Welcome New Staff Members!
Ambassador Animal Aquarist
Originally from Chicago, Claire D'Agostino is a graduate of the University of Tampa and received a B.S. in Environmental Science with a minor in Sustainability, as well as her scuba certification. Before joining the National Shell Museum, Claire had previous experience at The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and SeaWorld in Orlando, as both an aquarist and maintenance diver. In her new role at the National Shell Museum, Claire will educate the public about the animals on exhibit in addition to caring for them and maintaining the aquarium systems.
Throughout her career she has contributed to the health and wellness of a wide range of animals from invertebrates to cetaceans and has an extensive shark tooth collection from years of aquarium diving. Claire is passionate about being a kind human to animals and hopes to share that same passion with everyone she meets. Away from the field, Claire enjoys video games, caring for her home aquarium, and being a cat mom to Theo and Remy.
Born and raised in Illinois, Jessie Macaluso was always excited about marine and coastal wildlife, but never imagined she’d be able to experience it firsthand. Jessie graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 with degrees in Biology and Anthropology and moved to California shortly after. It was there that she first discovered her favorite mollusk in the tide pools of San Pedro - the California Sea Hare!
Jessie has held a range of positions, including calibrating breath-alcohol instruments for law enforcement, analyzing air samples for pollutants, and assisting in the production of viral vectors for research. Prior to being hired at the National Shell Museum, she spent the summer as a shorebird monitoring intern for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, where she became familiar and enamored with the islands’ ecosystem. She is so glad to be able to continue working on Sanibel and learn even more about the amazing animals that call it home.