Zora was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and grew up between her homes in Stonehurst, NS and St. Louis, MO. They were extremely different life styles and settings, but both played a part in pushing her towards the biological sciences. As a child, Zora could have lived in the St. Louis zoo. In Canada she had free range of a stretch of Atlantic coastline, and her own salt marshes to explore.
She attended Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. After a misguided attempt at doing pre-med in the hopes of becoming a veterinarian, Zora took an oceanography course and realized what she should have been doing all along. She quickly changed her major to marine and freshwater sciences and graduated with honors.
A research cruise completed as a student with Sea Education Association on the Robert C. Seamans confirmed her salt water addiction. While on board she completed a project on Pacific diatoms speciation. This led into a summer Fellowship and then an independent study involving Antarctic diatoms and silicoflagellates. Senior year she changed tack and completed her thesis on nucleoporins in sea urchins. All involved heavy microscope usage, something Zora enjoys.
At HPU Zora is focusing on marine plastics, a topic she was exposed to while sailing with SEA. In October 2012 she will be sailing with them again as volunteer crew while simultaneously gathering her data for her thesis. She will focus on visual surveys of plastic in the Pacific gyre and how they are reflected in pelagic fish like myctophids and flying fish. She works at NOAA’s Pacific Islands Regional Office as an international fisheries marine policy intern.
When not doing school work, Zora enjoys sailing, rowing, SCUBA, and theater.