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Black Sea Young Ambassador Programme



Meet the 2nd Cohort of the Black Sea Young Ambassadors 2023-2025

Aliona Isac

I'm a Master's student in Natural Sciences (Environmental Protection). I enjoy more than 6 years of solid experience in fields related to water resources. I am a hydrologist in the State Hydrometeorological Service. I have been an active volunteer for more than 5 years, I am a member and Coordinator of the Climate Actions and Environmental Protection Department of the National Youth Council of Moldova. In 2021 I became Ambassador for Global Goals. I did my thesis about the alluvium runoff in transboundary rivers in the Republic of Moldova and the existing hydrological monitoring system. I am also the co-author of The Hydro-Morphological Assessment Report of the Republic of Moldova.

Mısra Kolaç

To teach people the beauty of science, I preferred science teaching as a bachelor's degree. After successfully graduating from this department in 2021, I realized that I could not stay away from the sea and that I had to work on marine sciences somehow. In the same year, I enrolled in the living marine resources master's degree program at Dokuz Eylul University, Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology. The term "ocean literacy", which I was introduced to at that time, allowed me to combine my studies. I am currently working on a project related to ocean literacy. At the same time, I am working on hydrozoa taxonomy for my thesis. My favourite thing to do is diving. Experiencing the underwater world and ecosystem by diving fascinates me more and more each time.

Remina Aleksieva

I am a young policy professional interested in environmental matters, energy and climate policy, law and behavioural science. During my BSc in Psychology, I was exposed to research insights on human cooperation and environmental beliefs. I pursued MSc in International Public Policy and became interested in scrutinising the nodes between behavioural science and policy-making. I took part in behavioural science research projects on sustainable behaviour, collective action and environmental policy, and worked on projects investigating the role of climate change media framing on environmental attitudes. I engaged in local-led sustainable development solutions with a research project exploring the socio-economic, urban and legal barriers and development enablers.

Mirela Paraschiv

I am a PhD geographer and territorial planner working as a lecturer at the Ovidius University of Constanța. My current research and educational work focus on the territorial sustainable development of coastal areas in Romania within participatory governance and community engagement. My activities in Constanța brings together the professional community of geographers, biology, ecology, and urban planners professionals. I am constantly involved in international research or educational projects (Horizon, Erasmus+), and my recent achievement about the Black Sea was to support the establishment of the Ovidius SDG Student Hub within our University, as part of the SDSN Youth Black Sea network, aiming to promote, to raise awareness and to take actions for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Marika Makharadze

I Ireceived my bachelor’s degree in biology/ecology and master's degree in hydrobiology from Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University. I work as an ichthyologist in the National Environment Agency of Georgia, Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Water Biodiversity. My main responsibility is the determination of growth and age indicators of the main Black Sea commercial fish, the study of fish otoliths in order to determine their age. I am also participating in the monitoring of stranded marine mammals along the Black Sea coast of Georgia. Along with scientific activity, sport plays an important role in my life. I was a member of the Georgian archery team, the champion of Georgia among youths. Therefore, it is very important for me to have a goal and achieve it. My main goal now is a healthy and sustainable future for the Black Sea.

Danut-Alexandru Dumitru

I am an analysis engineer at Bosch in Cluj, Romania and currently enrolled in the master program “Biophysics and Medical Physics" at the Babes-Bolyai University. I began my scientific research during my undergrad program at the Faculty of Physics, BBU, where I made my scientific debut with the goal of raising awareness about the importance of marine environment molecular resources and their sustainable valorisation. Through my research, I learned analytical techniques for molecular physics, which I then applied to determine the chemical content of biomaterials currently considered marine waste and their contribution to the blue bioeconomy. My current research at BBU's Raman-AFM lab focuses on developing new added-value products with biomedical applications.

Nicoleta-Alexandra Damir

After I graduated from the Faculty of Physics, Chemistry, Electronics and Petroleum Technology, Ovidius University, Constanta, Romania. I took my master degree in Chemistry and Quality Management of Consumer Products and Environment, at Ovidius University, Constanța. I completed my PhD in Food Engineering, “Dunărea de Jos”, University of Galați, Doctoral School of Fundamental and Engineering Sciences. I have been working for more than 7 years at National Institute for Marine Research and Development “Grigore Antipa”, Constanța, Romania. My activity sector is related to marine pollution and chemical oceanography within Chemical Oceanography and Marine Pollution Department. I am also an environmental expert in the marine research sector and involved in different projects aiming and monitoring the quality of the Black Sea ecosystems (seawater, marine sediment and biota).

Bükem Belen

I earned a BSc degree in Physics and a MSc degree in Earth System Science. I am now continuing my PhD in the field of Oceanography at METU Institute of Marine Sciences. I am curious about the dynamics of oceans, their evolution in relation to the atmosphere and climate processes, and the effect it has on life. Looking deeper into the impacts of the changing climate, understanding its history and modelling its future motivates me. I have a great interest in the environmental problems on Earth and a passion for a sustainable world. This interest of mine has made me be a part of environmental campaigns such as encouraging recycling, composting at home and raising awareness of the serious climate issues. I am also one of the Climate Ambassadors of Turkey, representing my university. We, as climate ambassadors, want to raise awareness of the climate crisis in society.

Tatiana Sitchinava

I am a PhD student at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. I hold a Master’s degree with honours in Human Geography. Currently, I am working at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. For the last three years, I have been researching tourism, migration and the social environment in Batumi, Ajara the Black Sea region. I have won a PhD research grant from the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation (2021), and have received Tbilisi City Hall and Georgian State scholarships. I am a member of WEMov Women on the move - an international network founded by Cost. As a researcher, I focus on tourism, social relations and migration.

