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Cheryl Mell

Senior Vice President, Conservation Partnerships and Programs

Cheryl Mell oversees Shedd’s diverse conservation efforts, connecting audiences to outreach and initiatives including field research, direct action, advocacy, policy and conservation travel experiences.


M.S., education, biology and secondary education, University of Miami, Florida
B.S., biology and marine science

“My favorite animals are the garden eels in Wild Reef. As a diver, I can tell you that seeing them in the wild can be tricky: They duck down into the sand very fast. At Shedd, you have the opportunity to see them fully and at eye level. Garden eels are very cool.”

Cheryl Mell leads Shedd Aquarium’s efforts to connect audiences to conservation efforts primarily through direct conservation actions, advocacy and policy, and conservation travel experiences.

Mell received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology and marine science in 1989 and a Master of Science in education, biology and secondary education in 1991 from the University of Miami, Florida. She has more than 18 years of experience in museums, science and education. She started working for Shedd Aquarium in 1991. Since then she has started Shedd’s teen programs, community efforts and teacher programs, and helped grow Shedd's conservation awareness and sustainability efforts. Mell has also conducted numerous student, staff and professional development seminars as well as many hands-on workshops to help Shedd spark compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world. She serves on the board of a regional NGO and is an active committee member for local, state and national organizations.

Mell has a keen interest in aquatic conservation, specifically the role that zoos and aquariums can play not only in fieldwork and research, but ultimately in public awareness. She believes strongly that these organizations will play an increasingly important role by reaching people with messages of conservation and inspiring greater stewardship of the natural world.