Most of Gianna´s memories seem to be dreams, made on flawless white sandy beaches with black lava rock contours and gorgeous turquoise ocean waters. Most of it happened while barefoot, in an enchanting place that some people regard as an ideal natural laboratory, the Galápagos Islands. For her it was home. Gianna grew up going to the beach nearly every day, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, playing with wild flowers, having sea lions steal her ice cream, observing marine iguanas, and identifying invertebrates. The latter was by no means technically accurate—she dubbed each new discovery with its own made-up scientific name. At some point during those early years, being an observer became an innate ability and she knew she wanted to be a biologist.
Gianna got a scholarship to study biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and became the first person in her family to obtain a university degree. As a biologist she has worked for the Hawaii National Park, the Internships for Nanosystems, Science, Engineering and Technology (INSET), UCSB, Santa Barbara City College (SBCC), Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER), the California Ty Warner Sea Center, the Charles Darwin Foundation, and the Ecuadorian Marine and Coastal Environmental Ministry. Her love for the ocean and sports led her to become the first female Ecuadorian freediving instructor and founder of the Galápagos Freediving Project, effectively introducing freediving to the Galápagos. She now lives in her hometown of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. She feels like she´s found a dream job showing and teaching people about her beloved islands. As she navigates the Galápagos Marine Reserve with the Lindblad-National Geographic family, Gianna continues to pursue her dream of opening an environmental education foundation for the children of Puerto Ayora.
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