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Advisory Board

Dana Beach Carina Gerscovich Katharine S. “Kitty” Robinson
Djuanna Brockington Toya Hampton Green Paul Sandifer
M. Richard (Rick) DeVoe Darlene Clark Hine Ann Treanor Ward Treat
Martin Erbele Paula Keener Christoph Vogel
Debra J. Gammons Catherine LaCour

Dana Beach

Dana Beach is the Executive Director and Founder of the Coastal Conservation League. He graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College and earned his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Since establishing the Coastal Conservation League in 1989, Dana has received numerous awards, honors, and national recognition for his work in environmental studies. He is the recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, the most prestigious honor in South Carolina for his outstanding contributions to the state. He was named one of CHARLIE Magazine’s 50 Most Progressive People of 2014, and in 1998, he was named one of 10 Heroes for the Planet by Time Magazine’s Time for Kids.


Djuanna Brockington

Djuanna Brockington is the Director of Empowerment for East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO) in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. She earned her bachelor of arts in government and international studies from the University of South Carolina and has a Master of Arts in Counseling from Webster University. Djuanna has more than 20 years experience working with children and families through various social services agencies. She’s also a writer, specializing in fiction and creative non-fiction.



M. Richard (Rick) DeVoe

M. Richard (Rick) DeVoe joined the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, an independent state agency, in 1980, and has served as its Executive Director since 1997. The Consortium is charged with managing and administering the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program and similar programs for the state of South Carolina, and as such generates science-based information to enhance the practical use and conservation of coastal and marine resources that foster a sustainable economy and environment for the state of South Carolina and the region. Rick is also a member of the Masters in Public Administration Program Advisory Board, Associate Faculty Member of the Graduate Program in Marine Biology, and Adjunct Faculty Member with the Marine Environmental Studies Graduate Program, all at the College of Charleston; a Research Associate of the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine Biology and Coastal Research at the University of South Carolina; and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Center for Marine and Wetland Studies at Coastal Carolina University. He earned degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University (B.S., marine biology), CUNY/City College of New York (M.A., biological oceanography), and the University of Rhode Island (M.M.A., marine policy).

Rick serves as a member of a number of national, regional, and state boards and committees, including the Executive Planning Team for the Governor’s South Atlantic (Ocean) Alliance, the Board of Directors of the SouthEast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA), the Board of Advisors for the Southeast Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE-Southeast), and the Regulatory Task Force for Coastal Clean Energy (South Carolina Energy Office). In addition, he served as a member of the South Carolina Shoreline Change Advisory Committee (SCDHEC-Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management), and the Steering Committee for the South Carolina Ocean Planning Initiative (SCDHEC-OCRM). In addition to managing Sea Grant efforts in South Carolina, Rick’s professional interests focus on coastal and marine resource policy, state and regional coastal ocean planning and policy, ocean observing, marine aquaculture policy, science-to-management linkages, and science communication and education.


Martin Erbele

Martin Erbele is a recent graduate of the College, earning a Master's of Public Administration and an Urban and Regional Planning Certificate in 2013. Martin is assistant floodplain coordinator for Charleston County where he works closely with thirty jurisdictions and local municipalities on the Charleston Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Currently he also serves as a board member on the College of Charleston Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. During his time at the College, Martin served as president of the Graduate Student Association and founded the Urban Studies Club. He additionally conducted internships with the Charleston County Planning and Zoning Office, the Charleston County Building Services Administration, and Project IMPACT.


Debra J. Gammons

Debra J. Gammons is the Director of the Office of Diversity Initiatives and holds a Distinguished Visiting Professor position at the Charleston School of Law. She earned her bachelor of arts in English from the College of Charleston and her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Debra’s phenomenal leadership skills and initiative are evident from her involvement in student government as an undergraduate and in law school. Debra served as president of Student Government at the College of Charleston and president of the Student Bar at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Debra has continued her service in volunteer and professional work as a director on several boards. Her previous leadership roles include serving as a member of the Board of Trustees at the College of Charleston, the S.C. Bar Board of Governors, and president of the Greenville County Bar Association.  She continues to actively practice law.


