I earned my MS at the University of Alaska Fairbanks under the supervision of Tom Shirley and my Ph.D. degree at the University of South Carolina in 1999 under the supervision of Bruce Coull, studying the genetic population structure of benthic copepods. After a 3-year postdoctoral position at the University of Chicago (supervised by Dick Hudson) and the Field Museum of Natural History (supervised by Bill Ballard) I joined the Department of Marine Sciences of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM). I have been at UPRM since 2003 and am currently a Professor in Marine Invertebrate Biology Professor. My Marine Genomic Biodiversity Lab (www.schizaslab.com) specializes in the molecular evolution of benthic organisms with a focus on phylogenetic, taxonomic and population-level questions in corals and crustaceans. Both groups of animals provide limitless questions and challenges to be answered regarding their phylogenetic affinities. We are applying the recent biology-transforming genomic tools to address questions in the biology of these coral reef species. Current projects include taxonomy and phylogeny of mesophotic meiofauna and macrofauna, population genomics of mesophotic corals, and changes in microbial communities during disease outbreaks in corals. I have described as a first author/coauthor >40 new marine arthropod species from the Caribbean, Alaska, Taiwan, Philippines, Brazil and Antarctica. I have extensive field experience in Alaska, the Caribbean, Taiwan, and the Mediterranean, and I have participated in two cruises in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, and four mesophotic cruises in the wider Caribbean, including Bermuda. As a scientist, I am passionate about highlighting the biodiversity of lesser-known metazoans, and as an educator, I am passionate about working with students in the lab, being a positive influence in their lives, and transforming them into young scientists. I am committed to providing a vibrant, welcoming, inclusive research environment for undergraduate and graduate students with all the latest genomic developments and their application to marine biodiversity. As a member of the 2024 Atacama cruise aboard R/V Falkor (too), I will characterize benthic metazoans (meiofauna and selected macrofauna) of the Atacama Trench ecosystem using traditional morphological and DNA barcoding tools. Targeted macroinvertebrates will include brachiopods, and mollusks.