An image of Alia Payne wearing a large straw hat and holding an armful of fruit.

Alia N. Payne

Alia N. Payne is a digital communications intern at Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal. A writer, artist, and BFA candidate at Maryland Institute College of Art, her creative practice explores our connections to the natural world. Baltimore based but born in South Florida, she spent summers caring for native species at a nature center and paddling out past the waves, feeding a long running fascination with the ocean and its organisms. Throughout her academic and artistic career, Alia’s worn many hats: including Art History, Interdisciplinary Sculpture, and Interactive Arts—but she’s always believed the best tool for teaching is a good story. In 2019 she worked with Smithsonian NMNH’s Invertebrate Zoology department, designing interactive activities that connected museum audiences with the latest jellyfish research. Recently, she’s been diving into the written word with the Ocean Portal team, where she aims to share stories that shed light on what’s going on in our seas.