Kiersten Stanzel
Executive Director

Kiersten began serving as CBBEP’s Executive Director on September 1, 2022.  Prior to this, she served as CBBEP’s Director of Partnerships, during which time she worked to cultivate individual, corporate, government, and foundation partnerships that further CBBEP’s mission.  Her roles and responsibilities with CBBEP have also included working closely with staff and partners on strategic planning related to budgeting, programmatic goals and implementation, and governance.  In her role as Executive Director, Kiersten will continue working to cultivate partnerships and funding support for CBBEP’s programs and projects, and she will also be responsible for working closely with the CBBEP Board of Directors and for managing the ongoing business and operations of the Program.  Kiersten received her B.S. in Biology from Augustana College and her Ph.D. in Marine Science from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to working at CBBEP, Kiersten served as a Research Associate with the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute, where she focused on integrating research and education to improve the stewardship of coastal resources.  Phone (361) 336-0315.

Alice Sanchez
Director of Business Affairs

Alice’s responsibilities include oversight of all program finances, budget and planning, as well as administration of state and federal contracts for the CBBEP. She has more than 21 years experience in financial and contract related matters and has worked as Contract Manager for the program.  Phone (361) 336-0307.

Jake Herring
Director of Land Conservation

Jake is CBBEP’s land manager, coordinating and assisting with habitat protection and conservation projects for the CBBEP 12-county area. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Science from Texas A&M University-College Station and interned at CBBEP.  Phone (361) 336-0309.

David Newstead
Director of Coastal Bird Program

David is the Director of the Coastal Bird Program, which focuses on habitat management, stewardship, and conservation-oriented monitoring and research on the diverse coastal bird life of the area. His staff works with partners across the whole Texas coast and has also conducted projects with our neighbors in Louisiana and Mexico. David earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Houston, studied coastal fisheries for his Master’s degree from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, and completed his Ph.D. in Wildlife Science at Texas A&M University-Kingsville conducting research on an endangered shorebird, the Red Knot. Phone (361) 336-0312.

Melissa Barnes

Melissa was born overseas and raised in a military household. She has lived in Corpus Christi for the last 15 years. She earned her B.S. in Business Administration from University of the Incarnate Word and her Master of Accountancy from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.  One of her career goals is to earn her CPA certification. Melissa has always been an environmental minded person and enjoys living by the water. Prior to working with CBBEP she worked at H.E.B, leading the Business Center, for 14 years. Phone (361) 336-0317.

Michelle Cortinas
Administrative Assistant

Michelle is the CBBEP's Administrative Assistant.  Michelle was born and raised in the Corpus Christi area and is a graduate of South Texas Vocational Institute with a degree in Medical Assisting.  Prior to working for the program, Michelle served as a Transportation Security Administration Agent at Corpus Christi International Airport, and for ENT & Associates as a Certified Medical Assistant and Allergist.  Phone (361) 336-0304.

Brooke Hill
Avian Conservation Ecologist

Brooke is part of CBBEP’s Coastal Bird Program. She is working to help discover the cause of coastal bird declines through research and analyses, as well as assisting in efforts to conserve and maintain waterbird habitat in the Texas Coastal Bend. She earned her B.S. in Biology from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, and her M.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Alaska - Fairbanks. She has over 14 years of experience researching shorebirds in a variety of habitats, including Piping Plovers and Least Terns on the Missouri River System and Arctic-breeding shorebirds on the coastal Alaskan tundra. Phone (361) 336-0313.

Matt Hendrix
Education Coordinator

Matt is working for Delta Discovery at the Nueces Delta Preserve and will coordinate and implement field trips and other educational activities.  Matt has been passionate about animals and the environment his entire life.  He earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Colorado State University and his B.S. in Biology from Metropolitan State University in Colorado.  Prior to coming to Texas, Matt worked as an educator at the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, Colorado.

Adrien Hilmy
Project Manager

Adrien oversees and manages water and sediment quality projects.  He previously worked at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History as an Educator and Camp and Evening Programs Manager, and with CBBEP's Delta Discovery Program.  Adrien received his B.A. in Geoarchaeology from Hamilton College in 2013.  Phone (361) 336-0316.

Rosario Martinez
Senior Project Manager

Rosario oversees and manages habitat enhancement and water quality monitoring projects. She previously worked as a project scientist with Naismith Engineering, Inc. performing environmental site assessments and remediation work. Rosario received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in environmental science from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.  Phone (361) 336-0308.

