Renée Thibodeaux, Program Director
Two titles predominantly define Renee: a learner and an educator. These two titles are the tickets to her expanding view of the world. As a learner, she is driven to seek experience throughout the world that is rich with culture, diversity, and adventure. At a young age, she met the deserts of the southwest and has pursued their warm, red company headlong ever since, finding herself among their arches and canyon walls well into her adult years. She graduated from Prescott College in 2015 with a degree in Secondary Education and in Adventure Education. During her time at Prescott College, she discovered the driving force of an educator in her. She taught for several weeks in schools scattered throughout Arizona, eventually finding herself as a 9th grade physics teacher at a school in San Diego. Since graduating, she has continued to seek experience and adventure throughout the southwestern United States, taking the lessons she’s learned along the way and sharing them with students of all types in all parts of the world.
Justin Perry, Fleet Captain
Growing up in East Texas, “Perry” was a land-lubber and had never been diving or sailing before he joined us. After working with Sail Caribbean, he fell in love with what he does in the Caribbean and decided to trade his wranglers and cowboy boots for swim trunks and fins. Being a “Jack of all trades” makes his position as a Fleet Captain, coordinating fleet logistics and maintaining boat mechanics, a lot easier. Perry sees working on boats and being on the water a perk rather than a job.
Alex Polli, Captain of Venture, Medical Officer
Alex just graduated from Penn State University in May with a degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Development. She sailed for the Penn State Sailing team for all four years and served as Commodore in 2015. Having lived on the water all her life, Alex grew up sailing since she was 7 and attended Sail Caribbean as a student from 2008 until 2012. She hopes to attend graduate school in the near future to attain a Master’s Degree in School Counseling after of course sailing and traveling more!
Alyssa Fabyan, Captain of Galilee
Growing up in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA, Alyssa began sailing at the age of six. She has always loved the sea. She graduated from Roger Williams University in 2015 with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology. Since then, Alyssa has spent the past year getting her USCG Captain’s License, teaching English in Thailand, and backpacking through Southeast Asia. She is wicked excited to spend another summer in the Caribbean with the most amazing people and her favorite boat snack: mango jam with cream cheese and crackers!
Aoife Smeaton, Mate of Venture
Aoife graduated from University College of Dublin in 2014 with a degree in Zoology. Aoife spends most of her time surrounded by as many four-legged friends as possible. Her passions are animal and human behavior, development, and learning. She spends her time working as a dog trainer, teaching puppy classes and helping people understand their canine family members. She also spends time working with socialized foxes and wolves at an education and research center in Indiana.
Lauren Rowsey, Mate of Galilee
Lauren is starting her fourth year this fall at the University of Texas at Austin studying Marine and Freshwater Science with a minor in Russian and Eastern European Studies. Lauren has loved the ocean since infancy after spending summer vacations and every free weekend on the coast, either in Texas or California with family. During her undergraduate career, she has worked in two research labs, studied fish behavior in Mexico, and interned at SEACAMP San Diego. Lauren found her passion for marine science as a student at SEACAMP, and hopes to pass on that excitement to future students at Sail Caribbean.
Natalie Cibel, Provisions Manager
Natalie grew up in Washington, D.C. and currently attends the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Oceanography. Currently, she is a proud member of the UNCW sailing team, travelling to different schools along the east coast to compete in regattas. Natalie was a Sail Caribbean student for our Foxtrot adventure and won “Most Likely to be Best Chef” aboard Geneva (her crew’s catamaran).
The greatest challenge during the program was staying entertained during the quarantine period. Not being able to leave your boat and not having a phone, which was a crutch against boredom, it was difficult at first to stay entertained.