A 2002 graduate of VIMS’ School of Marine Science, Sorabella has found happiness in her Virginia Beach-based non-profit organization, Oyster Reef Keepers of Virginia (ORKV). The organization—which she started immediately after earning her Master’s—has a mission of restoring and maintaining oyster reefs in Virginia’s waterways through community-based education, advocacy, scientific research, and monitoring.
Through ORKV, Sorabella developed Schools Restoring Oysters for the Chesapeake—a program where she trains teachers how to raise oysters with their students, and then transplant the oysters to various sanctuary reefs in the Tidewater area. In the 8 years since she launched ORKV, Sorabella has trained 175 teachers and reached more than 100,000 students, who altogether have transported 5.4 million oysters.
Sorabella says the Institute played a big role in where she is today. “VIMS contributed in so many ways to the individual I am today. I had a wonderful time while I was there, and the education I attained while studying there has enabled me to have a job that makes me excited to get out of bed every morning.”