Angela Goncaer

Hey (with the intention to have an impact on the Black Sea with you) I’m on my path to becoming a seafarer, being a 3rd-year student at Maritime University and onboard the container vessels as a cadet. Half of my life will be in the oceans and seas; thus, half of my soul belongs to it. Another half is bound to volunteering activities which have the power to connect different people for a common cause, so my free time is mostly dedicated to this – the most recent one being volunteering in France via European Solidarity Corp.

Nikola Bobchev

I am a dreamer, a passionate optimist, permanently smiling, loving the sea. I believe that actions and positive examples make our environment a better place. I graduated in Applied Geography and specialized in Waste Management and Ecology at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. My Bachelor's and Master's thesis are based on the determination of marine litter and microplastic pollution in the Black Sea. Protection of the Black Sea is a personal cause that I have started in 2017 by creating the blog of LessPlastic Bulgaria. Since 2020 I have been part of the Marine Ecology Laboratory in Sozopol, at the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. As a researcher, I analyse microplastic pollution and do marine litter monitoring in the Black Sea.

Kalina Karadimova

I’m a final year student at University of Plymouth, England, specializing in BSc Marine Biology with Oceanography. Its extensive program has broadened my knowledge of the sea with topics such as ‘MPA management and policies, Ecotoxicology, Physical, Chemical and Biological Oceanography, coastal dynamics, and many more. During my placement year, I gained an understanding of how NGOs operate, developed social media, research, education, and outreach (by presenting to kids and local villagers), and fundraising skills. I saw the ins and outs of an Oceanology institute and gained lab experience. I am already an Ambassador for Bulgaria for the Surfrider Foundation Europe organization and can’t wait to see what both these positions will teach me. 

Elena Bisinicu

I am working as a scientific researcher on zooplankton at National Institute for Marine Research and Development Grigore Antipa, Romania. I have an experience of seven years in this research field and this year I finished my PhD which deals with the importance of zooplankton in pelagic fish diet. I am knowledgeable in general biology, ecology, and the identification of zooplankton species. My research focuses on zooplankton diversity, sampling collection and analysis, preparation of environmental assessments using datasets, development of appropriate planktonic indicators, and reports writing for governmental bodies and companies. I am aware of the power of combining field, lab, and studies to deliver a mechanistic understanding of the ecosystem drivers.

Anastasiya Laznya

I am a PhD candidate at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) investigating marine ecosystem resilience in the Black Sea. As part of the BRIDGE-Black Sea project, I conduct holistic resilience assessments, focusing on human-made effects in data-poor cases. Before starting as a PhD candidate, I worked with marine ecosystems in the EU, establishing the nature and extent of human activities in marine protected areas (MPAs). I am a graduate of the interdisciplinary Masters in Marine Biological Resources, specializing in global ocean changes, and I hold a BSc in Ecology and Conservation from Kyiv Mohyla Academy. During my Bachelor’s degree, I studied the Northern Black Sea ecosystem along with its characteristics and bio-economic challenges, with a research focus on developing green businesses in the region.

İlayda Destan Öztürk

I am a marine biologist, I earned my master's degree at the Marine Biology and Fisheries Department in the METU, Institute of Marine Sciences. I am recently a Ph. D. candidate and a Research Assistant at the Istanbul University, Institute of Marine Science and Management. My research focused on the optical properties of seawater, primary production, and ecosystem health. I am also a Marine Conservation Expert at the Turkish Marine Research Foundation, carrying out a national jellyfish monitoring program (YaYakarsa?). I worked on different citizen science projects. Being a marine biologist was a dream since my childhood, and I am very happy that I will be able to use my professionality for a better and healthier Black Sea.

Mentors from the 1st Cohort of the Black Sea Young Ambassadors

Elena Culighin

I am Program Manager within the NGO National Environmental Centre since 2018 and a scientific researcher at the Institute of Chemistry since 2015 where I am working towards the PhD thesis. My activities aim at developing the environmental education among the population, raising awareness and mobilizing all citizens, as a joint effort of all the actors of society (civil society, public authorities, business community, educational institutions, mass media, citizens) to restore natural balance and to tackle the path of sustainable and prosperous development.

Selma Menabit

I graduated the Faculty of Biology of Ovidius University Constanta, Romania. I have a Master Degree in Biodiversity Conservation. I have been working for more than 3 years as a biologist at the National Institute of Marine Geology and Geo-Ecology GeoEcoMar, Constanta branch. I’m involved in different projects aiming at monitoring and managing the quality of the Black Sea ecosystems.

Oana Poiană

I work as a (postdoctoral) scientific researcher at the European Research Institute Faculty of European Studies, "Babeș-Bolyai" University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. I graduated from the Faculty of Political Science, BBU, hold one MA in International Relations from Central European University (Budapest), and another one in European Affairs and Project Management from Faculty of European Studies (Cluj-Napoca).

Salome Kobaidze

I am a PhD student at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU). I have a Degree of Master of Social Sciences in Human Geography 2012-2015 and Degree of Bachelor of Social Sciences in Human Geography 2008-2012 from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi (Georgia) Faculty of Social and Political Sciences. She is the Director of Algeti National Park Friends Association since 2017.

Gizem Akkus

I earned my bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences at Middle East Technical University and my master's degree at the Marine Biology and Fisheries Department in the METU, Institute of Marine Sciences. I am recently a Ph. D. candidate in the same department and I am a Research Assistant at METU-IMS Oceanography Department since 2017.

Sofia Sadogurska

I am a marine biologist and PhD Student at the M.G. Kholodny Institute of Botany NASU. My research interest on the Black Sea marine algae has been started in high school and continued until now. I’ve got my Master Degree from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. In addition, I completed courses on environmental management in Germany (CIPSEM, Dresden) and Israel (Arava Institute), as well as a course on maritime policy from the International Ocean Institute (Malta).

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