Discovery Hall Programs could not operate its summer camps without its incredible staff of counselors. The majority of these individuals are school year teachers, with many years of experience helping children learn, work through problems, and oversee their daily needs.

Our counselors are the backbone of our programs; they provide care, support, and supervision for our overnight campers. They have fun in activities alongside campers, enjoy games and downtime in the dorms, and are our caregivers when campers get hurt or sick while away from home. Along with having fun, they are also our rule enforcers. Counselors ensure campers are drinking enough water, applying sunscreen, eating enough to fuel them through hot, busy days, getting along with fellow campers, and obeying all rules and safety standards associated with the camp.

DHP Counselors are CPR and First Aid certified, and have undergone background checks, ensuring the safety of your campers while they visit and explore with us.


Marty Dunn - Lead Counselor

Marty has been a counselor at DISL for over twelve years. He taught 5th Grade for 18 years and now teaches 3rd - 6th Grade Gifted students at Harrand Creek Elementary in Enterprise, AL. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from St. Mary’s University of Texas, Master’s degrees in Personnel Management and Elementary Education, and certification as a School Counselor from Troy University. The U.S. Army, with assignments around the world, was his home for twenty years. Marty is married, with four children, ten grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Nikki Cosper

Nikki was born and raised in Mountain View, CA, and moved to Sylacauga, AL in 2005. She received a B.A. degree in Natural Science at San Jose State University and a Masters in Education from the University of Montevallo.  In addition to teaching 7th-grade life science, she is a voracious reader of books of all kinds, and is an avid horsewoman, specializing in dressage and jumping.  She also teaches yoga in her spare time and enjoys painting landscapes and animals. Nikki loves marine science, and has enjoyed being a part of Dauphin Island Sea Lab, either participating in classes, camps or visiting, since 2006.

Victoria Pendley

Vicki has been a camp counselor at the Sea Lab since 2013 and loves it! She teaches gifted students in Baldwin County, Alabama. She holds a Master’s Degree in Gifted Education. "I wish for..... learning to be like the world: busy, chaotic, and always in motion. Every learner to be part of our community. Learning to come from experiences. Creativity to be a habit. Mistakes to be viewed as opportunities. The freedom for learners to explore, discover & develop." Let's have fun together at The Dauphin Island Sea Lab!

Elaine Piazza

Elaine has been a teacher for Gadsden City Schools for more than 30 years, and currently serves as a guidance counselor for the elementary schools. She received her B.S. and M.S. in physical education from Jacksonville State University and has her Education Specialist degree in Guidance. Elaine enjoys birding, gardening, traveling, and reading, and being a DISL counselor is on her “Bucket List.” This will be her third summer as a counselor with us.

Rissa Stephens

Rissa is retired after 26 years of teaching 5th and 6th grades in Gadsden, Alabama. She holds an Education Specialist degree from the University of Alabama, even though she is an Auburn fan! Rissa’s philosophy of education is that every child experiences the wonders of science through hands-on experiences, especially in marine biology! Rissa has been a counselor every summer since 2004. She currently enjoys caring for her grandchild, Margot, and volunteering at IPC Day School in Birmingham.

Ashley Allen

Ashley teaches science at Oneonta High School in Oneonta, AL and has attended numerous workshops at the Sea Lab in the past.  When not teaching science, Ashley can be found across the state searching for fossils with the Alabama Paleontological Society or exploring Alabama's caves.  His interest in our past is rooted in his experiences as an undergraduate and graduate student at Livingston University (now the University of West Alabama).  


Chelsea Hiott

Chelsea “CC” Hiott has been a counselor at DISL for 3 years and LOVES the beach. Her first experience as a DISL attendee was in 2016 attending the Fins, Fishes & Fisheries workshop for teachers and loved it! Chelsea has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology & Criminal Justice as well as a Master’s degree in Secondary Education in Biology. She currently teaches High school Science, girl’s weight training and coaches three sports. She is married and has three dogs (all rescued) and three horses. 


Carlyn Stinson

This is Carlyn’s third summer working as a counselor. She fell in love with the DISL program when she visited with her daughter's gifted class in 2012. Carlyn earned a Bachelor's degree in Child Psychology and a Master's Degree in Secondary Language Arts. She teaches 7th-12th grade English at Billingsley High School. Prior to teaching, she worked for the YMCA as a Director of Children's programs, including weekends at Camp Cha-La-Kee. Carlyn has 3 children, a house full of pets, and loves to travel, read, and hike.


Kate Mann

Kate first came to DISL as a student 20 years ago! She then began bringing her own students down on field trips. Her first trip with them was the week of the BP oil spill in 2010. Kate has been a DISL counselor for three years and a middle school science teacher for 16 years. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and MEd from Auburn University and EdS in teacher leadership from the University of Montevallo. 


Lisa Richie

Lisa was born and raised in Calhoun County, Alabama, and moved to Birmingham in 1990. She received a B.A. and a Master's in Elementary Education from the University of Montevallo. She began coming to the "Sunset Capital" in 1985. Lisa has been a counselor with DHP since 2017 and enjoys every minute of it! She has two children and one grandson, all who she introduced to the wonders of Dauphin Island when they were young.  


Angela Hurst

Angie is a 4th-grade math and science teacher at Oxford Elementary School in Oxford, Alabama. She has been teaching for 15 years. Angie obtained her bachelor's and master's degrees from Jacksonville State University.  Angie has been married to David Hurst for 20 years and they have 2 sons, DJ (18) and Zach (12).  She enjoys hiking, camping, spending time on the beach and riding in the jeep with the top back. Her son, Zach, has been coming to DISL camps for 3 years, and Angie is excited to join in the fun!


Angela Drown

Angela lives in Enterprise, AL and has taught various elementary grades for 12 years. This year she is teaching 3rd-6th grade gifted students. Angela received her Bachelor's degree in elementary education and Master's degree in gifted education from Troy University. She has three children and one grandchild and loves to garden and bake (not at the same time). She has chaperoned three trips to DISL during school years, but this is Angela’s first summer as a counselor at DISL.