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Meet the Judges
Who picks the winning entries to the G7 Oceans Youth Innovation Challenge? Let's find out.
Posted on June 27, 2018
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Ocean Wise is proud to announce the judges for the G7 Oceans Youth Innovation Challenge. Youth aged 18 to 25 from the seven G7 countries submitted proposals for protecting the ocean and saving the environment, while the judges will review and select the two winners. The judges are passionate youth leaders doing amazing things for our oceans.

So, without further ado, let’s meet the judges:

Jasveen Brar (Canada)

Jasveen Brar’s mission to empower youth through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) shines through her volunteer work. Inspired by her National Science Fair experiences, Brar founded Operation Lab Coats and Beakers,a program that provides mentorship to youth and helped overcome obstacles surrounding participation in science fairs. She has held many positions in the science fair world, from co-director of the Halifax Sci-Tech Expo to content creator for Youth Science Canada. Brar’s focus on STEM literacy is complemented by her passion for environmental sustainability and ocean conservation. Inspired by her expeditions with Students on Ice to Antarctica and the Arctic, Brar has made strides as an environmental leader both in her community and globally. From organizing Halifax’s first Our Poles Our Planet environmental conference, to presenting global resiliency projects at the UN Headquarters and representing Canada at the Pacific Climate Change Conference, Brar is creating a lasting positive impact. Currently, she is working with Ocean Bridge, connecting and empowering youth across Canada to make a difference towards ocean conservation. For her efforts she has been named one of Alberta’s Top 30 Under 30, is a recipient of The Sovereigns Medal for Volunteers and was featured in the children’s book “The Power of YOUth”.

Sandrine Serre (France)

Sandrine Serre is a life sciences engineer who specializes in the marine environment. She’s interested in linking research and policy and currently she works on marine trophic networks under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) with the EU.

As the scientific officer for D4 (“marine food webs”) under the MSFD at the marine station in Endoume (Marseille, France), Sandrine works on the evaluation and monitoring of marine food webs ecological status in collaboration with research institutes, environmental organisations and environmental managers. She  contributes to indicators development, permanent scientific and technical monitoring, working groups of researchers from France and abroad, and decision support.

Prior to the MSFD, she studied aquatic ecosystems with a focus on marine ecosystems in Norway and worked on plankton in a Danish research lab. She then monitored cetaceans and seabirds and other marine species in the Mediterranean Sea with EcoOcéan Institut.

Tom Vierus (Germany)

Tom Vierus is a photographer, filmmaker and marine biologist. Working as a photographer for more than 10 years, Tom’s background as a marine biologist is a strong asset in his his visual storytelling and opening up new perspectives. Along with his strong interest in science and particularly shark ecology and biology, Tom dedicated himself to photography and video specializing in wildlife, nature, and underwater imagery. A large part of his work is dedicated to science communication to help scientists and institutes tell their story to the public. Tom has documented scientific projects and expeditions in Germany, the Republic of Fiji and the Solomon Islands and works on a regular basis with the Center for Tropical Marine Research in Bremen, Germany. https://www.tomvierus.com

Mariasole Bianco (Italy)

Mariasole Bianco is an expert in marine conservation and acts as a national and international consultant for policies related to the protection and conservation of the marine environment, sustainable development and young professionals’ empowerment. Mariasole has the global honorary role as Young Professionals Vice Chair for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas. She has been involved in the organization of the major international conferences related to nature conservation (IUCN World Conservation Congress, IUCN World Parks Congress, International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC4) among others) and she has also become a point of reference for the involvement and engagement of young professionals and a strong promoter of the importance of inter-generational knowledge sharing and cooperation. Mariasole is the Founder and President of Worldrise, an Italian non-profit organisation entirely run by young professionals that creates marine conservation projects while professionally empowering the next generations of conservation leaders.

Lauren Gibson (United States)

Photo Credit: Dylan McDowell

Lauren Gibson is a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Education, where she supports the office’s congressional activities and youth engagement initiatives. She comes to NOAA from Stanford University where she earned an M.A. in environmental communication and education as well as a B.S. in Earth systems. Her passion for youth empowerment began in middle school when she first heard Dr. Jane Goodall speak about the power of young people. By the following year, Lauren had founded a non-profit called the Carmel Green Teen Micro-Grant Program. This by-youth, for-youth program provides students in central Indiana with the funding and mentorship they need to lead environmental projects of their own design within their own communities. Whenever possible, she speaks publicly about young people’s ability to make a difference. She has spoken alongside Dr. Goodall on several occasions as well as to visiting policymakers, including past Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

To see the applicants, check out #myoceans2050 on Twitter and keep an eye out for when we announce the winners in mid-July, 2018.


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