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A little bit about...

Work and graduate studies

At the moment, Wanda is currently doing her master's degree in Marine Sciences. Aside from the academia, she is also performing different tasks whilst being employed as an educator and as a field technician. Once she finishes up her graduate studies, she hopes to invest the majority of her time developing her newest initiative Little Women, Big Sharks, LLC working as the executive director and an educator of the company.   

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Sea Grant educators: Ángela Ferrá, Dr. Delmis Alicea (supervisor), Wanda Ortiz and Doris Rivera.
Sea Grant workshop held for high school students.

Efra Figueroa

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Sea Grant Puerto Rico

Wanda started working as a volunteer at the Sea Grant College Program of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez back in 2012. During her time as a volunteer she performed different tasks assisting at the printing office and former library of the program. She also attended several educational activities assisting the educators and learning from them before starting to become one herself.


Today, Wanda is a student employee of the program. In addition to working as an educator in training, she is a revisor of a series of fact sheets called Datos Marinos that were published back in the 80's when the program initiated operations in Puerto Rico. On the other hand, as an educator (in training), she works alongside her fellow colleagues/educators writing educational materials and offering talks, workshops and trainings to both school teachers and students from all ages about marine science topics. 


  • Delmis Alicea Segarra, PhD (Administrative Curriculum and Assessment Specialist)

  • Ruperto Chaparro Serrano, MS (Director)

Go to if you wish to learn more about Sea Grant Puerto Rico and what they do.

Field work

Wanda's preparation as both a graduate student and a scientist has allowed her to offer her skills, knowledge and experience as an independent contractor. Currently, Wanda is part of the Shark Watch team working as a technician for HJR Reefscaping and Isla Mar Research Expeditions, LLC.


  • Héctor J. Ruiz Torres, PhD (Executive Director)

  • Michelle T. Schärer Umpierre, PhD (Environmental Consultant)

Go to and to learn more about these companies and what they do. 

Dive in Desecheo Island.

Alan Alessi

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Adriana Pérez 

Little Women, Big Sharks presentation discussing the interaction between sharks and coral reefs.
Exhibition booth of Little Women, Big Sharks.

Adriana Pérez 

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Amanda Prieto

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Little Women, Big Sharks

Little Women, Big Sharks was created with much love and has been envisioned as Wanda's goal for a very long time. Here, as the founder and executive director, Wand gets to perform all kinds of different tasks.


This small education company creates hands-on and, most importantly, accessible resources about the sharks and rays of Puerto Rico. Essentially, these resources are intended for any educator, scientist and enthusiast that seeks to offer a learning experience to their students, peers and community about this group of fish. In the future, Little Women, Big Sharks aims to create and offer courses as well as workshop programs that provide experience, tools and knowledge about all things elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) for Puerto Rican female students who pursue to become scientists in this field. 

Go to if you wish to learn more about this company and what they do.


In the academic arena Wanda is a graduate student at the Department of Marine Sciences of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. She is currently wrapping up her master's degree in Biological Oceanography focusing her theoretical studies on the diversity and biology of the sharks of Puerto Rico.


Wanda's project entails creating informative and educational materials about the sharks of Puerto Rico in collaboration with Sea Grant College Program. These resources are addressed to the general public. However,  the information on these materials will aid scientists, stakeholders, management officers and policy-decision makers to make informed decisions about the sharks in local waters. Her prospective graduation date is December 2022. 

Committee supervisors

  • Juan J. Cruz Motta, PhD (Chairman)

  • Nikolaos Schizas, PhD (Member)

  • Edwin O. Rodríguez Class, PhD (Member Ad Honorem)

  • Ruperto Chaparro Serrano, MS (Member Ad Honorem)

Holding the Shark Biology and Conservation book.
Picture of Wanda that authors Dr. Daniel Abel and Dr. R. Dean Grubbs included in the Shark Biology and Conservation Book.
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