South Florida Intercoastal

Faces in the Industry: Katie O'Fallon

By: MIASF Staff

Date posted: Dec 01, 2021 Wed

Katie O’Fallon – Marine Magnet Coordinator, New River Middle School
Tell us where you are from, what brought you to Florida, and how long you’ve lived here.
It was a bit of roundabout way of getting to Florida. I grew up in Minnesota before heading off to school in New York for marine science. After graduating, I moved to Curacao where I worked at the Curacao Seaquarium doing marine education, research, and diving. I came to South Florida in 2004 working for a dive travel company doing family dive travel with marine programs.  As I was getting my master’s degree at NSU, I started teaching at New River Middle School – Marine Science Magnet Program and then about 11 years ago I became the Magnet Coordinator expanding our Marine Science Magnet Program to include iCAN (Integrated Career & Academic Networks).  Over the years, we have enhanced our programs to ensure all students are learning about not only marine science, but the marine industry here in South Florida and expose them to all the career pathways and opportunities connected to the marine world.
Where do you work, what is your job title, and what does your job entail?
New River Middle School – Marine Science & iCAN Magnet
Magnet Coordinator
I oversee both magnet programs dealing with everything from the curriculum, field experiences, guests, marketing, partnerships, and monitoring for all electives courses from marine science to engineering, robotics, Marine ROV (remotely operated vehicles), broadcasting, entrepreneurship, and more!
How did you initially become interested in the marine industry?
During college, I was able to spend a semester at sea, on a sailing vessel and when I started teaching at New River, I became more involved sharing the marine careers and pathways to my students.  I also was introduced to MIASF through New River’s involvement with Waterway Cleanup and Plywood Regatta.  Through the years, I have joined the Plywood Regatta committee and have supported more opportunities for marine industry exposure for our middle school students such as field experiences, boating safety classes, and programs at the high school level to encourage pathways.
What is your favorite or most valuable benefit of membership in MIASF?
I believe the best part of MIASF is the support it has given to our school and program with field experiences and connecting our students with people in the industry. It is essential for students to start connecting with the members of MIASF so they can see a pathway for them and network because those connections might make the difference for their future.
Describe any other community organizations or events with which you are involved?
I am involved with various cleanup activities including International Coastal Cleanup Day and Waterway Cleanup.  I have also been involved with Plywood Regatta since 2006 and been part of the Plywood Regatta committee for the past couple years.  I have also been invited the last couple of years to be part of Ocean Exchange event. 
Tell us about your hobbies and the kinds of things you do for fun.
My hobbies have mostly been surrounding the water from snorkeling, diving, and kayaking to any of the projects New River is doing. ??  I also just enjoy relaxing with a good book and exploring new places in Florida I haven’t been. My favorite time though will always be spent with my family at our cabin in northern Minnesota, again, on the water.