About us

GOMMEA's mission is to connect people to the Gulf of Maine through education and experiences.

Board of Directors

as of 3/1/2019


Jen Kennedy (2017 – 2020) – President
Adam Baukus (2018 – 2021) – Past President
Deb Debiegun (2017 – 2020) – President Elect
Elissa Koskela (2017 – 2020) – Secretary
Sara Ellis (2017 – 2020) – Treasurer


Richard Baldwin (2016 – 2019)
Mike Doherty (2018 – 2021)
Katie Flavin (2019 – 2021)
Tara Hicks-Johnson (2017 – 2020)
Anneliese (Lili) Pugh (2017 – 2020) – Membership Manager
Ann Reid (2018 – 2021)
Thom Smith (2018 – 2021)
Cassie Stymiest (2018 – 2021) – Newsletter Editor and Web Manager
Vacant (2016 – 2019)
Vacant (2016 – 2019)


Dick Baldwin

Dick (Richard) Baldwin is a recently retired physical therapist who has enjoyed solo sailing most of his life. After selling his boat he started sending miniature unmanned GPS monitor sailboats into the Atlantic Ocean with schools to teach about ocean wind & currents. These boat are very capable sailors and most end up crossing the Atlantic teaching many lessons in oceanography and international relations.

Adam Baukus, Past President

Adam grew up in NH and ME, hooked on fishing from an early age.  After experiencing the Isles of Shoals laboratory on Appledore Island through UNH he dove headfirst into marine biology.  Working at various marine labs around the country, he landed at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, ME. His current research focuses on marine fisheries, studying the distribution, abundance and behavior of a variety of finfish and shellfish species, such as cod, monkfish, herring and shrimp.  The work is interdisciplinary so he collaborates with a diverse group of people and applies what they learn to things like fishing gear design to reduce bycatch, increase the understanding of ecological systems and increased knowledge and opportunities in seafood marketing. When not on a fishing boat for work or pleasure, he is at home tackling his two boys and his St. Bernard.

Deb Debiegun, President Elect

Deb enjoys networking with other marine education professionals throughout the Gulf of Maine region and with the national chapter. Deb’s professional background includes teaching natural sciences, environmental consulting, and physical oceanography. Deb struggled with whether “to become” a research scientist, engineer, or teacher. She happily balances aspects of each. Primarily motivated by sharing her passion for the interconnectedness of nature and what humans can do to better our relationship with the ocean and nature, she currently finds inspiration from the Maine Environmental Educators Association, through teaching science classes at Maine College of Art, and through volunteering with Friends of Casco Bay. Deb’s “other” time is spent backcountry skiing, backyard composting, raising her children, playing with dogs, reading poetry, hiking, biking, sailing, and enjoying bluegrass music.

Mike Doherty

Mike has lived in NH all his life, and studied Environmental Biology at Plymouth State University. His passion for marine biology came out of a college invertebrate zoology class. Mike says, “That is certainly my most memorable class, though in all honesty I didn’t have a lot of love for it at the time.” He’s been
with the Seacoast Science Center as an employee for about 4 years, and before that an intern. His primary responsibilities at the Center have all been involved with education, and it is a job he greatly enjoys. He enjoys diving, snorkeling, and swimming and has also been lucky enough to dive in the warm waters off Hawaii, but he does prefer our cooler Gulf of Maine!

Sara Ellis, Treasurer

Sara has studied marine biology since 1981, researching a wide variety of animals of including whales, seals, lobsters, and octopus. She enjoys sharing her passion about the ocean with people of all ages and is a seasonal naturalist at the Seacoast Science Center. She is an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Southern Maine teaching biology and marine biology to undergraduate students, covering topics from cells to ecosystems. Sara has written articles on marine mammals, fisheries, oceanography, and biodiversity for magazines, newspapers, and scientific journals. She has served as a judge for From the Bow Seat’s Ocean Awareness Student Contest since its inception in 2011.  Her overarching goals are to instill a sense of wonder in others and inspire stewardship of the marine environment.

Katie Flavin

Katie joined the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Education team in October 2008. She is currently the LabVenture Visit Manager and you will often find her working with middle school students during their LabVenture programs in the Cohen Center for Interactive Learning. She grew up in Long Island, New York and has felt a deep connection to the ocean ever since she can remember. She pursued marine biology at Long Island University and has had many marine ecology and education experiences since then. During college, she took a semester at sea aboard the Schooner Harvey Gamage and learned about trout aquaculture at the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery. She worked seasonally for the NY Department of Environmental Conservation in the shellfish department, where she sampled and tested waters around Long Island. Katie taught hands-on marine science classes and summer camp with Cornell Cooperative Extension and taught at Marine Lab in Key Largo, Florida before settling down in Maine. Now she enjoys working with students from Maine and getting them excited about science. Katie also enjoys gardening, kayaking, hiking, fishing, and camping with her family.

