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Lauren Rust- Executive Director

Lauren Rust is the founder and executive director of LMMN. She received her BS in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston in 2004 followed by her MSc in Ecology from the University of Wales, UK. Before founding LMMN, Lauren managed the research department at The Marine Mammal Center in CA managing the necropsy lab, various research projects and leading the large whale recovery team. Lauren has also worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) responding to sick and injured marine mammals in South Carolina and the Environmental Specimen Bank at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) here in Charleston. Recently, Lauren joined the marine biology graduate program at CofC as a faculty member to mentor students. She's passionate about marine mammal research and education and hopes to bring a greater awareness about Charleston's local dolphin population to the Lowcountry. You can reach Lauren at


Brooke Brown- Outreach Coordinator

Brooke holds a B.S. in Marine Science from California State University-Monterey Bay. Her background is in marine science education and research. For 8 years she was involved with the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA), first starting as a guide in the education department, then later worked as a maintenance SCUBA diver and an Underwater Explorers Instructor. She is a certified NAUI Divemaster and AAUS Research Diver. Using these certifications she has helped and led many different research projects. These projects range from studying zooplankton in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, seastar wasting syndrome in the Monterey Area, coral reef health in Palau, kelp forests, algae, and so on. She moved to South Carolina in 2019 joined Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network. Brooke is the outreach coordinator for LMMN which includes organizing education & outreach events, stranding responses, monitoring programs, volunteers, school programs, camps, and managing media outreach. Her passion is marine education and conservation. 


Nicole Principe- Marine Mammal Stranding Technician

Nicole received her Bachelor of Science degree in animal science with a minor in ecology and conservation biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. During her time as an undergraduate, she conducted genetics research on freshwater crayfish and interned twice with The Wild Dolphin Project, assisting with research on free-ranging Atlantic spotted dolphins in the Bahamas. Before graduate school, she interned with Brookfield Zoo helping perform behavior and welfare research on polar bears and bottlenose dolphins. She recently received her Master of Science degree in marine biology from the College of Charleston, with her thesis project focusing on using drones to study distribution and habitat use patterns of bottlenose dolphins. She also completed an independent study utilizing drones to assess human interference towards dolphins that strand feed in Kiawah, S.C. She has been a marine mammal stranding volunteer in South Carolina throughout her time as a graduate student before joining LMMN full time. Nicole can be reached at

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Nancy Lauricella- Development Associate

Nancy earned her BA degree in rhetoric and communication from the University at Albany and her MS degree in public relations from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications. Nancy's professional experiences and areas of expertise are diverse. Prior to joining LMMN, she spent more than 15 years as a higher education administrator at a large New York State public research institution serving in a variety of managerial and leadership roles. She has also served as a board advisor to a national fraternity and worked as a public relations specialist for corporate and non-profit organizations. She has presented at national conferences regarding a variety of topics including how to strengthen community relations and effective tools in higher education assessment practices. Nancy is excited to bring her depth of experiences in event management, strategic planning and communications to enhance and expand the organization's fundraising and partnership programs. You can reach Nancy at

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