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The MaST Team


Rus Higley
Manager, Instructor of Life, Ocean and General Science Department at Highline College

Rus has worked as Manager at the Marine Science and Technology Center since its opening in 2003. He is a native Alaskan, but grew up in Des Moines and graduated from Western Washington University with a B.S. in Marine Biology. He then went on to get his M.S. in Curriculum & Instruction from Old Dominion, and Master of Marine Affairs from the University of Washington. As well as managing the MaST Center, Rus also teaches classes at Highline College in Marine Biology, Environmental Sciences and Oceanography.  When not teaching, or overseeing operations at the MaST Center, Rus enjoys spending time in the water as he is a certified SCUBA master diver and river rafting tour guide. Rus is an essential component to our team as he makes sure everyone's needs are taken care of, and all processes in the building are running efficiently. Rus' favorite marine creature is Eumicotremus orbis (Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker).

Matt Wilson
Aquarist, Supervisor

Matt is a life-long Washingtonian, and has been involved in the MaST for almost 5 years. He dedicated over 2,300  volunteer hours before being hired at the MaST Center as the Lead Biologist. After volunteering with the Arroyo Gray Whale in 2011 Matt became a regular around the Center. With help from MaST Alumni Bri Gabel, Matt quickly became our go-to-guy on the Jelly Team, but now spends most of his time taking care of the 200+ species in our aquarium. He has an Associates in Biology at Highline College, and continues to put in his free time to assist with the jellyfish program. Matt oversees all aspects of the aquarium, manages the tanks and pumps, medicates ill critters and serves as a role model for our volunteers. Matt's favorite marine creature is the Cyanea capillata (Lion's Mane Jellyfish).

Lindsay Holladay
Education Coordinator

Lindsay is thrilled to bring her diverse background in science education to the MaST Center. In the past she has mentored students for BioQuest Academy and Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, taught middle and high school biology, chemistry, and anatomy, and spent a summer instructing art classes in Sierra Leone. Currently, she coordinates educational programming at the MaST Center and works as a Marine Science Interpreter at Seattle Aquarium. Lindsay graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a degree in biology and chemistry and completed her Masters in Science Teaching at the University of Washington. She is a part-time science illustrator, rescue certified scuba diver, and 2016 Nautilus Ambassador for the Ocean Exploration Trust. In her free time, Lindsay is outside: snowshoeing in the winter, backpacking in the summer, and rock climbing and scuba diving year round. Her favorite marine creature is the Cetorhinus maximus (Basking Shark) and if she ever has the chance to dive with one in the wild, her life will be complete.

Bri Gabel
Laboratory Technician

Bri has worked closely with the MaST Center since 2011 when she started as a Student Biologist working to build up the new jellyfish aquaculture system and assembling the Arroyo Gray Whale. After completing her Associates at Highline, she moved to Hawaii where she received her Bachelor’s in Biology from Brigham Young University. While there, she worked rebuilding the University’s Marine Wet Lab and partnering with the BYUH’s Natural History Museum to start a fish skeleton collection as well as gathering and preparing other marine specimens from around the Pacific for ongoing research projects. Since graduating, Bri has returned to Washington, where she once again became involved in the MaST as the Laboratory Technician and Jelly Team Lead. At the MaST, Bri can be found in the lab organizing materials for college classes, teaching laboratory techniques and expanding the MaST’s specimen collection for both class use and public display. During her free time, Bri enjoys SCUBA diving and ‘mushroaming’ in her backyard in Snoqualmie Pass. Bri’s favorite marine creatures are frogfishes (Family: Antennariidae).


Katy Kachmarik
AmeriCorps Service Member, Citizen Science and Volunteer Coordinator


Katy is excited to learn more about all things Puget Sound related! Originally from northern Indiana, she spent the last 5 years in Oregon where she graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a B.S. in Marine Biology. During her time at Oregon she interned with the Manatee Research Department at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Florida as well as doing research in Ireland on invertebrate communities in Europe’s first marine protected area. She also was an undergraduate TA and tutor for the biology department where she discovered a love for teaching and inspiring ocean conservation and biological research. At the MaST Center, she manages the Marine Mammal Stranding Team, the Jelly Team, the Nudibranch Team, and Discovery Day volunteers. Her favorite marine creatures are the sunflower sea star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) and beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas).

Kayla Grattan
AmeriCorps Service Member, Education and Outreach Coordinator

Kayla was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  A lifelong lover of the water and everything in it, it has always been her dream to study, live near, and work with the ocean.  She earned her B.S. in Environmental Studies & Sustainability from Michigan State University in the spring of 2016, and has since moved to the Seattle area to serve at the MaST Center.  At the MaST, she coordinates education programs and outreach events to schools and organizations in the community.  As a MaST volunteer and Ambassador for the 5 Gyres Institute, she enjoys helping to foster a meaningful connection between people and the ocean, as we are all ultimately part of the same system.  She hopes to one day settle into a career in the areas of marine and environmental conservation, education, and policy.  When not at the MaST, she can be found perusing nature trails,  beach combing, or hanging out in the city.  Her favorite marine creature is the reef manta ray (manta birostris), and it is at the top of her bucket list to see them in the wild.