Ambassador Jeynaliz Ortiz González
Updated: Jul 22
Jeynaliz has loved sharks ever since the age of 7. She is a biologist born and raised as a proud Boricua. She began her Bachelor’s at the University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla Campus and later completed her degree at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla Campus. She is set to begin as a Master’s of Professional Science student in the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science; focusing on the Marine Conservation track. One of her main career goals is to continue being a shark advocate and participate in creating better conservation efforts for vulnerable species.
Jeyna has been speaking to hundreds of students throughout Puerto Rico, teaching them all about sharks! We are thrilled to welcome her as a Sharks4Kids ambassador.
You can follow her on INSTAGRAM to learn more about her shark outreach and ocean education.
1. What is your favorite shark and why?
I have many sharks on my favorites list, but, one of my top ones is the Scalloped Hammerhead: Sphyrna lewini. Hammerheads in general are one of evolution’s greatest turns; the perfect biological machines! Historically, the Scalloped hammerheads have been known to exhibit phenomena like very large schools at certain times of the year, while remaining relatively solitary lifestyles.
2. What is one species of shark you would like to dive with?
My dream would be to dive with the infamous great whites. There is something about their character that makes them feel mysterious, even when seeing them through a screen. They are incredibly intelligent animals with many stories hidden behind their eyes.
3. Tell us a little about why you started diving/shark diving?
I have been in love with these animals ever since I was a toddler. Back then, my biggest motivators were the great shark scientists and divers I saw in episodes of Shark Week. I wanted to be like them! As I grew older, my passion for learning more about them only increased, so I took it upon myself to make my dreams reality.
4. What is one thing you wish everyone knew about sharks?
While it is true that sharks have been studied in medical and pharmaceutical matters, and they exhibit certain properties that have made scientists believe they may have some antiangiogenic properties, the idea that sharks don’t get sick or fall victim to cancer and tumors is false.
5. What is your favorite shark fact?
A whale shark’s spots are unique to them! Much like our fingerprints are unique to us. No other whale shark will have the same pattern as another.
6. Why is shark education important to you?
Sharks are great hunters and can often come off as scary! I wish that people knew that sharks do not live to hurt us, but rather to maintain the balance of their ecosystem. Sharing what we now know of these animals is crucial for their survival and for the harmony of life between humans and sharks.