Graduate Students

Theresa Davenport

B.S. Gettysburg College

M.S. Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Theresa is a benthic community ecologist interested in informing coastal restoration using targeted experimental and modeling approaches. She is examining the role of biodiversity, and/or other characteristics of resilient coastal ecosystems, in mediating the impacts of stressors on coastal habitats and their ability to function and provide ecosystem functions and services. She is currently comparing the capacity of oyster reefs with different characteristics to augment fish production. She is co-advised by Dr. Randall Hughes. For her Master’s degree at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Theresa examined the biological impacts of living shoreline construction on benthic biota. Prior to joining the Grabowski lab, she developed strategies for monitoring and adaptive management of restoration as part of the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) process following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


Kelsey Schultz

B.S. The Ohio State University

M.S. Northeastern University

Kelsey graduated from The Ohio State University in 2014 with a B.S. in Biology. Directly following graduation, she entered into the Three Seas Master’s program at Northeastern, where she focused on the effects of oyster density, biomass, and tidal height on biogeochemical cycling on natural oyster reefs. After receiving her Master’s degree, Kelsey was hired as the research technician for the Grabowski lab, where she worked for 2.5 years before transitioning into her PhD in the fall of 2018. Kelsey’s dissertation research uses a SES perspective of the oyster industry to understand how to more efficiently provide ecosystem services to increase human well-being and ecosystem health and function.


Eric Schneider

B.S. University of Massachusetts, Amherst

M.S. University of Rhode Island

Eric graduated from University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a B.S. in Natural Resource Sciences in 2000. He then worked as a research technician in a variety of systems for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UMass Cooperative Research Unit, and National Park Service, as well for Wake Forest University in the Galapagos Archipelago, before pursuing a Master’s Degree at the University of Rhode Island (URI). After completing his M.S. at URI in 2005, Eric began his career at the Rhode Island (RI) Dept. of Environmental Management (DEM) in the Office of Water Resources as biologist in the before moving to the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) in 2008. At DMF, Eric has broad habitat-related responsibilities focusing on habitat assessment, protection, and restoration. Since 2014, he has led the DMF oyster restoration program and worked collaboratively with Drs. Jonathan Grabowski and Randall Hughes, and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on oyster-related research in RI. Eric is co-advised by Drs. Grabowski and Hughes and is broadly interested in fisheries, conservation, and community ecology. In the Grabowski lab, Eric is particularly interested using standardized survey and analytical approaches to quantify fish and mobile invertebrate production of restored oyster reefs, as well as assessing how restoration practices, oyster reef community properties, and environmental factors influence restoration success. He’s also particularly interested using approaches that consider both social and ecological aspects to develop restoration plans for shellfish in RI.


Helen Cheng 

B.S. Stony Brook University

M.S. University of New Hampshire

Helen graduated from Stony Brook University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences in 2009. After completing her undergraduate studies, Helen interned on Nantucket, MA at the Maria Mitchell Association and subsequently, in Sarasota, Florida at Mote Marine Laboratory, before moving on to pursue a M.S degree in Zoology at the University of New Hampshire. At the University of New Hampshire, Helen’s graduate work entailed studying the environmental influences on American horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) behavior and distribution in the Great Bay Estuary, N.H. U.S.A, and initiating a citizen science program to survey for horseshoe crabs in New Hampshire, completing her Master’s work in 2014. Afterwards, Helen worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Sea Grant Office as a John A. Knauss Fellow in 2015, where she was exposed to marine policy at the federal level and worked on issues relating to coastal resilience and coastal communities. After the fellowship, Helen worked for New York Sea Grant as the Coastal Resilience Extension Specialist based in New York City. Her work in extension and outreach included translating and communicating relevant science of climate and weather as well as preparedness information to urban coastal communities and translating information of local urban ecological issues to, overall, inform new science research and decision-making. As a PhD student in the Grabowski Lab at Northeastern University, Helen is looking forward to enhancing her knowledge and experience, working on issues relating to coastal and estuarine ecosystems, social-ecological issues, and fisheries management.