie has a bachelor of arts from Wesleyan University, (Middleton, Connecticut) and a master of science degree in marine science from The College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science. She served as the director of Lynnhaven River Now for three years and more recently worked as their oyster scientists for many years. She also shares her oyster expertise with the Elizabeth River Project, the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance, the City of Virginia Beach, and hundreds of schools throughout Virginia.

Laurie has always loved of the outdoors. She told her father that her dream house was a 2-story tent when she was young. Her love of the outdoors grew while working as a counselor at Camp Thoreau in Vermont during her college summers. She ran her 4th Shamrock Half Marathon this March and is one heck of a mother bear to her three children.


Katharine McCartan, Lead Educator

Kathy (aka Dragonfly) is an environmental education expert. She was recreation and parks management major at ODU and worked for many years leading outdoor education field trips with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. She has also worked with Delaware State Parks as a naturalist at Trap Pond State Park, with Americorps as an environmental education program director for Delaware Boys and Girls Club and as a science teacher at the Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science charter school. She is currently a teacher with Virginia Beach City Public Schools. She is married and has two young boys. Laurie, Bob and Kathy used to work together as full time outdoor educators. We were super stoked when she moved to Virginia Beach and started working with Sea Camp. I joke that she is an ‘environmental education mercenary’ because someone with her skill set, experience and training is very rare in this world. Kathy loves dragonfly larvae – the bigger and meaner the better, hence her nickname. Kathy loves dogs and has the personality of a friendly retriever.


Catherine Peterson, Lead Educator

Cat Attack has been with Sea Camp for 5 summers. W e are stoked that she is able to sneak away from her busy schedule at Three Ships Coffee at the oceanfront to lead a camp this summer. Cat enjoys surfing and getting outside with her dog. She is a trained potter thanks to the University of Mary Washington and has pieces for sale in Three Ships Coffee and www.flydogceramics.com Cat can make custom order pottery for you which is pretty darn cool.


Axel Rasmussen, Lead Counselor

Axel attended Sea Camp as a youngster and began working for Sea Camp soon after. He is a rising sophomore at Old Dominion University where he is involved in everything from the Formula One car mechanics club to country line dancing. He was awarded Eagle Scout status in the spring of 2015. Axel has grown up kayaking and sailing on the Bay beaches. Axel is smart, strong and happy. He has not once looked at his cell phone in the five summers that I have worked with him. He prefers to live a vivid life rather than view other peoples’ lives on a tiny screen.

I would let Axel lead Sea Camps if he was old enough to satisfy our liability insurance requirements. He is an amazing young man.


Chloe Obara: Lead Counselor

Chloe is a rising sophomore at William and Mary. She played soccer at Cox HS and loves to be active. She lights up when a ball or Frisbee comes out, and loves a game of Sea Camp sand soccer. Chloe is smart, strong and happy. Bob hired her for the summer of 2016 upon Axel's recommendation alone and she has proven to be even better of a person than he could have relayed to me. Working Sea Camp for an entire summer brings a wide range of challenges but we haven’t cracked her smile yet. She also chooses to live life rather than view other people's posts on social media.

I would also let Chloe lead Sea Camps if she was old enough to satisfy our liability insurance requirements. She is an amazing young woman.


Mitzy Cromwell: Teacher, Yoga Instructor, Lifeguard and Water Sports Enthusiast

Mitzy. Aka Lotus Blossom, is Virginia Beach born and raised. Mitzy has served a variety of teaching positions with the Virginia Beach City Public Schools position. She is currently a library resource specialist at Plaza Middle School where she is a master of engaging students. She received her yoga instructor certification in 2016 and enjoys helping Sea Campers stretch out before our paddles. She was a Virginia Beach lifeguard for many years as well as a local triathlete. Odds are you know Mitzy, or know someone who does, if you have spent a large amount of time in VB.


Marina Vallad I’m not ready to say that we’ve totally lost Marina to Florida just yet. Marina was an icon at Sea Camp for many summers before she moved to Florida and began teaching 7th grade life science in 2015. She surfs, fishes, explores and plays on the water all year long in the waters around Sebastian Inlet, including floating on a $13 inflatable mattress. ‘Air Mattressing’ was an original Marina activity that we incorporated into Sea Camp and remains a camper favorite. There is an outside chance that she will make a guest appearance on several Sea Camp days.


The Heavy Lifting Staff: Sea Camp is graced with a number of young adults who thrive working in the out-of-doors with children. Big Sea Camp thank you to Amanda, Emma, Savannah, Sierra, Bodie, Stuart and River for mixing into different camps during the summer and understanding Bob.

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