Senior Advisory Board

Connecticut Sea Grant has several advisory groups to guide its direction, policies, and focus. The primary one is its Senior Advisory Board. Smaller advisory groups include an Outreach Advisory Board and a Research Review Panel. These advisory groups ensure that Sea Grant gets input and feedback on its activities from diverse stakeholders and partners, and that its research is relevant to citizens of Connecticut and beyond.

Senior Advisory Board Members

Radenka Maric (Chair): is the Vice President for Research at the University of Connecticut. She oversees the University’s $260 million research enterprise at all UConn campuses. Prior to becoming VPR in 2017, she served as Executive Director for UConn’s $132 million Innovation Partnership Building.  She has also led and continues to drive strategic efforts to build fundamental and applied research and technology commercialization capabilities in partnership with government, industry, and other academic leaders. Dr. Maric has first-hand experience transitioning academic discoveries into real-world products as the founder and chief technology officer of a biotech startup housed in UConn’s Technology Incubation Program. In addition to her senior leadership roles, Dr. Maric is a Named Professor in Sustainable Energy in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Bonnie Burr: Bonnie Burr is department head of Extension at UConn. Previously, she was director of the USDA Farm Service Agency. The Farm Service Agency works to deliver commodity, credit, conservation, disaster, and emergency assistance programs that help improve the stability and strength of our local agricultural economies. Prior to serving with USDA, Bonnie worked for the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association.  She works very closely with the State and Federal legislators to improve agriculture (including aquaculture) and farming benefits in the State.

Marian Galbraith: Marian Galbraith served as Mayor of the City of Groton from 2011 to 2017. Marian was first appointed to the Groton City Council in 2002. She was thereafter overwhelmingly elected to the Council in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009 when she became Deputy Mayor. She served on the City’s 2001 Charter Revision Committee. She chaired the Thames Street Review Committee, the Council’s Community Development Committee, and the Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Hiring Practices. She has served on the Groton Heights Reuse Committee and is the Vice President of the Groton Education Foundation, which provides grants for innovation in education. In 2013 she was elected to the Executive Committee of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments. Marian, or Dr. G as she is affectionately known by her former students, is a 33 year veteran of the Groton Public Schools, having taught two years earlier in Gallup, New Mexico. In 2002 she was named Connecticut’s teacher of the Year and was a finalist for National Teacher of the Year. She has taught teacher preparation classes in several colleges and universities, most recently at Connecticut College from 1996 – 2001. She received her Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees at the University of Connecticut. Marian has a history of active involvement in the education community. She was president of her local association in Groton, CT and served on the Board of Directors of both the CEA and NEA. She has represented the NEA at several national and international venues including White House meetings with President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. She served on the National Board for Professional teaching Standards and is the Treasurer of the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council.

Curt Johnson: Curt Johnson is president of Save the Sound. Curt Johnson received his J.D. from University of Connecticut School of Law and was awarded a Masters in the Study of Law, Summa Cum Laude, focusing on environmental law from Vermont Law School. He was an attorney with the firm of Murtha, Cullina, Richter and Pinney for three-and-a-half years before joining Save the Sound as an attorney in 1993.

Robert Johnston: Dr. Robert Johnston is Professor of Economics and Director and Research Professor of the George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University in Worcester, MA. His research interests include the valuation of non-market resources and ecosystem services, benefit transfer and meta-analysis, management of aquatic resources, land preservation, and tourism economics. He also works closely with international organizations, government agencies and non-profit organizations to assist in the appropriate use of economic information to guide environmental and natural resource policy development.

Donald Murphy: Dr. Donald L. Murphy has been a member of the Stonington Shellfish Commission for 24 years, serving 18 of those years as chairman. Previously, he was the Chief Scientist of the United States Coast Guard International Ice Patrol (IIP) for 24 years. Prior to serving at the IIP, he was a research oceanographer for seven years at the United States Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC).  At RDC he conducted oceanographic research into the movement of oil spills and search and rescue objects (disabled vessels, life rafts, and persons in the water). Dr. Murphy is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Marine Technology Society, and the American Polar Society.  He received a B.A. in mathematics from Marist College and an M.S. and Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the University of Connecticut.  He also served as a surface line officer in the U. S. Navy from 1967 through 1970.

Sandy Prisloe: Sandy Prisloe is an environmental planner in the town of Old Saybrook. He was formerly an associate extension educator in geospatial technologies at UCONN. He was also supervising environmental analyst for the Connecticut DEP for 13 years, and owner of EnviroGraphics in Chester, CT for 6 years.

Tracy Romano: Tracy Romano is Vice President of Research and Chief Scientist at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration. Her research is in neuroimmunology of marine mammals, more specifically studying how environmental challenges (noise, changes in water temperature, introduction to novel environments, transport, exposure to other marine mammal populations, and pollutants) affect the immune system and health of dolphins kept under human care as well as dolphins in the wild. In addition, she is studying the evolution of the immune system through cloning and sequencing of important cetacean immunological molecules, and the development of cetacean-specific immunological reagents and assays for assessment of immune function.

Mark Tedesco: Mark Tedesco has worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 15 years. In 1989 he began working on the Long Island Sound Study, administered by U.S. EPA as part of the National Estuary Program, under the Clean Water Act. In 1992, he became Director of the newly established EPA Long Island Sound Office, responsible for completing the $16 million, multi-year program to identify and address remaining water quality impairments in the Sound. The study culminated in the 1994 approval of a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the Sound by the Governors of New York and Connecticut and the EPA Administrator. Mr. Tedesco is now responsible for continued oversight of the program with a focus on implementation of the management plan in cooperation with government and private agencies and organizations. Mr. Tedesco received his M.S. in marine environmental science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Thaxter Tewksbury: Thaxter received his undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of Rhode Island and his Masters in Marine Environmental Studies from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. A brief stint teaching oceanography at Project Oceanology that started in 1985 provided an outlet for his passion for the oceans that has become a career in marine science education. While working at Project Oceanology he has completed Connecticut Teachers Certification and Administrative Certification as well as becoming licensed by the Coast Guard as a Captain for passenger vessels up to 100 tons. He has been actively involved with Southeastern New England Marine Educators (SENEME), and the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA).

Rear Admiral Richard W. West, USN (ret.): “Dick” West serves on the Board of Governors for a variety of nonprofit organizations, as well as on the URI Graduate School of Oceanography’s Dean’s Advisory Council. He is a retired Rear Admiral of the U.S. Navy and also served the Navy as Oceanographer/Navigator. Dick is past president of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington D.C.

Peter FrancisPeter Francis has held a variety of positions with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection since 1993. He currently serves as the Supervisor of the Coastal Resources Section in the Land & Water Resources Division and leads a team responsible for coastal habitat restoration, dredged material management, GIS, coastal resilience projects, green infrastructure, federal consistency, and a variety of grant programs. Peter also serves on the Management Committee of the Long Island Sound Study, represents DEEP on the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, and acts as a DEEP liaison to the Northeast Region Ocean Council and Connecticut Institute for Resilience & Climate Adaptation on a variety of projects. Prior to this role, Peter worked in DEEP’s Office of Long Island Sound Programs’ permitting and enforcement section for 16 years leading efforts in regulatory program development and process streamlining. He got his start at the agency working in its fisheries and education programs. Before joining DEEP, he worked as a NOAA observer aboard commercial fishing vessels in the Bering Sea. He holds a degree in environmental studies from Connecticut College.