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Casey Zender

B.S. Coastal Biology, University of North Florida (2016)

M.S. Biology, University of North Florida (Anticipated August 2019)


Academic Advisor

Liaison Majors: Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Statistics


I’ve been making Jacksonville my home since 2006, when I moved here from Largo, Florida. I have a fierce love for animals and I live with a small zoo of pets including a variety of reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, my beloved cat, Lily, and my zany green-cheek conure, Mako. I believe this love is the reason that I became so engrossed in science at a young age. I’m all about balancing my left and right brain, so my hobbies include reading, writing poetry, drawing/painting, and making music.


I have been a student at the University of North Florida (UNF) since 2012, where I earned my Bachelor of Science in Coastal Biology. I had the privilege of conducting research during my undergraduate career, where I focused on determining detoxification enzyme activity in deep water sharks five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. During this time I was also able to explore my artistic side by minoring in painting, drawing, and printmaking. I enjoyed taking a break from the world of science in my art classes. I learned a great deal about myself as an artist, and I even collaborated on a mural featured on campus at UNF!


I will soon be graduating with my Masters of Science in biology. My M.S. research explores non-traditional biomarkers of stress taken from the blood of sharks captured in both recreational and commercial fisheries. These biomarkers are used to determine the impact of stress on the shark during capture and also to predict a threshold of stress that will result in post-release mortality. During my time as a graduate student, I have had the opportunity to interact with students, provide advice based on my experiences, and push students towards their own research and academic goals. I accomplished this by instructing labs for General Biology I and II, assisting for the FIO: Field Marine Science course, and assisting with the summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates program (REU) in the biology department.


Through my experience working with students and teaching, I have developed a passion to help students grow and set goals for themselves in their academic endeavors. As an academic advisor, it is my goal to successfully guide students through their academic pursuits towards their future post-graduate programs and careers. If you have questions about getting involved in research opportunities, I’d be happy to help! I look forward to getting to know you!


Casey Zender