VB Sea Camp Staff

Sea Camp Staff (pdf)

Bob Carroll, Sea Camp Director and Camp Leader

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:

  • His two young sons have caught 'surfing fever’ and the trio enjoys getting out there in anything from small wind slop to hurricane ground swells when they aren’t playing soccer. Surfing with his boys is so awesome that he calls himself a ‘born again surfer’ now that he can get out there again.
  • 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 captains 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, a dog and an amazing greenhouse attached to his classroom. 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 Camp Leader

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 is a team manager for two Destination Imagination teams. One of her previous teams went all the way to the global competition round in Nashville. 
  • 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.


Karen Mullin, Camp Leader

Bob and Laurie have had the pleasure to work with Karen (aka Pocahontas) in different capacities for almost 20 years now. Karen has been working with Laurie on Mermaid Training Camp for years. Karen began her career as an English teacher before leading outdoor environmental education field programs at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. She has since worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service at their field office in Annapolis before starting the Willow Oak Group which specializes in creating educational natural habitat areas in schools and parks. Karen has a way of looking at the world and laughing that makes you want to hang out with her and try to be more like her. Her two daughters will be on the camp she is leading. If the girls on Mermaid Power camp are lucky, they will get to hear Karen recite some poetry. Karen could turn anyone into a poetry fan. There is nothing like hearing one of her favorites while enjoying some reflective quiet time out on a sandbar.


Katharine McCartan, Camp Leader Kathy (aka Dragonfly) is not leading any Sea Camps this summer because she hopes to camp out west at some point this summer and can’t commit to a Sea Camp week. We do hope to get her in the mix when she’s free. 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, Camp Leader Cat Attack has been with Sea Camp for 5 summers. We are sad that she is unable to sneak away from her busy schedule at Three Ships Coffee at the oceanfront to lead a camp this summer, but we hope to get her back on a kayak for a day or two if she can jump in on a camp. Cat enjoys surfing and getting outside with her dog Fly. 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 pottery is taking off in the area. She can make custom pottery for you if you contact her.


Ian Sellers, Camp Leader Ian is finishing up at ODU with a parks and recreation major. I met him through Cat Attack when she was a Sea Camp counselor. Ian is an avid surfer and he makes his own surfboards. He has a great love of the outdoors. He has jumped in to help on several Sea Camps over the last several summers, but his work at a residential surf camp in OBX took up most of his time. Ian is a soulful individual, and very patient. He is working for Sea Camp throughout the entire Sea Camp year to complete his formal internship requirement for his college major, so he will be helping out on many camps and doing a lot of the behind the scenes work. We look forward to learning from his this summer.


Axel Rasmussen, Lead Counselor Bob shared a classroom with Axels' mother years ago. Axel attended Sea Camp as a youngster and began working for Sea Camp soon after. He is a rising junior at Old Dominion University where he is involved in everything from the Formula One car mechanics club, ballroom dancing, restoring his ancient VW bus and being an engineering major. 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 six summers that I have worked with him. He prefers to live a vivid life rather than view other peoples’ lives on a tiny screen. He is a man of few needs. I rarely see him eat, drink or apply sun-screen during Sea Camps. All of which remain great mysteries to me.

I would let Axel lead Sea Camps if he was old enough (21) to satisfy our liability insurance requirements. He is an amazing young man.


Chloe Obara: Lead Counselor Chloe is a rising junior at William and Mary where she majors in environmental science. She loves to be active. She volunteered with Oyster Reef Keepers of Virginia during her recent winter break. She played soccer with Virginia Beach City after arduous 10-hour Sea Camp days. She takes 'youthful energy' to another level. She lights up when a ball or Frisbee comes out, and loves a game of Maximum War Dodge Ball (invented by Axel) or sand soccer during camp. Chloe is smart, strong and happy. Bob hired her for the summer of 2016 upon Axels recommendation alone and she has proven to be even better of a person than he could have relayed to me. Working for Sea Camp and with Bob 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 peoples’ lives on social media.

I would also let Chloe lead Sea Camps if she was old enough (21) to satisfy our liability insurance requirements. She is an amazing young woman.


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 a cast of young friends including Joanna, Amanda, Emma, Sydney, Savannah, Longwater, Stuart and River for mixing into different camps during the summer and working with Bob. Chloe advises the young Sea Camp staff to 'start moving something' when Bob comes around and assures them that they will be able to read Bobs mind in time so that they will know what they need to do.