Daniela is CCMI intern

Daniela Milena Marie Ryan has been selected the first Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s junior research intern.

Born 1 January, 1988, Daniela is the daughter of Karen Ryan who has worked for the Cayman Free Press for over 25 years.

Daniela is a student at Darlington, a college-preparatory School in Rome, Georgia, USA.

She grew up in George Town, Grand Cayman, on Crew Road and attended Cayman Preparatory and High School from kindergarten through 11th grade.

She has attended the CCMI Summer Sea Camp for the past four years.

She was selected to be the first CCMI junior research intern assisting CCMI President and Director of Research Dr. Carrie Manfrino this summer.

‘We selected Daniela to become a junior intern because of her love for the coral reefs of Cayman, many years of experience working with us, ability to direct research projects, and her ambition to make a difference in the community. Daniela is a true leader and an inspiring young Caymanian’ said Dr. Manfrino. ‘From the first day that I met Daniela, I knew that she would become a important part of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s mission, she was outgoing, intelligent, personable, and most importantly she is incredibly caring about the environment.’

At the Little Cayman Research Centre this summer Daniela is working on several projects.

She is helping to establish the new Little Cayman Research Centre’s resident research program called LAMP.

LAMP stands for Long-Term Assessment and monitoring Program which is collecting data on populations of threatened and protected species of the Cayman Islands, whelks, groupers, conch and lobster to name a few.

‘I have a deep love of diving and enjoy the incredible reefs of Cayman. In the past few years, the Caribbean Sea Camp gave me more knowledge than I could ever imagine and provided me with an in depth understanding of how the marine environment is so intricate. The program taught me how important it is to take care of our coral reefs. I decided to apply for this program so that I could volunteer to help and contribute back to the efforts being made by the Caribbean Sea Camp. I called Dr. Manfrino earlier this summer knowing how much help is needed for the sea camp and how much work goes into organizing the Caymanian youths during the program,’ said Daniela.

‘The most important aspect of the Caribbean Sea Camp is that it is helping to change the culture of our youth who think that it is ok to take everything from the sea and helps us understand that it is important to set limits rather than living in excess. I enjoy being a part of this effort and through the junior internship I have been able to give something back for the years of effort and investment that this non-profit organization has made for our youth in Cayman.’

Daniela is a founding member of Cayman Loves Children, a group that raises money for the under-privileged children of the world and donates through UNICEF. Daniela made the trip to New York to present the first cheque to UNICEF directors in 2003.

She enjoys tennis, scuba diving, music and is a member of the crew and wrestling teams at school. Her interests include history, engineering, law and anything to do with the marine environment.

With her fundraising experience Daniela is also developing the concept and activities for the First Annual CCMI Reef Relay, which is a fundraiser for scholarships for local youth to attend the Caribbean Sea Camp. She will organize a telethon and other fundraising activities that will provide the money needed for CCMI to continue to operate youth programs and offer scholarships to our youth.

At the research centre she is also involved in a project to mentoring several younger kids develop a presentation called Dangerous Creatures.

They are photographing the common creatures that could be encountered while in the water that have either chemical agents that are dangerous or that can cause physical harm to snorkelers and divers. Last week during the internship, Daniela participated in the Tropical Marine Conservation course as the first Caymanian to join a college level course offered by CCMI. Now with the Little Cayman Research Centre completed, CCMI will accept local students into the college courses offered during the summer.

College credit could be earned as well. Executive Council Member Nicoela McCoy said: ‘CCMI is providing important educational opportunities for our youth. Our goal is to improve the variety of science and technology offerings for Cayman youth. CCMI is providing training that is otherwise not available in the Cayman Islands and we are committed to becoming a leader in undergraduate and graduate education in the marine sciences in the region.’

Daniela is sponsored by a generous grant from the Southern Cross Club. Cayman Airways is the official flight carrier for the Central Caribbean Marine Institute and the Department of Tourism has provided additional support this year for improved laboratory equipment that will be used in teaching about the coral reefs of Cayman.