Biracial (Asian/ Latina)
Water Science Operator
Disney's Animal Kingdom/ Animal Kingdom Lodge/ The Seas
Year zoo career began:
Meagan Minadie is a Water Science operator at Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment for The Walt Disney Company. Meagan is in charge of all life support systems at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Epcot's The Seas with Nemo and Friends. This entails operating and maintaining all water filtration, water quality, water chemistry, ozone generation and treatment, UV sterilization, and automated controls. She ensures all water quality parameters are met and recorded for water quality data. In between the three parks, it’s a total volume of about 15,000,000 gallons for over 300 species. The biggest coming from The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot totaling to 6,000,000 gallons of reclaimed saltwater. She has received her life support operator level I certification through the Aquatic Animal Life Support Operators (AALSO) organization. She loves that every day is different and the multifaceted skills she has obtained from this role.
Throughout high school, Meagan volunteered at the Seminole County Environmental Studies Center participating in animal husbandry and leading outdoor educational programs connecting local schoolchildren to their environment. At sixteen, Meagan spoke at her first public hearing and successfully defended for the continued existence and partnership of this environmental conservation organization with the School Board and Seminole County Government. Being able to address the importance of environmental education and outreach in creating a stronger sense of environmental stewardship amongst the local community to various stakeholders helped instill her passion of environmental outreach and science communication. Meagan attended the University of Central Florida, graduating with a Bachelor’s in Biology. During this time, Meagan was a researcher in the Coastal and Estuarine Ecological Lab under Dr. Linda Walters working on oyster reef restoration and shoreline stabilization. Meagan initiated research on the distribution of Microplastic pollution within Mosquito Lagoon and the eastern coast of Central Florida. She also was the teaching assistant for the Tropical Marine Biology Study Abroad class overseeing the students in underwater fieldwork and Microplastic Research at Glover’s Reef Research Station in Belize. Throughout this, community outreach and education was always at the center. Meagan would discuss importance of coastal conservation to various local STEM classrooms and participate with mangrove propagation. Meagan credits Dr. Walters as one of her biggest role models and proponents of her success. This was her first time seeing a strong female leader in STEM and will forever be indebted for Dr. Walter’s tenacious spirit.
In 2017, Meagan joined the Walt Disney Company with Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment in Water Sciences. Meagan loves highlighting the various disciplines it takes to care for our animals, their environment, and contribute to conservation. Currently, Meagan is earning a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Management at the University of Denver. Still early in her career, Meagan is excited to see what the future holds. Meagan loves to dive, participate in marine research, and travel. In the summer, she travels to Baja, Mexico for whale shark research with the Vermilion Sea Institute. She loves to mentor the next generation in STEM and ensure equal opportunities for all. Growing up, she didn’t see many that looked like her in the field and hopes to continue bridging this gap while growing as a leader in STEM. Besides, what are glass ceilings for but to be shattered? Some advice for those trying to break out in the field is to take advantage of any animal experience/volunteer opportunities as early as possible and master communication skills. Being able to effectively communicate to various disciplines, stakeholders, and audiences is critical for success.