Carina Gerscovich

Carina Gerscovich works as a Financial Advisor at Edward Jones in Charleston, S.C. She earned her Master of Public Administration in 2010 from the College of Charleston with a specialization in Arts Management. She also earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music from the College of Charleston in 2008. She has worked for Edward Jones for three years. In her position as a Financial Advisor she has become an active member of the community servicing both her clients and the community with fundraising, event management, and establishing financial solutions to reach goals. She currently serves as a member of the steering committee for Possibilities Without Borders, a local non-profit, and she looks forward to serving on the Advisory Board of the Graduate School.


Toya Hampton Green

Toya Hampton Green is an attorney at the Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd Law Firm focusing her practice on school district bond financing. She earned her law degree from the University of Miami School of Law where she graduated with cum laude honors; she earned her Bachelor of Arts in communications and public relations from the University of Washington. In her 13 years of experience as a lawyer, Toya has served as the Director of Policy and Legal Services at the South Carolina School Boards Association and as a Board Member and Chair of the Charleston County School District Board of Trustees. She is an active member of the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association.


Darlene Clark Hine is Board of Trustees Professor of African American Studies and Professor of History at Northwestern University. She has previously served as president of the Organization of American Historians and as president of the Southern Historical Association. Dr. Hine is a pioneering scholar in the field of African American women's history and was just named one of ten winners of the 2013 National Humanities Medals by President Barack Obama. She has written or edited some thirty books and monographs and more than fifty journal articles and book chapters that examine the intricate workings of race, class, and gender in the United States. Her two-volume encyclopedia, Black Women in America, is the most frequently referenced compendium of black women's history.


Paula Keener

Paula Keener is a Marine Biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Ocean Acidification Program and Director of the Education Program for NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Paula received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston and her Master of Science Degree in Marine Biology from the University of Charleston. She conducted extensive larval and adult fish research off the Southeastern coast of the U.S. and was a research team member in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History Western Atlantic Mangrove Program off Belize, Central America. She works to fulfill NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program research plan, including collaborations at the interagency and international levels. She also leads teams of scientists and educators in reaching out in new ways to educators, students, and the public through NOAA ocean exploration expeditions to enhance ocean sciences literacy through educational products and professional development at national and international levels.

Paula is serving as a Lead Reviewer on the first United Nations World Ocean Assessment, is a member of the European Union-United States Joint Consultative Group, Marine Working Group, and is the Interagency Team Lead for Ocean Exploration for the National Ocean Policy. She served as a member of The President’s Panel on Ocean Exploration and as a member of the National Research Council Committee on Exploration of the Seas. She is a Past-President of the National Marine Educators Association and founding member and Past-President of the South Carolina Marine Educators Association. She served as a member of the National Science Foundation’s Steering Workshop Committee and Implementation Committee for the Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) and serves on the National COSEE Advisory Council. She served as a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History’s Ocean Hall Statement of Purpose Team and is a member of the NOAA Education Council. She serves as a writer and editor for scientific and technical publications. She has spent over 300 days at sea studying the ocean and its inhabitants.

Just prior to her position with NOAA, Paula served for nine years as the Director of the National Science Foundation-funded South Carolina Statewide Systemic Initiative Math & Science Hub located at the College of Charleston.


Catherine Cook LaCour

Bringing 18 years of leadership experience to this role, Catherine LaCour is Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing and member of Blackbaud’s executive leadership team, and is responsible for Blackbaud’s global brand, corporate communications, public relations, event strategy, marketing services, and other strategic functions in order to catalyze new growth, accelerate innovation and deliver an outstanding customer experience. She joined Blackbaud in 2009 serving as the company’s director of channel marketing for its Enterprise Business Unit, while also serving as a member of its Global Management Team. Before joining Blackbaud, Catherine was the vice president of marketing and product management at Regent Education, a software provider in the higher education space, where she led branding, marketing communications, demand generation, sales enablement, product direction and customer experience initiatives. Prior to Regent, she served in other various marketing leadership roles, including overseeing marketing and public relations practices for a consulting firm that served the public and private sector. Catherine has a Bachelor of Science from the College of Charleston and a Master of Business Administration from American Graduate School of International Management. After receiving her MBA, she worked in Africa for the International Telecommunications Union, an arm of the United Nations. She is a Commissioner of the Women’s Refugee Commission, a non-profit advocating for laws, policies and programs to improve the lives and protect the rights of refuge women and children, and she currently sits on the College of Charleston Graduate School’s Advisory Board.


Katharine S.

