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About Us

Our Mission

The Gulf Reach Institute meets the educational and professional needs of underserved and underrepresented populations of learners and professionals through innovative and inclusive STEM, Health, and Advocacy programming focused on the Gulf of Mexico and our oceans.

Our Team


Chief Executive Officer & Founder

Suraida Nañez-James is the Founder and CEO of the Gulf Reach Institute. She is a marine ecologist, a STEMpreneur, an ocean lover, a mother, and a wife. The Gulf of Mexico is her home and her community. Her passion for STEM education and science communication has lead to over 18 years of experience directing and developing education programming, serving as a communication and media lead on ocean exploration expeditions, as well as studying the ecology and culture of the Gulf. Suraida also serves on several boards and committees focused on STEM education and diversity and equity in ocean sciences. She focuses much of her efforts in educating communities on the ecology, economy, and inclusive culture of the Gulf. She loves being outdoors, spending time with her family, and teaching everyone about the ocean.

Co-founder & Director of Communications

Jasmine Sarabia is currently the Content Manager at Community First Health Plans (University Health System). In this role, Ms. Sarabia leads the digital growth strategy, identifying market opportunity while collaborating on the production of a broad range of content including content strategy plans, email marketing campaigns, social media and website content. She serves as the Director of Communications for Gulf Reach. Jasmine is passionate about working with non-profits and start-ups that serve underrepresented and underserved communities. She aspires to use her experience in Digital Marketing to apply new technologies, such as integrated marketing, social media, and email marketing to drive organizational effectiveness and competitive differentiation. She has a passion for the environment, digital photography, and travel.

Board of Directors Member – Co-Director of Youth Engagement/Co-Founder of GOMYCS

Armon Alex is a science communicator, an ocean conservationist, and a TEDx speaker from Corpus Christi, TX. He is currently a Science Communication and Public Relations major at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. For 10 years, Armon has gained experience working and leading environmental and conservation non-profits. He currently serves as the City of Corpus Christi’s Vice-Chair for the Mayor’s Environmental Task Force, is the Co-Founder for the Gulf of Mexico Youth Climate Summit (GOMYCS), and is the youngest Board of Directors member for EarthEcho International. Armon is determined to develop the importance of climate action and the preservation of the Gulf of Mexico habitats and waters through education and advocacy.

Board of Directors Member – Co-Director of Youth Engagement/Co-Founder GOMYCS

Maggie Peacock is an ocean conservationist,
climate activist, and an Environmental and Political Science and History major at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Maggie is passionate about advocating for youth involvement in climate change issues and making sure that young people have a seat at the decision making table. This focus inspired her to become the Co-Founder of the Gulf of Mexico Youth Climate Summit (GOMYCS). Maggie is also an Inland Ocean Coalition Ambassador, TEDx speaker, and Earth Echo Youth Leadership Council member, where she does advocacy work for ocean-climate policy locally and internationally.

“I hope for your help to explore and protect the wild ocean in ways that will restore the health and, in so doing, secure hope for humankind. Health to the ocean means health for us.”

Sylvia Earle

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