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Staff Bios

Meet The MEEC Staff

Derek Burkholder


Born and raised in Michigan, Derek spent a lot of his childhood exploring the woods and spending time on the water (though slightly less salty than he deals with now!).  He received his Bachelor’s degree from Albion College in 2004, and during that time was first introduced to the amazing world of marine research. Starting his work with sharks as a research scientist at Mote Marine Lab in the Florida Keys, Derek quickly expanded his research to include everything from sharks to sea turtles and even seagrass communities during his Ph.D. program at Florida International University, where he focused on the top-down control on seagrass communities.

At Nova Southeastern University, Derek is fortunate to work as the principal investigator for the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program, and a Research Scientist with the Guy Harvey Research Institute and Save Our Seas Shark Center. With the addition of the MEEC, Derek looks forward to working even more closely with students and the community to expand our understanding of sea turtles and our coastal marine ecosystems.

Derek's Favorites:

  1. Sandwich: Reuben
  2. Holiday Activity: Spending time with family and friends
  3. Color: Blue

Derek’s Hobbies:

  1. Hiking and camping
  2. Biking
  3. Swimming, diving, and snorkeling

Amy Hupp

Program Coordinator and Caretaker

Amy Hupp, also known as “Huppazoid”, “Huppcakes”, “Huppy” and “Aim” is originally from Clinton Township, Michigan. After graduating from Regina High School, she attended Albion College where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology in 2006. She completed an independent study looking at environmental and climatological factors affecting nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) mating, under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Carrier, while in attendance at Albion. Immediately after, she became a research assistant with the Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project and helped a fellow Albion graduate (before he was a "Dr." and now her supervisor), Dr. Derek Burkholder, with his PhD research. Following Australia, Amy moved to South Georgia and landed a role at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. She worked in both departments, education and research, before being hired full time as a Rehabilitation Technician. For nearly 8 years, Amy spent her days caring for sick and injured sea turtles that were mostly from Georgia and north Florida, but also from as far away as the Carolinas and New England.

 Amy’s Favorites:

  1. Sandwich: Peanut Butter and Banana
  2. Holiday Activity: Trimming the Tree
  3. Color: Green

 Amy’s Hobbies:

  1. Baking and finding new meal recipes
  2. Discovering good sales
  3. Being outside (any activity to enjoy the fresh air!)

Glenn Goodwin

Education Specialist

Though originally from the middle of Texas, Glenn has wanted to work with and study sea turtles since he was a child. To achieve this, he moved to South Florida in 2004 to begin his studies in Marine Biology at Florida International University. After a stint in medical information technology, he returned to the field of marine sciences and recently attained his Master’s degree from NSU. His project focused on the challenges and solutions of sea turtle conservation globally, and, through population modeling, looked at how conservation strategies are shaping the loggerhead population of the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. He plans to expand and develop more population models for sea turtles by delving into satellite tracking for his Ph.D.

Since coming to Nova, Glenn has also spent the past couple nesting seasons working the beaches with the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program. When peak season hits and the beach gets busy and hot, he’s well known for bursting into song in order to keep his fellow turtlers motivated (much to their chagrin).

Glenn is excited to share the wonders of South Florida’s coastal ecosystems with visitors through engaging public and educational programming at the MEEC. He hopes that visitors will leave the center instilled with a passion for sea turtles and a yearning to help conserve the natural world.

Glenn's Favorites:

  1. Sandwich: Steak and avocado
  2. Holiday Activity: Thanksgiving Meal
  3. Color: Brown

Glenn’s Hobbies:

  1. Learning about other fields of science
  2. Reading
  3. Trying to be fit
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