Graduate Students

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.


Sarah Gibbs

B.S. Northeastern University

Sarah graduated from Northeastern University with a B.S. in Environmental Science in 2021. She is interested in the social-ecological dynamics of fisheries and improving stakeholder engagement in management. Her current research focuses on identifying the adaptive capacity of commercial fishing fleets in the Gulfs of Alaska and Maine.


Alicia Miller

B.S. The George Washington University

M.S. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Alicia graduated with a B.S. in Biology from The George Washington University in 2003. After completing her undergraduate studies, she worked as a taxonomy technician for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Systematics Laboratory at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Two years later she relocated to NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) in Woods Hole, MA, and would continue her career over the next 15+ years working on a variety of fisheries issues including collecting and processing fisheries and oceanographic data, developing ecosystem-based surveys, utilizing tagging data to better understand the marine migration of Atlantic salmon, working to include environmental variables in modeling population dynamics, developing data visualization techniques, and modeling entanglement risk of fixed gear fisheries on large whales. While working at the NEFSC she also completed a M.S. in 2010 from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School of Marine Science and Technology where her research investigated the effects of epizootic shell disease on early life history of the American lobster. Alicia joined the Grabowski Lab in 2021 and hopes to focus her dissertation research around her current work with North Atlantic right whales.


Evan Prasky

B.S. Framingham State University

Evan studies the complex socio-ecological interactions between humans and sharks. His research focuses specifically on shark depredation and how it impacts the perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs humans have on shark populations in the Gulf of Mexico. Evan holds BS degrees in both Biology and Environmental Science & Policy from Framingham State University and previously was enlisted in the United States Army where he served for three years.