"As a scientist, I know one of my most important jobs is not just being in the lab - it’s going out into the community, sharing what I learn with others and translating science.
Samantha (sam) Athey, phd
Education & Outreach Coordinator
Areas of Expertise
Sam received her B.S. with honors and M.Sc. in Marine Science from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she conducted research in collaboration with the Plastic Ocean Project on microplastic ingestion in marine species. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto on the sources and environmental fate of microplastics and microfibers in Canadian aquatic environments.
Sam first started as a volunteer with POP in 2015 and quickly became the founding president of the first chapter of the Plastic Ocean Project, UNCW POP. During her tenure as UNCW POP president, she served as campaign director for the Hope Spot: Hatteras initiative (Hope Spot status awarded in fall 2016) and helped design the Ocean Friendly Establishment initiative in collaboration with other community leaders.
For her efforts expanding POP's mission within the Wilmington community, she was awarded Lumina News Person of the Year in 2015. Since then, she has served on the Board of Directors (2016-2018) as Director of Chapters & Ambassadors.
Sam currently serves as the Education & Outreach Coordinator at the Plastic Ocean Project, where she leads outreach events within the community and develops marine debris education programming for a wide audience.