Tara Hicks Johnson

Tara Hicks Johnson moved to New Hampshire from Honolulu with her husband Paul Johnson and their two kids, Keira who is 12, and Ian, 9. Currently at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire, she is the Outreach Specialist, responsible for educational and public outreach programs and events such as Seacoast SeaPerch, Ocean Discovery Day, and various camps and school events. Previously, Tara was the Outreach Specialist for the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she organized the biennial Open House event, handled media relations for the school, and ran the Hawaii Ocean Sciences Bowl, the Aloha Bowl. She also worked for the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto (where she was born and raised). Tara’s BSc is in Geophysics from the University of Western Ontario, and her MS is from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Geology and Geophysics where she studied Meteorites.

Jen Kennedy, President

Jen grew up in Rochester, NY, but has always loved the water and being outdoors. From an early age, she had a particular interest in whales. After graduating from Cornell, she moved to New England for a whale research internship. This turned into a position working on a whale watch vessel in New Hampshire as a naturalist. Along the way, she also received her MS from UNH.  In 2001, she co-founded Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, where she serves as Executive Director. The organization works to protect marine life in the Gulf of Maine through research, education and inspiring action. Jen loves being involved in GOMMEA and being inspired by people from all over northern New England who are passionate about education, research and conservation. Jen lives in Eliot, ME and enjoys hiking, running, gardening and spending time with her family.

Elissa Koskela, Secretary

After watching an episode of 3-2-1 Contact on PBS, Elissa decided at a young age that she should pursue a career on the water.  Growing up in Rhode Island, there were ample opportunities to visit the beach and inspect the rocky shore. This exploration led north for college where Elissa graduated from Maine Maritime Academy with a Marine Science degree.  After several years as an outdoor marine educator, she eventually brought this love of the ocean into the classroom. Elissa currently teaches Math and Earth Science to sixth grade students at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, ME.  When not with a group of students, Elissa enjoys scouting wild Maine in hiking boots, wearing snowshoes, on skis or floating with a paddle. She is also content on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea.

Anneliese (Lili) Pugh

Lili Pugh recently left the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center as their K-12 Education Program Coordinator after 6 years of filling this role.  She has a Master’s degree in Oceanography from the University of Maine and has many years of experience as an informal educator. She taught several years as a Teacher Naturalist at Massachusetts Audubon Society and has been, and is currently, a swim and ski coach.  She completed the Maine Volunteer Master Naturalist program in 2012 and enjoys being outside, especially by the water, whether fresh or salt. She is the mother of two high school students who keep her busy when not working. Lili lives by the Sheepscot River and loves to watch the changing of the tide.

Ann Reid

Ann is a longtime GOMMEA member and resident of NH. Ann has poured countless volunteer hours into local groups around Great Bay. Ann was the coordinator for the Great Bay Coast Watch (GBCW), in which volunteers monitored 20 sites in Great Bay Estuary for water quality parameters. Ann also volunteered with the UNH Marine Docent Program. In addition to marine stewardship, Ann is involved in community organizations, enjoys travel, and enjoys time with her children and grandchildren.

Thom Smith

Thom Smith has been an elementary educator for the last eleven years, and is currently teaching fifth grade in Sutton, New Hampshire.  He has an Early Childhood Education degree, and a Masters in Educational Leadership. In 2016, he was awarded the Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.  During his sabbatical he created a 24-lesson marine science unit on the rocky shore, available at the Seacoast Science Center’s website.  In 2018, he was awarded an Ocean Stewardship Award from the New England Aquarium (Honorable Mention). He is thankful for his best friend and wife, Amy, and their eight children.  When he’s not teaching, Thom enjoys spending time with family, writing poetry and stories, and enjoying the vacation world we live in here in New England.

Cassie Stymiest, Newsletter Editor and Web Manager

Cassie Stymiest is the Program Director for the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation and Educational Passages. She works with scientists, students, and fishermen to deploy ocean monitoring systems. Her main focus is student built drifters and miniboats. Both have GPS trackers as they drift and sail across the ocean. Working with students to build them, fishermen to deploy them, and scientists to use the data to validate models, she also helps coordinate the data system so the tracks can be followed in realtime online. She’s Past Chair of the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative (NEOSEC), and was previously the Program Manager for NERACOOS.