2017 YCLA Finalist Stacie Sybersma

Stacie Sybersma is known for her passion and advocacy for the environment and in particular, the ocean and coastal zone. That passion has led her to tackle tough projects such as her Master’s thesis which looked at contamination from Grand Cayman’s George Town Landfill going into the North Sound. Stacie currently works at CUC (Caribbean Utilities Company) as an Environment, Health and Safety Specialist. In this role, she works to keep both the environment and people safe. Prior to CUC, Stacie worked at the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, and then the Cayman Islands Tourism Association where she oversaw the Watersport’s sector and the Kittiwake artificial reef.

In her free time, Stacie volunteers on the National Trust’s Environmental Advisory Committee offering expertise to the National Trust to help them with the management of their environmental projects such as the Blue Iguana Recovery Program, Mastic Trail, and more.  She is a freelance writer for Cayman Skies Magazine, having published 10 articles, with two more to be released in December. Her articles have covered a wide range of topics including diving, restaurants, environmental friendliness, the sister islands, and Pirates Week.

Stacie strongly believes that education and awareness are powerful conservation tools. With this in mind, she frequently volunteers her time to give lectures about Cayman’s natural environment to local students. Highlights include co-lecturing Marine Biology in 2015 at ICCI, and being invited to speak at the United World College’s short course, ‘Towards a Sustainable Future’.  Additionally she gave two TedX talks, in 2016 and again in 2017 about the ‘Ocean’s Potential’, and ‘The Ten Years After You Graduate High School’, respectively. Stacie has also published academic papers, is a certified rescue diver and always keen to explore, learn and share her experiences.

Age:  27


Master of Marine Management, Faculty of Science, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada 2015.

–       Thesis: Assessment of Grand Cayman’s George Town Landfill and Application of Integrated Coastal Management for Improved Sustainability.

–       Awards: The Millennium Prize for Coastal Zone Management (awarded to one student per graduating class).

Bachelor of Arts in Biology (Hons), Hiram College, Ohio, USA, 2012

–       Honor’s Project: How to “Turtle Walk”- An Informative Booklet on the Practices of Locating, Recording and Excavating Turtle Nests. (In partnership with the Department of Environment)

–       Awards: Graduated Magna Cum Laude


  • Works with a variety of environment and conservation focused entities including the National Trust.
  • Volunteered with the Department of Environment’s Sea Turtle Nesting Beach Program from 2006-2013.
  • Co-lecturer for Marine Biology at ICCI in 2015
  • Guest speaker at the United World College short course ‘Towards a Sustainable Future’.
  • Guest lecturer at UCCI: Public Speaking
  • Published Author:
      • Published multiple articles in Cayman Skies Magazine covering a wide variety of topics on land and underwater
      • Published scientific papers:
        • A review of Shark Legislation in Canada as a Conservation Tool. 2015. Published in Marine Policy
        • Assessment of Grand Cayman’s George Town Landfill and Application of Integrated Coastal Management for Improved Sustainability. 2014. Published by Dalhousie University.
  • Gave two popular TEDx talks.
  • TEDx-UCCI Future Vision 2016: “Ocean Potential” — which was about the numerous ways the ocean impacts our everyday lives.
  • TEDx-UCCI Spark 2017: “The Ten Years After you Graduate High School” — which was about the ups and downs of transitioning from teenager to adult. This talk hit on topics such as self-acceptance, career choices, and mental health.

Core Message to Youth

“As a woman working in science I understand how intimidating it can be to pursue your dreams, and do what you love. However, don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. Find a way to put your passions into everything you do!  Share what inspires you, share your talents, and most of all share your kindness