Katie moved to Kailua, Hawaii in 1999 after completing her Master's in Marine Science from UNC-Wilmington. She was a research associate with the Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology on a long-term water quality monitoring project and had a rare opportunity as a support safety diver, diving on a coral reef research mission along the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Island chain. She has also been volunteer research diving with Reef Check, a global coral reef survey project.
Due to her interest in culture and sailing, Katie enrolled in a hands-on class called Polynesian Voyaging and Seamanship, where she learned about the Polynesian art of wayfinding, celestial navigation and canoe sailing. This class was a doorway to her current work with Sea Education Association teaching college oceanography on board a 134' tall ship between Tahiti and British Columbia. (082002)