Justin LeClaire
Avian Conservation Biologist

Justin is part of CBBEP’s Coastal Bird Program. Based in Corpus Christi, he manages rookery islands for declining colonial nesting waterbirds, monitors shorebird productivity at various important breeding sites, and assists in the field with numerous other important avian research projects. Justin grew up in Vermont and received a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology at the University of Vermont. His passion for wildlife conservation and the outdoors led him to work in the wildlife field in five different states before landing in South Texas in 2016. He has also dedicated thousands of volunteer hours to various wildlife research projects, habitat restoration, wildlife rescues, and outdoor education. 

Travis Muckleroy
Conservation Specialist

As a Conservation Specialist for CBBEP, Travis coordinates with and assists the Director of Land Conservation. His duties include property management and implementing common habitat management practices to conserve native coastal habitats. Prior to joining CBBEP, Travis worked as an environmental consultant on a variety of projects along the coastal bend. Travis received a B.S. in Range and Wildlife Management from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Kimberly Ogden
Education Coordinator

Kimberly Ogden coordinates outreach for the Delta Discovery program at the Nueces Delta Preserve. Kim comes to us with years of classroom experience working with children of diverse ages and abilities. Kim is a member of the South Texas Master Naturalists. Kim received her B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Elementary Education from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi. Phone (361) 673-6829.

Leigh Perry
Project Manager

Leigh oversees and manages projects for the CBBEP.  She previously worked at  CBBEP's Nueces Delta Preserve.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in marine science from Texas A&M University-Galveston.  Phone (361) 336-0304.

Kathryn Tunnell
Project Manager

Kathryn oversees and manages projects for the CBBEP.  Prior to working for the CBBEP, Kathryn served as a Natural Resource Specialist with the Texas General Land Office where she specialized in natural resource permitting, and interagency coordination and communication. Kathryn also has experience in grant management, education and outreach, and a strong understanding and appreciation of the Texas Coastal Bend’s natural resources. Kathryn received her B.S. and M.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi.  Phone (361) 336-0311.

Aaron Baxter
Project Manager

Aaron oversees and manages a variety of projects throughout the Texas Coastal Bend. He previously worked as a Research Specialist with the Center for Coastal Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi where his research focused on Texas diamondback terrapins. Aaron received his B.S. and M.S. in Biology from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Phone (361) 336-0314.

Quinn Hendrick
Communications Manager

Quinn is operating as the Communications Manager for the CBBEP. Growing up on the Coastal Bend instilled a deep affinity and appreciation for the native landscapes and wildlife of the region. Graduating from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi with a MA in Strategic Communication, he coordinates outfacing communication efforts and content creation to highlight the efforts that forward the CBBEP mission.  Phone (361)336-0305

Lisa Havel
Grants Director

Lisa is the Grants Director for the CBBEP. Originally from Connecticut, she earned a B.S. in Marine Science and Biology from the University of Miami and Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. At her last position, she served as the Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership Director at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in Arlington, Virginia. She has conducted field work in the Florida Keys, coastal Texas, Gulf of Maine, and Great Barrier Reef, and has expertise in fish development and behavior, estuarine ecology, and coastal habitats. Phone (361) 336-0306.

Shelby Bessette
Migratory Shorebird Project Leader

As the Migratory Shorebird Project Leader, Shelby works primarily as our private land’s liaison. Shelby’s background encompasses coastal restoration, wildlife management, and environmental education. She is from South Carolina where she started academically with a B.S. in Biology from Winthrop University and then spent several years in the Rio Grande Valley studying and working for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley where she graduated with a Master’s in biology and Master of Public Affairs. Shelby is an active volunteer and serves as a Texas Master Naturalist

Jason Loghry
Migratory Shorebird Habitat Specialist

As the Migratory Shorebird Habitat Specialist focused on monitoring non-tidal migratory shorebird habitats such as seasonal and agricultural wetlands and post-fire grasslands with the aim of contributing to a more comprehensive landscape-level approach to flyway conservation. Jason is from Rockport, Texas, but his background extends to East Asia where for many years he was heavily involved in shorebird conservation at the local and international level throughout the Yellow Sea eco-region of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. He is currently completing his Master's in Range and Wildlife Management at Texas A&M Kingsville. 

Lauren Piorkowski
Volunteer Coordinator

Lauren Piorkowski coordinates volunteer programs for CBBEP and assists with educational activities for the Nueces Delta Preserve. She has previous experience working for local organizations including the Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve and Padre Island National Seashore. She is passionate about creating hands-on opportunities for our community to learn more about protecting our environment. Lauren has a B.S. in marine science with a concentration in biology from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Phone: 361-558-7767

Mary Kramer
Project Manager

Mary oversees and manages a variety of projects for the CBBEP. Prior to working for the CBBEP, Mary completed a Bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University in Natural Resources Ecology and Management as well as a Master’s degree at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi specializing in socio-economic drivers of surface water quality impairment and coastal community resilience.