Katharine S. “Kitty” Robinson is President and CEO of Historic Charleston Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the architectural, historical, and cultural character of Charleston and its Lowcountry environs. Ms. Robinson has been at the forefront of preservation on both the national and local levels for more than three decades, addressing key civic challenges and carrying out HCF’s mission. After graduating from the College of Charleston, Ms. Robinson was asked to be on the international board of the Association of Junior Leagues and made numerous trips around the country, conducting board orientations as well as leadership and goal-setting seminars. She was the Historic Charleston Foundation’s Festival Director from 1987 to 1993, during which time she increased visibility and funds for the Foundation. Ms. Robinson was then named the Director of Development at Porter-Gaud School where she led advancement efforts through 2000.

Currently serving in a leadership capacity on more than a dozen civic boards and organizations, Ms. Robinson is a board member of The Citadel School of Business Advisory Board, Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Charleston Heritage Federation, Civic Design Center, Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie Trust, International African-American Museum, College of Charleston Graduate School Advisory Board, The Art Institute of Charleston’s Professional Advisory Committee, Engaging Creative Minds Board, Partners Network of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Peninsula Advisory Commission. Her previous community involvement has included serving as Board President for the Center for Women, the Charleston Speech and Hearing Center, and the Charleston Tennis Club. Ms. Robinson also served on the board of the Gibbes Museum of Art and was a member of the City of Charleston’s Board of Architectural Review.


Paul Sandifer

Dr. Paul Sandifer is a part-time Research Associate (Professor) in the School of Sciences and Mathematics at the College of Charleston where he conducts research and advises graduate students.  He is a coastal ecologist with a broad background in research, natural resource management, science policy, and the intersection of marine ecosystem health and human health.  His prior career includes nearly 12 years in NOAA, where he served as a Senior Scientist, Science Advisor to the NOAA Administrator, Chief Science Advisor for NOAA’s National Ocean Service, and was responsible for development of NOAA’s Oceans and Human Health Program.  Before NOAA, he worked 31 years with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources where he served in numerous science and management positions including as agency director.  Recently, he led establishment of a NOAA-wide effort in ecological forecasting, initial stages of development of NOAA’s RESTORE Act Science Program for the Gulf of Mexico, creation of NOAA’s highly regarded scientific integrity policy, and played key roles in the development and implementation of the National Ocean Policy. He served on the National Academy of Sciences’ Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability as well as the National Academy of Medicine’s Roundtable on Environmental Health Science, Research and Medicine.  Dr. Sandifer also was Co-Chair of the Ocean Science and Technology Interagency Policy Committee of the National Ocean Council, and has been a member of numerous other boards, committees and commissions including the US Commission on Ocean Policy, Marine Board of the National Research Council, U.S. National Committee for the Census of Marine Life, and Founding Board of Directors of the South Carolina Aquarium.   He is an Honorary Life Member of the World Aquaculture Society, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a NOAA Research Fellow (retired), Fellow of the Ecological Society of American, Emeritus Member of the National Association of Marine Laboratories, recipient of the Order of the Palmetto (South Carolina’s highest civilian award), and was named Alumnus of the Year by the College in 2003.  Dr. Sandifer has been an active participant in the Marine Biology MS program since its inception and also in the Master’s program in Environmental Studies. Other service to the College of Charleston includes two terms on the Board of Directors of the College of Charleston Foundation, two years as Director of the Graduate Program in Marine Biology, and membership on the Advisory Board for the Graduate School since its establishment.


Ann Treanor Ward Treat

Ann Treanor Ward Treat is a 2009 graduate of the Masters in Public Administration program at the College of Charleston, concentrating in Non-profit Management. Her undergraduate degrees were in Philosophy and Psychology, also from the College of Charleston. In 2016 Ann left the traditional work force after working in development and higher education for more than a decade.  She is now currently at home with her family and working on her own business, Charleston Hats, where she designs and create bespoke hats & fascinator.  Ann is also an active member of the Junior League of Charleston. She and her family live in West Ashley.


Christoph Vogel

Christoph Vogel is an atmospheric physicist and program manager at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, and at Oak Ridge Associated Universities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In his current position, Christoph conducts research and provides expertise on air-surface exchange, atmospheric dispersion, wind energy, and air quality. He earned a B.S. in Physics from the College of Charleston, and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a member of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union.

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