Michele Hoffman Trotter is an award-winning educator who began her love affair with the ocean at age five with the gift of a shell.  Michele holds advanced degrees in Marine Biology and law, an active contractor with Dive Into Your Imagination and a faculty member of Columbia College, School of the Art Institute, and Roosevelt University where she teaches courses that span traditional ocean sciences to sustainability courses that encompass law, policy, and ethics.




Annie has become one of America’s leading ocean-environ educators. Founder of DiveIntoYourImagination, her company changes the way a new generation views the ocean. As an underwater cinematographer and educator, Annie has created a series of award winning books, DVDs,and  art series and has become a Les Brown Platinum Speaker. Originally from Chicago, Annie has spent the past two decades living and working around the world. 



Mathew Broughton graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography. He then spent the next 3 years working as a full time underwater cinematographer and head editor for Dive Into Your Imagination Productions. Since then Mathew has gone on to start his own freelance video production & media services company . He is highly skilled as a professional videographer, photographer, and editor and works with clients both locally and around the globe. 




Michael Caplan is an independent film director, producer and educator.  He has directed and produced documentary and fiction feature films in Chicago for the last 25 years. Caplan is an Associate Professor in the Cinema Art + Science Department at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches documentary and narrative film production as well as creative producing classes.



Frazier is an internationally recognized Emmy Award winning cinematographer whose extensive body of work has been featured by National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet, BBC and other industry leaders.  A passionate shark enthusiast and lover of all things ocean, Frazier is a regular presence on both the Florida and Bahamas dive scene.  In 2007, his production Windows To A Coral Sea, Diving The Underwater World and Cristal Clear Charters High Definition promotional marketing video garnered three Telly Awards. Frazier is a member of the Silver Council Telly Awards and judge of the 2009 & 2010 Telly Awards.




Katherine "Kat" Brennan grew up in the fishing town of Homer, Alaska. As the daughter of a commercial fisherman, Katherine was instilled with an innate love and respect of the ocean from a young age. Katherine received her B.F.A. in Cinematography from the Academy of Art in San Francisco in 2011, and has worked on films and television shows across the United States.  Katherine spends time in the summer season working as a commercial fisherwoman in the Prince William Sound with her boyfriend and their dog, Xanadu, and is working on a personal project documenting their life there and the fishing community that surrounds them. 



David Winer has been writing and playing music for most of his life. He has scored several short films, including  “Dunkumentary” and “Typing” which were both screened at the Cannes film festival. In 2015 David composed the music for two Superbowl commercials. He has also scored for Gatorade, Lexus, Lego, Nike, Google, Yahoo, Fiat, Michelob, Suave, Zoff (Japan), Dove, EA, State Farm, HP, Saturn, Gap, American Airlines, Huggies, Coca-Cola and many, many others.




Carlee Belt is an educator and video producer hailing from Chicago. She earned her Bachelors degree in Television and Environmental Studies from Columbia College Chicago and is a current graduate student at National Louis University pursuing her Masters degree in Education. She was the inaugural Artist in Residence at Maui Preparatory Academy where she guided students through a multimedia program of her own design combining science and art.  Carlee is involved in urban education and has taught with both Denver Public Schools and Chicago Public Schools. Additionally, she has brought her combined skills in education and video editing to multiple projects across the country spanning from Chicago to Hawaii and Alaska. 




David Morton is a Science Visualization Supervisor with over 25 years experience as a cinematographer focusing on combining digital arts with scientific content. Recently, he has been integrating digital tools with learning experiences. He is part of an active informal education unit working with Chicago’s After School Matters, after school STEM initiative and, Scientists for Tomorrow, community based science programming as well as other Columbia College Science and Math outreach programs.




Donna Marie Siegel grew up exploring creek beds in Connecticut and climbing mountains in Tennessee. She has been marrying her love for the outdoors with filmmaking for the past 3 years. Her relationship with nature—and the people tied to it— has led from guiding rafts down white water rivers across the Southeast, to documenting  manta ray research in Hawaii, to filming motorcycle tours in the Himalayas. Donna Marie received her B.A. in Cinema Arts & Science with a concentration in Documentary Filmmaking from Columbia College Chicago in 2018. Her roles on Microcosm have included video editor, cinematographer, lead intern, and project coordinator.



Lauren was immersed in crawfish, Abita beer, and an eclectic arts community when she grew up in New Orleans. Developing interests in both writing and filmmaking, she pursued a Bachelor's in Cinema Art + Science at Columbia College Chicago with a concentration on Directing and Screenwriting. There she learned two things: 1) That writing in any capacity was all she wanted to do, and 2) that she had an innate desire to care for and conserve the environment. Meeting Michele and hopping onto the Microcosm team allowed her to combine those two loves. In addition to social media, Lauren has contributed to both video editing and scriptwriting for the project. Outside of Microcosm, she's a freelance copywriter and filmmaker, and a full time cat and plant mom.