Project

Conserving Marine Life in the United States

Sections

Meet the Team

Soli Aguilar Administrative Assistant

Soli Aguilar provides support to Jennifer Browning, Joseph Gordon, and their teams that work to protect U.S. coastal habitats and ocean life. She also supports Carolynn Race and her team that oversees cross-cutting program functions, and offers additional assistance to Michael Caudell-Feagan, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ executive vice president and chief program officer. Previously, Aguilar managed logistical operations for the Heartland Alliance, working with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to help reunite more than 3,000 refugee and unaccompanied minors with their families. Aguilar holds an associate in arts degree from Miami-Dade College and a bachelor’s in psychology from Virginia Tech.

Peter Baker Project Director

Peter Baker directs Pew’s marine conservation work in Canada, the Arctic, and New England. The work includes protecting special habitats, encouraging ecosystem-based fisheries management, and addressing the entanglement of right whales in fishing gear. Since joining Pew in 2007, Baker has led efforts to establish science-based annual catch limits, protect forage fish, and safeguard sensitive marine habitats, including deep-sea corals.

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Leah Baumwell Senior Associate

Leah Baumwell, based in Boston, focuses on Pew’s efforts in New England and Canada’s Atlantic provinces to reduce entanglement of right whales in fishing gear, as well as measures to protect forage fish, which feed other marine life. Before joining Pew, Baumwell was a marine scientist for the International Game Fish Association. She was also a fisheries researcher for the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and for the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Baumwell holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and studied coastal and marine systems at Coastal Carolina University.

Holly Binns Project Director

Holly Binns directs Pew’s efforts to protect ocean life and coastal habitats in the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. Caribbean Sea. This work aims to protect important habitats such as deep-sea corals and seagrass meadows as well as other valuable areas with diverse marine life; conserve and restore oysters; ensure sustainable fishing and robust marine food webs; and promote an ecosystem-based approach in fisheries management plans.

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Jennifer Browning Director

Jennifer Browning directs Pew’s project to protect nearshore ocean ecosystems and marine life in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean and to continue building sustainability in U.S. fisheries through management of forage fish and reduction of bycatch. The goal of the initiative is to safeguard and conserve rocky habitats and other nearshore ecosystems, including estuaries, salt marshes, and seagrass beds.

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Brenda Campbell Principal Associate

Brenda Campbell works on Pew’s efforts to conserve ocean and coastal resources in Washington state, including engaging with and better understanding the needs and priorities of Tribal Nations. Before joining Pew, Campbell was a researcher and faculty associate at Arizona State University. Previously, she was with the Washington state Department of Natural Resources and worked for local and statewide land trusts. She also engaged rural communities in environmental education for AmeriCorps. Campbell holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental planning and policy from Western Washington University and a master’s in community resources and development from Arizona State University. 

Lora Clarke Officer

Lora Clarke, based in Charleston, South Carolina, focuses on protecting and restoring ocean and coastal resources, including oysters and salt marsh, and ensuring sustainable fishing policies in the U.S. Atlantic. Previously, Clarke worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including for the Comparative Analysis of Marine Ecosystem Organization grant program and the National Ocean Policy. She also advised the NOAA administrator on climate issues. Clarke holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Christopher Newport University, a master’s in wildlife and fisheries conservation from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a doctorate in marine and atmospheric sciences from Stony Brook University.  

Alex Clayton Principal Associate

Alex Clayton focuses on advancing coastal blue carbon management strategies in state climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. Before joining Pew, Clayton worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on nonpoint source pollution and Columbia River salmon issues in the Pacific Northwest. Earlier in her career, she focused on international environmental policy and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. Clayton holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bucknell University and master’s degrees in public policy and in natural resources and environment from the University of Michigan. 

Marci Cochran Senior Administrative Assistant

Marci Cochran focuses on supporting Steve Ganey, vice president, environment, and head of the Portland office, and Pew’s teams that aim to protect coastal habitats and ocean life along the U.S. West Coast and Canada. Before joining Pew, she was the office manager for the Regional Arts & Culture Council in Portland, Oregon, focusing on integrating the arts into the local community. Cochran holds a bachelor’s degree in human development from Warner Pacific College and a master’s in communication from Regent University. She is also a certified master recycler for the city of Portland, volunteering to educate the community about recycling.

Leda Cunningham Officer

Leda Cunningham leads Pew’s work in North Carolina to protect and restore coastal habitats, including seagrass, oysters, and wetlands, that will promote healthy fisheries and resilient ecosystems in the face of climate change. She is based in Morehead City, North Carolina.

