Suraida Nañez-James

Suraida Nañez-James is the CEO and Founder for the Gulf Reach Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and an international leader uniting the Gulf of Mexico through education, health and advocacy with a focus on youth and underrepresented communities. She is also a contractor with Groundswells where she works with NOAA Ocean Exploration on K-12 education and outreach initiatives across the nation.

Nañez-James has been in the field of marine science and STEM education for more than 20 years working in academia, for nonprofits, the Texas State Aquarium and schools. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Fisheries from Texas A&M University at Galveston and a Master of Science from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi with a focus on marine fisheries and ecological research. She has sailed on the R/V JOIDES Resolution with IODP and the R/V Falkor with the Schmidt Ocean Institute plus other expeditions with the Flower Garden Banks NMS as the science communication and education lead officer. She has facilitated and contributed to the National Ocean Exploration Forum and Ocean Exploration: Blueprint 2032 and currently serves on the Education and Engagement Steering Committee for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. She has a passion for giving back to her community, especially working with Latino/a/BIPOC youth, science communication work and environmental justice and climate issues. Her love and expertise of the ocean and STEM make for a perfect combination to inspire the next generation of scientists and ocean advocates. She loves spending time with her family, going to the beach, hiking/running and traveling.