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Kaitlin (Katie) Mae McConnell

Curriculum Vitae



2017-2019 - MS Microbiology, Minor: Risk and Uncertainty Quantification in Marine Systems, Oregon State University. Thesis: “Reef Microbiomes of Mo’orea, French Polynesia, a Socio-ecological System”

2008-2012 - BS Marine Biology, UC Santa Cruz


Awards and Affiliations:

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship Fellow (2018-2019)

  • Richard and Toshi Morita Microbiology Scholarship (2019) 

  • William Trachtenberg Memorial Scholarship, Sustainable Fisheries Foundation & American Fisheries Society (2019) 

  • Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Fellow (2017-2019)

  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Honorable Mention (2018)

  • National Geographic Explorer / Waitt Foundation Grant Recipient (2017)

  • Surf Ambassador, Save the Waves Coalition (2022-current)

Professional Experience:

2023 - Current

  • Substitute Teacher, Hawai’i Department of Education

2022 - Current

  • Marine Scientist, YachtAid Global

  • Surf Ambassador, Save the Waves Coalition

2020 - Current

  • Owner and Surf Instructor, Surf With Katie, California


  • Surf Instructor, Jamie O’Brien Surf Experience


  • Grant Writer & Project Developer, One People One Reef


  • Research Diver, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Ensenada, México


  • Environmental Science Instructor, Wildlands Studies Patagonia Program


  • Graduate Research Fellow, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Traineeship Program (NRT), Oregon State University


  • Biology Graduate Teaching Assistant, Oregon State University


  • Principle Investigator, “Ecosystem Recycling of Whale Carcasses in Golfo de Penas, Chilean Patagonia, after a mass stranding event.” National Geographic Grant CP-067R-17


  • Research Diver, United States Antarctic Program


  • Research Diver, San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant Mitigation Monitoring Project


  • Technical Scientific Assistant & Research Diver, Huinay Field Station, Chile


  • California State Beach Lifeguard, Monterey Country

  • California State Beach Lifeguard, North San Diego County

  • California State Beach Junior Lifeguard Instructor


Selected Publications: 


Athletic Awards:


  • Winner, Thriller at Killers Big Wave Contest, Islas Todos Santos, Mexico


  • Prequalifier for 2024 Red Bull Magnitude Women’s Big Wave Competition

  • 5th Place, Red Bull Magnitude Women’s Big Wave Competition, Hawai’i, USA

  • 2nd Place, International Bodysurfing World Tour, Polynesia Regionals and Finals Qualifier

  • 3rd Place, Thriller at Killers Virtual Big Wave Competition, Todos Santos, México


  • Zicatela Bodysurf Competition, 3rd Place Overall and Reyna de la Competition, Puerto Escondido, Mexico

  • Mexpipe Warriors en Memoria de Oscar Moncada Surf Competition, 2nd Place Women, Puerto Escondido, Mexico

  • Lobos Por Siempre Big Wave Invitational, 1st Place Women’s, Punta de Lobos, Chile

  • Santos del Mar Big Wave Invitational, 1st Place Women’s, El Buey, Arica, Chile

  • Itacoatiara Big Wave Competition, 7th Place Overall Paddle, Niteroi, Brasil

  • Mavericks Surf Awards Finalist for Biggest Wave, Ride of the Year & Performer of the Year, California, USA

  • Red Bull Magnitude Women’s Big Wave Competition, Rookie of the Season and 3rd place overall, Hawai’i, USA


  • Quicksilver 2021 Jaws Big Wave Championship invited alternate

  • Torneo de Bodysurf Zicatela, Quarterfinalist & 9th overall, Puerto Escondido, México

  • World Bodysurfing Championships, Women’s Grand Champion and 1st place Women 30-44, Oceanside, CA


  • Mavericks Surf Awards, highlighted surfer


  • Longest noseride winner, Women’s division, Cape Kiwanda Longboard Classic, Oregon

  • World Bodysurfing Championships, 5th place Women 18-29 


  • World Bodysurfing Championships, 2nd place Women 18-29 



Wilderness First Responder (inc. CPR/1st Aid), National Outdoor Leadership School  (NOLS, 10/2024)

Scientific Diver (AAUS), Rescue Diver & Master Diver (NAUI), Dive Master (PADI)

California Small Boat Operator’s License

Hawaii Boating, Thrillcraft  and Towsurfing License

Big Wave Risk Assessment Group Surf Responder 1


English, First language

Spanish, Fluent

Portuguese, Basic

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