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Jazmin Dagostino Program Associate

Jazmin Dagostino focuses on advancing coastal blue carbon management strategies in state climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. Before joining Pew, Dagostino coordinated Our Project in Hawaii’s Intertidal, a citizen science program dedicated to promoting stewardship through the intersection of science, community, and cultural knowledge. Earlier in her career, she worked on marine algal research and studied host-bacterial interactions in Hawaiian bobtail squid. Dagostino holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

Katharine Deuel Senior Officer

Katharine Deuel helps lead Pew’s marine conservation efforts north of Boston, focusing on protecting endangered marine mammals and implementing fisheries reforms and habitat protections in Canada’s Atlantic provinces. She has worked with Pew’s New England team and diverse stakeholders to ensure sustainable management of herring, menhaden, and other forage fish; protect deep-sea corals and other offshore habitat areas; and sustain New England’s iconic cod fishery.

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Joseph Gordon Project Director

Joseph Gordon directs Pew campaigns to protect marine life on the U.S. East Coast. He focuses on conserving fisheries and protecting and restoring seagrass, oyster beds, and other important habitats. Gordon has helped to lead successful coalition efforts to conserve forage fish, establish the largest protected areas in the U.S. Atlantic, and implement America’s primary fishing law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

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Zack Greenberg Officer

Zack Greenberg supports policy development and state and local outreach on conserving forage fish, advancing ecosystem-based fisheries management, and protecting habitat on the U.S. East Coast. Before joining Pew, Greenberg spent five years as a campaign manager with a national consulting firm, where he worked on a variety of federal, state, and local electoral races as well as issues such as improving health care education and siting utility-scale energy projects. He holds a dual bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and history from Northeastern University and a master’s in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School.

Zoe Yuki Goozner Senior Associate

Zoe Yuki Goozner coordinates outreach and policy for Pew’s marine conservation work on the U.S. East Coast. She focuses on protecting coastal marine habitats and their inhabitants by advancing ecosystem-based management. Before joining Pew, Goozner spent five years working in Florida on coral reef restoration and fisheries management. Most of her work combined scientific fieldwork, innovative outreach, and data management in the private, nonprofit, and state government sectors. She holds a bachelor's degree in biological sciences from Occidental College. 

Justin Grubich Officer

Justin Grubich, based in Stuart, Florida, works to conserve Florida’s marine resources, including seagrass and forage fish. Previously, he was an assistant professor of marine biology at the American University in Cairo and a science and technology policy fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. As a National Geographic explorer, he led documentary expeditions of the Nile and Amazon river basins. Grubich holds two International Game Fish Association world records. Grubich earned a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of Miami and a doctorate in fish ecomorphology and biomechanics from Florida State University.

Chad Hanson Officer

Chad Hanson, based near Tallahassee, Florida, analyzes science and policy for Pew’s efforts to conserve coastal and ocean resources in the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. Southeast. His work focuses on protections for oysters, deep-sea corals, and seagrass, and on ensuring sustainable fishing policies. Before joining Pew, Hanson worked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission monitoring fish populations and fishing activity, and as a biologist and analyst for its Division of Marine Fisheries Management. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and a master’s in biological oceanography from Florida State University.

Robert Hayden Associate Manager

Robert Hayden coordinates outreach for Pew’s efforts to conserve ocean and coastal resources on the U.S. West Coast. Before joining Pew, Hayden did community organizing and communications for more than a decade. With Climate Solutions, he worked to identify and engage new audiences for climate and clean energy campaigns throughout the Northwest. He also spent several years with the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, mobilizing support to restore the Columbia-Snake River Basin, which has some of the world’s best habitat for sustaining wild and steelhead salmon. Hayden holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oregon.

Jos Hill Project Director

Jos Hill directs Pew’s campaigns to protect marine life on the U.S. West Coast. This work includes safeguarding coastal estuaries, salt marshes, underwater kelp forests, seagrass meadows, and other important nearshore marine habitat; ensuring sustainable fishing; and protecting sensitive corals, rocky reefs, and sponges from seabed mining.

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Cameron Jaggard Principal Associate

Cameron Jaggard, based in North Palm Beach, Florida, coordinates outreach for Pew’s efforts to conserve the Sunshine State’s coastal and ocean resources, including seagrass and forage fish, and salt marsh in the South Atlantic. Before joining Pew, Jaggard focused on protection and restoration of marine species with the Institute for Fisheries Resources in San Francisco. He also was an environmental consultant responsible for natural resource permitting, wildlife relocations, and habitat monitoring projects in Florida’s Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach counties. Jaggard holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy from Rollins College.

