What is SCIFA Club?
SCIFA Club is a unique program designed to eliminate barriers to starting a career in the natural sciences and making science an accessible field for everyone. We offer quarterly workshops for those students and young adults who are interested in pursuing a career in biology that include hands-on activities and project experience, mentorship through a robust network of biologists, and professional development opportunities.
costs and fees
Students will not be turned away due to inability to pay. There is a suggested donation and supply fee for families with students and young adults participating in workshops who are able to contribute. Students who meet one or more of the qualifications below will be considered SCIFA Scholarship Students and their participation will be funded by TRC and community partners:
Attend a Title I school
From a household that qualifies for one or more of the following:
In an effort to uphold our values of inclusion in the natural sciences for BIPOC, disadvantaged youth, women, and other underrepresented groups, we decided to take steps to bridge the inclusion gaps in our field of work by creating SCIFA Club, meaning "Science For All". SCIFA club is an equal opportunity program meant to address and eliminate barriers that young adults face in pursuing a career in the natural sciences. One of the greatest barriers to people entering STEM fields is science inaccessibility. Employers and educational institutions value candidates with strong resumes and experience. However, opportunities for gaining experience and networking are not equally distributed.
The Rattlesnake Conservancy is committed to ensuring we are inclusive and making our programs accessible to everyone. Our mission is to advance the protection of rattlesnakes, and their habitat, through research and education. We believe that working with the youth to instill a life-long love of learning and passion for science, and making those opportunities accessible to everyone are vital to our conservation efforts.
Therefore, we are offering this quarterly workshop program to all young adults interested in pursuing a career in biology, regardless of their ability to pay.
Who Is It For?
SCIFA Club workshops are designed for any 12 to 20 year old living in the Jacksonville, Florida area who may be interested in pursuing a career in science after high school.
Students that meet the above criteria IN ADDITION to the SCIFA Scholarship Student qualifications, please let us know on your SCIFA Club interest form. These students will be given first priority in full SCIFA workshops and mentorship opportunities.
2022 SCiFA Workshop Schedule
- Sat, Mar 26JacksonvilleMar 26, 2022, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM EDTJacksonville, 7152 Lone Star Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32211, USA
Please fill out the interest form at the bottom of the page before registering for any of the workshops listed below!
Our SCIFA Mentors are here to guide you on your journey of becoming a professional in a STEM related field. Mentors will host a workshop once a year and periodically attend other workshops to meet students. This is a great opportunity for students to make connections and get career advice. Check out their bios below for more information.
Education Programs Coordinator
The Rattlesnake Conservancy
As an environmental educator, Megan is passionate about teaching others about the natural world and instilling this passion in those she meets. Megan has previously mentored about 15 different college aged students pursuing degrees in biological fields as well as graduated with B.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Biology from Clemson University in 2019. While in school, she worked at a state park, an aquarium as a sea turtle intern, and volunteered for a variety of sea turtle projects. After graduating school, Megan worked as the head naturalist at a nature center on a barrier island in South Carolina before coming to TRC. Her areas of special interests include coastal systems, herpetology (reptiles & amphibians), and community outreach.
SE Regional Director
The Rattlesnake Conservancy
Tiffany is a Wilderness EMT, NREMT, Florida Master Naturalist, and PLT Outdoor Educator with expertise in natural resources advocacy, fundraising, event planning, marketing, educational programs, and community outreach. Tiffany believes that providing environmental education and instilling a love for nature in children plays a vital role in conservation.
Jekyll Island Conservation Authority
Joseph grew up in Columbia, SC, and is a Marine Corps Veteran. Wildlife conservation is in Joseph's blood, having attended University of South Carolina for his undergraduate and University of Georgia for his M.S. in Biology. Joseph has a wealth of field experience working with eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, having developed a comprehensive rattlesnake radiotracking program and community outreach program in his job as the Wildlife Manager for Jekyll Island Conservation Authority. Joseph is also a member of the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Working Group.
Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens
Cayle entered the zoo field in 2006 and is currently the Assistant Curator of Herps, Birds, and Others at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens where he manages the herps, aquatics, and education animal care teams. Throughout his career, he has worked with a variety of taxa with a primary focus on herp management and conservation. He is currently participating in repatriation projects including Louisiana pine snakes, striped newts, and Puerto Rican crested toads as well as aiding in conservation efforts with Cyclura rock iguanas and Central American river turtles. Additionally, Cayle serves as the FL Reptile & Working Group/Conserving the Common (FRAWG) coordinator and Studbook Coordinator for the AZA Species Survival Plan programs for Jamaican and Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas. He is also a member of IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group and board member for the International Iguana Foundation.
Alligator Research Biologist
UGA Marine Extension/GA Sea Grant
Mark is currently a graduate student at Georgia Southern University where he is studying the genetic relatedness of alligators in the Okefenokee Swamp and how that relatedness influences intraspecific interactions along with spatial ecology and distribution throughout the swamp. He graduated from Newberry College with a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Science and a minor in Chemistry. Mark began working with reptiles, such as venomous snakes and crocodilians, at a reptile sanctuary in Texas. Additionally, he spent time researching negative conditioning and movements of alligators in coastal communities in South Carolina as a research technician for Clemson University.
Conservation Program Manager
White Oak Conservation
Laura Gruber is the Conservation Program Manager at White Oak, where she oversees all aspects of the Education Department including K-16 education programs, conservation capacity building, and management of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL). In her role she provides hands on experiential learning, conservation skills and leadership training to audiences ranging from K-12 students to conservation professionals. With a lifelong dedication to biodiversity and conservation, Laura has worked in the zoological and conservation field since 1999, where she has filled roles in education, outreach and animal care at institutions such as the Zoological Society of San Diego and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Certified Veterinary Technician
White Oak Conservation
Dewey Maddox is a Certified Veterinary Technician at White Oak Conservation, where he is part of a veterinary team that provides medical care to all the animals that call White Oak home. He is the current president to the Florida Veterinary Technician Association where he promotes industry standards and education. While at White Oak his focus has been on laboratory operations ensuring quality results for White Oak animals and recently, he has been focusing on the veterinary care for White Oak's Asian Elephant program. Dewey has been a veterinary technician for over 15 years and worked in the the zoological field since 2014. His zoological experience started as an intern at White Oak and then full time at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens before returning to White Oak Conservation.
Vice President of Sales
Rob has a passion for the outdoors and native wildlife. He's an avid hiker, forager, and kayaker. He has volunteered with the Rattlesnake Conservancy for years and helped develop our main classroom space. Rob is certified by The Rattlesnake Conservancy in Level 1 and Level 2 Venomous Handling and as a Venomous Handling Instructor. Additionally, as the Vice President of Sales at Greenshades Software, Rob brings a wide variety of professional skills to our mentorship team like building resumes and writing grants.
Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo
Katie Long is an instructor and conservation department member at the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo. She has grown up around the Santa Fe campus and has several different degrees from this college. She spent the last 5 years as a carnivore keeper at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and specialized in jaguars and giant river otters. Katie has a unique set of experiences that include owning a tattoo shop (was called Iron Lotus) and being a Guardian Ad Litem volunteer. Two things she is passionate about are mental health and student success!