Kent Sierra- Meet our staff

Posted Thursday, June 7th, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Graham Benton, Program Director

This will be my 4th summer with Sail Caribbean. I have been Mate, Captain, Fleet Captain, Medical Office, Provisions Manager, Office Manager, Operations and Program Director. I have worked Foxtrot, Sierra and Bravo and this summer will be the Program Director for Sierra.  I received an Undergraduate Degree in Environmental Science and Adventure Education from Prescott College. I have achieved my Instructor level Scuba certification from  PADI. I worked in a couple of courses working with youths in Prescott AZ. I took the Sail Caribbean ECHO Internship as my first sailing experience. I have worked for Sail Caribbean from the time that I was in college and two years after I graduated. I really like the people. Working here with the friendly staff and the wonderful students makes it so rewarding to be working as an educator. In my spare time I love mountain biking, skiing, riding a motorcycle, baking bread and eating scones.

Shandy Buckley, Mate

This is Shandy first year with Sail Caribbean- being a teacher and growing up in New Zealand onboard her family boat. Shandy brings a wealth of experience and qualifications to the team.


Mark Millirlian, Mate and Medical Officer

I am currently studying International Business at George Washington University in Washington, DC. I started sailing when I was 7, when I went to a summer camp in Connecticut. From that moment, I knew this was my passion. I have sailed on a variety of boats, from tiny Lasers to giant monohulls and even a trimaran that was used to sail around the world, twice! I started scuba diving when I was 10 years old and fell in love as soon as I took my first breath through the regulator. I am now a Master Scuba Diver with PADI and hold a variety of certifications from Rescue Diver to Search and Recovery to Nitrox. After attending Sail Caribbean as a teen for three summers, I went on to earn my Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician certification from NOLS, in Wyoming, while also becoming a Leave No Trace instructor. I had previously worked as the Director of Kayaking and EMT for a summer camp on Long Island, NY, as well as a volunteer instructor for a sailing school in Washington, DC.  Currently, I work for the ambulance service at George Washington University. I first attended Sail Caribbean in 2007 on the Charlie Program and everyone on the boat quickly became a giant family. I loved every moment of that trip, and I made friends that I will keep for a lifetime. After my third summer on the Charlie Program, I took off to get more experience so I could come back and work for the Sail Caribbean family.  From a very young age I have had a desire for the sea; both above and below the surface. I love sailing, scuba diving, cooking, photography, and helping others when working on an ambulance. Something funny you should know about me … I have a slight obsession with Gordon Ramsay and I can only wear toe socks.


Kyle Pierson, Captain of Geneve

This will be my second summer at Sail Caribbean. I was lucky enough to work for Sail Caribbean last year as a mate and a captain for Foxtrot 1 and 2. The staff and the students were the best you could ask for. You could say I was severely spoiled by the experience. In 2006 I graduated from the greatest college on Earth, California University of Chico, in Chico California. I graduated with a degree in education and two minors, one in special education and the other in environmental studies (a lazy environmental science minor). I liked the school so much that I returned a year later to work on two credentials for teaching elementary school and special education. When I finished my degrees and credentials, I decided that I was not ready to settle down and work for the man, so I found a job working on Catalina Island, California, teaching snorkeling, kayaking, marine science, island ecology, and other really cool stuff. While there I got to practice free diving and a little bit of sailing was done. It was the perfect job to prepare for the daily grind that Sail Caribbean offers. Now I look at Sail Caribbean as my chance to get back into the world of teaching adventure and fun, since I now work indoors all day at a school in Northern California. The reason I like Sail Caribbean so much, is that it gives me a chance to give students a chance to have an expirience that many kids, teens, and adults will never have. I was lucky enough as a kid to attend a camp where I got to learn how to scuba dive, sail, kayak, and love the ocean. If I can help one student feel the same way I do about the ocean, then I am happy. I love everything about the ocean. I love to tidepool, kayak, snorkel, scuba dive, and SPEARFISH. I am also an avid sports fan. Go Dodgers! Something funny you should know about me… Even though I love to spearfish, I often find myself forgetting that I am actually spearfishing half of the time. Most of the time I get distracted by an octopus, cool sea slugs, coral, or any thing shiny. I would say I am only a successful hunter 30% of the time. The ocean is too cool.

Lizzie McNamee, Captain of Berlin

I began diving in 1999 when I was 12 years old because all I ever wanted to do was be a marine biologist. Loving the water, I began sailing when I was 15 in Boston Harbor. I went to Boston University and got a degree in Marine Science in 2010. I worked my way up to Divemaster through the years, making sure to spend a good amount of time on each certification to really understand the important aspects of each. My senior year of university, I spent 22 days sailing across the Caribbean, doing oceanographic research. Post grad, I moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands to teach marine ecology, and proceeded to work towards my instructor certification after that. My first job was with a YMCA in Massachusetts lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons. I continued on in that same path by working at my local Boys and Girls Club. While in University, I taught swim lessons and taught lifeguarding at the local pool. I worked as a Waterfront director at a summer camp in New Hampshire for 2 years, spending time with teens to enhance their kayak, canoe, and swimming skills. After graduation from Boston University, I worked at the School for Field Studies, helping teach Marine Ecology and scuba diving as a tool in research at a non-profit study abroad school. For the past year, I have taught diving at a dive shop in Key Largo, Fl. What draws me to Sail Caribbean is the responsibility that it gives to the participants. It is not just a camp, it is a chance for teenagers to step up and do things that they would never experience otherwise. I am very excited to open student’s eyes to the underwater world that has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. I am born and raised as Boston fan. Any and all sports, I love Boston. I may not follow every sport exactly, but I do love my home town teams! I used to competitively dive (spring board) and swim, so one of the things that will always make me happy is swimming laps in a pool. I did colorguard in marching band in high school and college.  I get so excited if I find a marine species that I have never known before. Something funny you should know about me… I get really giddy and don’t rest until I have found out what it is. I am undefeated in burping contests.




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