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Rockwood graduate studies turtles in Hawaii

Leyna Stemle in Hawaii studying sea turtles.

Leyna Stemle in Hawaii studying sea turtles.

Marquette High 2014 graduate Leyna Stemle has a passion for turtles.

Earlier this summer, Stemle worked with the St. Louis Box Turtle Project. In partnership with the Tyson Environmental Research Fellowship (TERF) and the Shaw Institute for Field Training (SIFT), she worked with the Saint Louis Zoo and Washington University scientists to better understand turtle ecosystems.

In July, Stemle travelled to Hawaii to shift her focus from box turtles to sea turtles by studying the Ho’okipa green sea turtle.

Working with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF), she helped educate tourists and locals about the turtles in general and about their basking behaviors.

“The experience of seeing all the turtles emerge just as the sky becomes painted with colors is truly magical,” she said.

Looking toward the future, Stemle hopes to continue her education and passion in biology. She will attend Florida Southern College where she plans to double major in marine biology and environmental studies.

“I plan to do research in wildlife health, especially sea turtle health and tumors. As an intern at HWF, I saw horrible tumors take over countless turtles’ lives. I want to research and learn more about it and hopefully help toward a cure.”


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