Aaron Kornbluth Senior Officer

Aaron Kornbluth supports Pew’s U.S. marine conservation efforts and works on restoring coastal habitats such as oyster reefs, protecting forage fish, and advancing ecosystem-based management. Kornbluth’s prior work with Pew focused on protecting deep-sea corals and reducing nutrient pollution from industrial animal feeding operations.

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Caitlin Lang Officer

Caitlin Lang develops and implements strategies for localized campaigns. In this role, she works to generate advocacy, outreach, and engagement from local stakeholders in support of Pew’s efforts to protect coastal habitats and ocean life in the U.S. Lang came to Pew in 2008 after serving as a campaign director and field operative for the National Environmental Trust. Her background ranges from working for a chamber of commerce and a downtown development association to running South Carolina’s Lowcountry Campaign for the Democratic Party. Lang holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Carolina.

Gillian Lyons Officer

Gillian Lyons serves as a science and policy analyst for Pew’s efforts to protect and restore California’s coastal habitat. She also works to protect the state’s vanishing kelp forests and implement ecosystem-based management in the waters off California. Before coming to Pew, Lyons was policy director for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition in Portland, Oregon, and legislative director of the National Public Lands Grazing Campaign in Washington, D.C. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Oberlin College and a master’s in environmental studies from the University of Montana.

Steve Marx Senior Officer

Steve Marx leads Pew’s efforts to protect ecologically important coastal and nearshore marine habitat on the U.S. West Coast. He also works to advance implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management in the Pacific and North Pacific.

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Sharon McBreen Officer

Sharon McBreen, based in Orlando, Florida, coordinates outreach for Pew’s efforts to conserve coastal and ocean resources, including oysters; protect deep-sea corals; and ensure sustainable fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. She previously spent 24 years as a reporter and editor for the Orlando Sentinel, covering a wide range of issues important to central Florida. McBreen holds a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and editing from the University of Florida.

Tom Rudolph Officer

Tom Rudolph works to develop policies to ensure sustainable fishing and offshore and coastal habitat protections on the west coasts of the United States and Canada. He also works on emerging threats such as seabed mining in U.S. waters. Before joining Pew, Rudolph worked for the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association (now the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance). His research resulted in several articles in peer-reviewed journals on topics such as fish-discard mortality and bycatch reduction. He has also worked as a deckhand on commercial fishing vessels. Rudolph holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University.

Elizabeth Ruther Principal Associate

Elizabeth Ruther analyzes science and policy to conserve coastal habitats, including estuaries and kelp forests, on the U.S. West Coast. She also works to elevate the importance of coastal habitats in reducing greenhouse gases. Before coming to Pew, Ruther was state-federal relations coordinator for Oregon’s Coastal Management Program and worked as a biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Earlier in her career, she worked in stream and wetlands restoration. Ruther holds bachelor’s degrees in biology and environmental studies from the University of Minnesota and a master’s in environmental science and policy from Northern Arizona University. 

Mike Skuja Manager

Mike Skuja works to protect and restore coastal habitat and fisheries in the northeast Atlantic and develop new partnerships for landscape-level conservation. Before joining Pew, Skuja served as the executive director of Tualatin Riverkeepers, where he focused on deepening the organization’s commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Previously, he worked with Defenders of Wildlife and the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Skuja holds dual bachelor’s degrees in geography and zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s in biodiversity, conservation, and management from the University of Oxford.

Sylvia Troost Senior Manager

Sylvia Troost is a senior manager with Pew’s conserving marine life in the United States project. Her portfolio includes advancing coastal blue carbon management strategies in state climate mitigation and adaptation efforts and helping states leverage the federal Coastal Zone Management Act in support of conservation and resilience goals. Troost also assists with program and campaign management across the project. She previously supported Pew’s oceans conservation work through strategic planning, operations and budgets, and campaign management within the federal fisheries project.

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Yasmin Velez-Sanchez Manager

Yasmin Vélez-Sánchez, based in Fort Worth, Texas, works to conserve U.S. Caribbean coastal and ocean resources and promote sustainable fishing practices through an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management. She also helps direct some of Pew’s inclusion, diversity, and equity efforts. Previously, Vélez-Sánchez was the program director for Fundación Agenda Ciudadana. In addition, she launched Puerto Rico’s first publication detailing legislative candidates’ positions on proposed changes to public education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in public relations from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico.

Tom Wheatley Senior Manager

Tom Wheatley manages Pew’s efforts to expand the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. He also works to protect important habitats such as deep-sea corals and seagrass meadows; conserve and restore oysters; ensure sustainable fishing and robust marine food webs; and safeguard marine resources for the benefit of coastal communities, fishermen, divers, boaters, consumers, and others, and for future generations in the Gulf of Mexico.

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