Staff

Development

Tami Brown, Executive Director

Tami moved to St. Louis in 2019 to open the Aquarium, after opening the Greater Cleveland Aquarium in Ohio and operating it for 8 years. She is inspired daily by the passion, knowledge and care the team puts into the wellbeing of the animal residents and the mission of both the Aquarium and the Aquarium Foundation. In her free time, Tami enjoys playing the piano, kickboxing, bicycling and visiting museums. She and her husband are renovating their home in Benton Park, which keeps them busy most weekends. Tami feels very lucky to be able to see Aquarium guests get excited about interacting with an animal or learning something they didn’t know before, and to represent such a great new asset in the St. Louis community.

Gail Weller, Development Manager

Gail was born and raised in St. Louis and has always been drawn to animals and the water. River Otters are one of her favorite animals and she is excited to now have several as “co-workers”! Gail has over a decade of professional experience in nonprofit development, working for various organizations serving youth and the elderly. In her free time, she enjoys reading, fitness, exploring new restaurants, spending time with family and friends, and vacations at the beach. Being a part of the mission of the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation and a vital city attraction is a dream come true!

Caitlin Cross, Development & Marketing Coordinator

Caitlin was born and raised in St. Louis, graduating from Marquette University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare and Justice and a double minor in Marketing and Business Administration. Before joining the Aquarium Foundation, she worked with City Garden Montessori School and The Community, a nonprofit organization in Milwaukee, where she would assist with fundraising, social media management, and other aspects pertaining to nonprofit development. In her free time, Caitlin loves to play tennis, visit new coffee shops, and explore different parks around the city. Caitlin is thrilled about this opportunity to work with the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation, as she is able to advocate for conservation efforts and share her love of nature and animals with others!

Education

Mel Hooper, Education Manager

For as long as Mel can remember, they have been doing everything they can to encourage people to care for the creepy crawlies. After spending their youth as a Junior Curator at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, they graduated from Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina with a B.S in Wildlife Biology and minor in Elementary Education. Some of the seemingly endless places they have been privileged to call home include western NC, tracking elk populations in the Great Smoky Mountains and whitewater raft guiding, the Boston Harbor Islands teaching STEM and socio-emotional programs, and Sinks Canyon State Park in Wyoming. They fell in love with Montessori Community School in Durham, NC, in 2020, where they spent three years as an educator and Auxiliary Manager. They are so excited to once again be able to share their love for all things scaled, furred, feathered, and otherwise in this new journey at the Aquarium!

Yolanda Cason, Senior Educator

Yolanda was born in the rural town of Cuba, Missouri. She grew up on an 80-acre farm surrounded by various farm animals. Yolanda began her professional journey in the Army National Guard at the age of 18, where she served as a Chemical Operations Specialist for eight years. During this period, she was also enrolled in college and earned a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Anthropology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In 2019, when Yolanda learned that the St. Louis Aquarium was opening, she was excited to apply and began working there in 2020, following the reopening of the Aquarium to the public after COVID. Yolanda is passionate about educating individuals of all ages about the different amazing animals and their wonders. Yolanda is always amazed that she gets to work at an Aquarium where her favorite animals live, our two green sea turtles. In her free time, Yolanda loves to walk her dogs and paint with water.

Natalie Radt, Educator

Born and raised in St. Louis, Natalie grew up going to the summer camp at the zoo where she found her passion for wildlife and conservation. In 2023, Natalie graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, emphasizing in Outreach and Education. She also spent a year studying in Manchester, England learning about global sustainability initiatives and international environmental efforts. In her free time, Natalie enjoys reading, painting, and hiking in Missouri’s beautiful forested areas. Natalie is very excited to work with the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation to make environmental topics more accessible and to inspire others to care for our amazing blue planet.

Summer Wise, Educator

Summer was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida where her love for the ocean began. Her first career choice was in the field of Marine Biology, but after a move to St. Louis that seemed out of reach. She interned with the Missouri Wildlife Rescue Center in 2017 where she further dove into a passion for wildlife and conservation. In 2023, she graduated with her Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of Missouri - St. Louis. The St. Louis Aquarium is allowing her to step into her childhood dream and bring greater ocean awareness to others. When she’s not at the aquarium - she enjoys spending time at home with her special needs pup, Gabriel!

Adelle Arnold, Stream Teams United – Stewardship Development Coordinator

Adelle was born in the rural town of Monett, Missouri, but has spent her whole life as a resident of St. Louis. A recent graduate from Mehlville High School, she hopes to expand her professional development through the AmeriCorps VISTA program with the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation. She considers herself an avid recreationist and has been volunteering with the Missouri Stream Team for as long as she can remember. Adelle is thrilled to be able to connect her passion for clean water to the betterment of the community through her service!