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Carmelita Villalobos

Carmelita Villalobos, M.S.

Response & Outreach Coordinator, Hawaiʻi Operations

Carmelita Villalobos first joined the Center in September 2020 as a Response Dispatcher Intern based in Kona, Hawaiʻi. Following her internship, she was hired full-time as a Response Dispatcher for Hawaiʻi Operations, answering the hotline for reporting Hawaiian monk seal sightings on Hawaiʻi Island and coordinating volunteer response out to those animals. She loves going out into the field with new volunteers and getting them excited about being part of The Marine Mammal Center team.

Carmelita earned her bachelor’s degree in biology with a health sciences concentration at Dominican University near Chicago, where she was awarded a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Grant. Her love of the ocean and conservation began as a volunteer at The Shedd Aquarium, where she was an exhibit interpreter. That role inspired her to move to Hawaiʻi to get her master’s degree in conservation biology.

During her time in graduate school, Carmelita worked at ʻImiloa Astronomy Center as a teaching assistant facilitating place-based science activities for elementary school students and at The Center for Community Engagement, where she created and implemented STEM-based activities for middle-school students. 

In her free time, Carmelita loves to go diving and on long hikes with her partner, or she can be found running races around the islands.

Areas of Expertise

  • Conservation
  • Community Outreach
  • Volunteer Onboarding
  • Dispatch & Response