Amanda Di Perna

Amanda Di Perna

Fall 2023 Outstanding Graduate

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology

College: Honors College, College of Arts, Sciences and Education

Amanda Di Perna is determined to drive positive environmental change through research and advocacy. Her family moved to Miami from Montréal, Canada when Amanda was five years old. Here, she was able to explore The Everglades, swim along Florida’s coastlines, and windsurf across Biscayne Bay which made her fall in love with the South Florida ecosystem and led her to pursue a degree in marine biology.

Her journey at FIU began in 2020 as a fully online student due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But Amanda was determined to make the most of her experience. She became a volunteer for the Ocean Research and Conservation Association and for Coastal Connections — both non-profit organizations focused on ocean conservation and advocacy. She was also Outreach Director for FIU’s Surfrider Foundation Club coordinating bi-weekly coastal cleanups across Miami-Dade County. Today, she is the Surfrider Foundation Club president.

Under the guidance of biology professor Phillip Stoddard, Amanda’s undergraduate work focused on plastic pollution and its effects on marine organisms including the prevalence and effects of plastics in Florida. As president of the FIU Honors College’s Green Campus Initiative, she presented their findings to the Florida legislation to advocate for regulation of single-use plastics. She also championed the “Plastics if you Ask” campaign on campus. In 2022, Amanda was selected to serve as a Chef Andrew Scholar for Debris Free Oceans educating students across Miami-Dade and Broward counties on plastic pollution and advocating for sustainability at major events including the Ultra Music Festival.

Like her childhood role models, Drs. Sylvia Earle and Jane Goodall, Amanda will continue to explore roles that align with her passion for sustainability, ocean conservation and public engagement. She is determined to bridge the gap between science, policy, and communication.

By Ayleen Barbel Fattal 
Assistant Director, Marketing and Communications

College of Arts, Sciences & Education