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Meet the Team

Natalie Nevaraz

Dr. Natalie Nevarez

Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer
(508) 289-2699

Dr. Natalie Nevarez is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) leader and scholar known for her comprehensive and data-guided approach to enhancing diversity and promoting inclusivity in academic and research institutions. In August 2021, she was appointed as Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer (CDEIO). Natalie earned her Ph.D. in Biospychology (Behavioral Neuroscience) from the University of Michigan (UofM) and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. During her time at UofM and Stanford she played a key leadership role in the organization of community-wide diversity initiatives.

Prior to joining WHOI, Natalie served as the Associate Director for Faculty Diversity and Development at Columbia University, Faculty Arts & Sciences, and as Development Manager for the Fellowship for the Future for the science non-profit 500 Women Scientists-a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting diversity and equity in science, and empowering women scientists to serve as leaders and advocates in their communities.

Reporting directly to the President and Director, Natalie is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion across all members of the WHOI community.


Dr. Julie Huber

Senior Scientist, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry

Julie is a Senior Scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department working to advance knowledge of the deep ocean. She is interested in how basic earth processes- rocks forming, fluids moving, sediments accumulating- interact to create and maintain microbial life in the deepest and darkest parts of the ocean. Julie has led and participated in ocean expeditions around the world using deep submergence technology, and she also enjoys mentoring the next generation of scientist and communicating their work to others. Through these efforts and her work with the CDEI, she hopes to make her lab, WHOI, and the fields of ocean science and engineering more diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive.

Ben Weiss

Ben Weiss

Mechatronics Engineer, Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering

Ben Weiss is a Mechatronics Engineer at WHOI, specializing in the development of novel robotic systems, aiming to mitigate the impacts of climate change. He has worked on a wide range of projects, from kelp farming robots to coral reef rehabilitation systems. Before coming to WHOI, he studied Mechanical Engineering at Yale University, graduating in 2020, and completed two summer internships at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. When Ben moved to Woods Hole, he quickly became involved with GLOW, a local social organization for LGBTQIA+ folks, and later joined WHOI’s Housing Committee and the CDEI’s Messaging Working Group. Ben also regularly participates in a number of outreach efforts aimed at engaging with students from communities who are underrepresented in marine science. As Co-Chair, Ben looks forward to working alongside his colleagues on the Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in coordination with the Chief DEI Officer at WHOI.

Christi de Leon

Christi de Leon

Manager of Data Analytics & HRIS Systems, People Operations

Christi is an accomplished HRIS professional with over 20 years of experience in HR system optimization. Christi uses a data focused approach to collect and extract key metrics to understand workplace behavior and optimize the employee experience. Committed to fostering inclusive growth, Christi works closely with WHOI’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to provide relevant metrics to further data-driven DEI strategy. Christi is currently completing a BS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of Phoenix. Christi can be reached at For data requests, please contact both Christi de Leon and Natalie Nevarez (

Marnee Rathbun

Marney Rathbun

Interfaith Chaplain

Marney received her BA in Africana Studies from Smith College and her MFA in poetry from New York University. She is currently at Harvard Divinity School studying to be an interfaith chaplain. Marney has worked in substance abuse treatment for three years as a counselor, and has five years experience in education and DEI organizing. Her current research interests are at the convergence of decolonial studies and antiracist ministry. Her master’s work explores decoloniality as a central factor in substance abuse treatment and long term healing. Marney's writing has appeared in The Kenyon Review, ITERANT, Salt Hill Journal, and elsewhere. In her free time, Marney likes to rollerblade on the bike path with her wife and read at Nobska Beach. While at WHOI, she plans to fill the role of chaplain, offering counseling, meditation groups, and support to the DEI office. You can contact Marney at

Joel Llopiz

Dr. Joel Llopiz

Doherty Chair in Education to serve as DEI Faculty Advisor 2024-2025

Joel is a trophic ecologist and oceanographer with an integrative focus on fish and zooplankton. Through his research, he seeks to unravel the mysteries of oceanic food webs and their resilience to environmental change. At sea, in the lab, and in the marine science community at large, Joel centers the importance of diversity in natural ecosystems and among human scientists. Broadening participation in ocean sciences through inclusive recruitment and community building is a priority for Joel’s collective science and outreach work. In Fall 2023 Joel was appointed Doherty Chair in Education: DEI Faculty Advisor for 2024-2025. Joel will be leading an innovative program called RIPTIDES (Recruitment and Inclusion Project To Increase Diversity & Equity in our Science) aimed at increasing awareness of WHOI’s work and recruitment of members of underrepresented groups to WHOI. You can contact Joel at with cc to Martha Hauff

Past CDEI Chairs

Catherine Walker, Gwyneth Packard, Joel Llopiz, and Kayleah Griffen

Office Alumni

Alexandra Padilla, WHOI URGE Postdoctoral Scholar, Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering


Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Founded in 2019, the Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion reports directly to the CDEIO and is a consultation and implementation arm of WHOI's DEI office. This group includes working groups focused on the following areas: Academic Recruitment (undergrad, middle and high school, and graduate recruitment), Events, Incubator (short-term, immediate-need projects), and Messaging.

Woods Hole Diversity Initiative and Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee

In 2004, the leaders of six Woods Hole science institutions signed a memorandum committing their institutions to work together to attract and retain a more diverse workforce. That memorandum established the Woods Hole Scientific Community Diversity Initiative (WHDI).

The Diversity Initiative in turn established an advisory committee to make recommendations as to how the institutions can make the village a more diverse, more inclusive community - the Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC).