Carrie Chen

Director of Education and Conservation

Carrie Chen is bay.org’s Director of Education and Conservation. As a leader within the rapidly expanding bay.org organization, Carrie brings 20+ years of experience working with aquatic and informal science education organizations around the country and a passion for connecting all audiences with the wonders of nature. Carrie joined Aquarium of the Bay in 2004, and now provides leadership for all of bay.org’s interpretive programs, K-12 student and teacher programs, fee-based youth programs, and sustainability initiatives – along with supporting fundraising efforts, staff training, professional development, evaluation, and other related projects. This includes providing leadership for educational staff and programs at Aquarium of the Bay, the Sea Lion Center, and the EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park. She is also very active within the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), as the former chair Conservation Education Committee, leading the Association’s professional development course for Conservation Education Effective Program Design, and as a current member of the Association’s Annual Conference Program Committee. Prior to joining Aquarium of the Bay, Carrie graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a degree in Biology and spent many years “island hopping” and developing her skills and passion in marine science education before relocating the Bay Area in 1999 to pursue her Master’s Degree in Environmental Education from California State University at Hayward.

Susie Wasserstrom

EcoCenter Manager

Susie joined the EcoCenter team in January 2015. In her role as EcoCenter Manager, she is responsible for providing leadership for staff, public programs, K-12 programs, partnerships, and community engagement efforts. Early in her career, Susie helped to establish Nameless Sound, a Houston-based nonprofit dedicated to connecting international artists with underserved young people in public schools, community centers, and homeless shelters. After years in the arts education field, Susie’s passion shifted towards helping to secure high-quality science education for all learners, regardless of socioeconomic background. Through this work, she has found that a key piece of making science curriculum relevant to almost any community of learners is connecting the dots between environmental justice, ecological stewardship, and people’s own daily lives. Seeing the EcoCenter as the perfect embodiment of this connection, Susie’s goal is to increase access to environmental science education in the Bayview Hunters Point community and beyond.

Pia Loft

EcoCenter Coordinator

Pia joined bay.org in Spring 2014 and is fulfilling her passion for promoting environmental literacy and sustainable practice by developing and delivering both public and K-12 programs. With a B.S. in Ecology and Evolution and an M.A. in Museum Studies, Pia is excited about applying her vocation for ecology, conservation, and informal education to the EcoCenter mission.

Heather Ussery-Knight

EcoCenter Supervisor

Heather began her career in the world of psychology, a field she worked in for 15 years. Although finding psychology to be very important, she made a major career shift towards ecology and environmental science.  Heather started at the EcoCenter in September 2014 where she now assists with overall building operations, conducts tours and youth education programs, and supervises interns.

Sonny Lawrence Alea

EcoCenter Naturalist

Sonny joined the EcoCenter staff in August 2015 after a year-long environmental internship with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department’s Youth Stewardship Program sparked his interest in working with youth through environmental education. With a B.A. in Environmental Studies, Sonny is passionate about social justice and human rights.

Charles Laws

EcoCenter Naturalist

Charles became an EcoCenter staff member in July 2013 after contributing as a full-time EcoCenter volunteer for almost a year while simultaneously completing the Bridge to Bioscience program at City College of San Francisco. He is passionate about educating the public to help individuals reduce their ecological footprint, as well as creating community awareness, accountability, and ownership of the Bayview Hunters Point section of San Francisco’s wetland ecosystem. Charles focuses his work on environmental monitoring of the onsite wastewater treatment system and constructed wetland.