Learn More About the Board Candidates

August 21, 2019

Vice President of Education Candidate Q&A’s

Josh Kohut, PhD
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Q. Please discuss the qualities and experience you possess that make you a strong candidate for the position for which you are running:

My research is focused on observing and understanding highly variable physical processes in the coastal ocean. To accomplish this, I was an early adopter of integrated ocean observatories, and remain at the forefront of their development, operation and use. As Rutgers faculty, it is my responsibility to ensure the new knowledge gained from ocean observing networks has relevancy to stakeholders outside the ocean research community. To honor this commitment, I strive to improve my communication skills to transfer the research to several target audiences, while also facilitating opportunities for students to work alongside stakeholders to ensure their research efforts have impact. I work with MTS Student Members to not only pursue careers utilizing marine technologies, but also to hone their communication skills to engage even more stakeholders. This cooperative experience will serve me well, if I am elected to the office of VP of Education at MTS.

Q. Please indicate one or two key goals that you hope to accomplish in this position over the next three years:

Over my career, I have been surrounded by undergraduate students looking for opportunities to begin and/or advance their career in marine technology. For that reason, I have mentored MTS students and encouraged them to participate in MTS programs. These include international meetings and a technology camp I stood up with the existing VP of education.  These critical opportunities introduce my students to MTS staff, programs, AND MTS member institutions. Even with this effort, I have been unable to connect all interested students to programs and opportunities that will expose them to experiences in marine science and technology.  As VP of education, I will work to support existing and develop a diverse suite of new programs specifically designed to connect eligible undergraduates to opportunities offered by member institutions. I see greater undergraduate participation in MTS as a core motivation to my vision if elected Vice President of Education.     

John Potter, PhD
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Q. Please discuss the qualities and experience you possess that make you a strong candidate for the position for which you are running:

My career, over three decades, has been spent working in and with academic education, bridging University, research laboratories and commercial technology interests. I have worked at the University of California San Diego and on the faculty at the National University of Singapore, teaching undergraduate courses and mentoring higher degree candidates. I have also worked at non-educational research laboratories, such as the British Antarctic Survey, and in various roles at NATO maritime research centers. I believe that my experience and familiarity with both academic cultures and wider stakeholders in businesses and research centers provides me with a unique and powerful perspective to drive increased educational motivation and involvement in marine technology, a role I believe is pivotal to the future both of the society and for our species as a whole. The young scientists and engineers in academia now are the future leadership of our business, and indeed our world – addressing the task of responsibly exploiting and protecting our maritime environment.

Q. Please indicate one or two key goals that you hope to accomplish in this position over the next three years:

As technology moves ahead apace, the very means by which we communicate and interact are changing radically. This opens up new and exciting opportunities to engage students and academic interest in our maritime environment, reaching out through social media and other new tools. Traditionally, the marine environment has played second fiddle to space, the latter having attracted the most attention and proved the more inspiring. I’d like to change that. Indeed, while the exploration of space is a wonderful and lofty goal, the exploration of our own blue spaces on this planet are just as inspiring, and much more critical to our well being as a species and the well being of our planetary ecosystem as a whole in the coming decades. 

Nancy Ruzycki, PhD
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Q. Please discuss the qualities and experience you possess that make you a strong candidate for the position for which you are running:

I have over 25 years of experience in K12 education developing curriculum and professional development for teachers.  I work across and within multiple disciplines of STEM to bring research-based teaching strategies and technology into classrooms.

Q. Please indicate one or two key goals that you hope to accomplish in this position over the next three years:

a) create a professional development module for teachers to educate them on MTS and all that is offered

b) create a pipeline of students from high school to college around STEM focused marine technology and MTS service clubs.

Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Candidate Q&A’s

Jerry Miller, PhD
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Q. Please discuss the qualities and experience you possess that make you a strong candidate for the position for which you are running:

The 50th anniversary issue of the MTS Journal recounts statements made at the time of MTS incorporation in the early 1960s when its founders envisioned an organization that would “contribute to the national welfare.” Then as now, our marine science and technology community was engaged with government on issues of public importance. Throughout my career I have worked in and with both the public and private sectors and across the US and abroad. My current consulting activities involve individuals and institutions in Africa, Europe, and South America, as well as North America. I currently have engagements with ministers of science and technology, heads of government agencies, and legislators.  Unlike in the early 1960s, our community’s capabilities and interests are now far more extensive topically and geographically, and are key to growth of the blue economy on which an increasing fraction of the global population depends. I look forward to putting my experience to work for the MTS to enhance our contributions to welfare not just nationally but globally.

Q. Please indicate one or two key goals that you hope to accomplish in this position over the next three years:

A. The inherent strength and potential of MTS lies in the talents of its members and their ability to apply those talents individually and collectively to contribute positively to society. I will work with the MTS leadership and its relevant professional committees to pursue three interdependent goals: to foster growth of membership in underrepresented sectors, to highlight and make available members’ expertise to policymakers, and to vigorously represent MTS and its capabilities to leaders and the public around the globe as well as in the US. Having been both a scientist and a policymaker, I know that the former can benefit in multiple ways from doors being opened to the world of government and public affairs, and the latter can benefit substantially from engagement with scientists and technologists when their talents are suitably articulated. My vision is an MTS that is fully attuned and engaged in governmental and public arenas that are key to success in marine science and technology.

Joel Widder
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Q. Please discuss the qualities and experience you possess that make you a strong candidate for the position for which you are running:

My entire professional career, in government and in the private sector, has been about developing and executing impactful strategies that effectively advocate for science and technology. I have become an expert in the budget and legislative development processes employed by the Executive and Legislative Branches of the Federal Government.  I have also spent my career developing, nurturing, and maintaining a network of integrity-backed working relationships on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and on both sides of the aisle. 

In recent years, in private practice, I have focused on representing clients with significant interests in the ocean science and technology enterprise.  While I have not been a member of the Marine Technology Society (MTS) until this year, I have either been a member of or worked with other societies or associations with similar interests throughout my 35-year career in public policy advocacy.  I have the strategic acumen and experience to help the MTS raise its profile with key decision-makers.  More importantly, I have the ability to make MTS more effective at influencing the development of public policies and budget decisions important to its members.

Q. Please indicate one or two key goals that you hope to accomplish in this position over the next three years:

As the Vice President for Government and Public Affairs, it would be my objective to raise the profile and increase the effectiveness of the MTS in its advocacy for ocean science and technology matters.  I would use this position to work with the membership to create a coherent public policy agenda of government relations priorities. With MTS priorities in hand, I would develop a strategy along with a set of tactics that MTS members would collectively employ that would help accomplish the Society’s public policy agenda.

In the fall of this year, the Administration is holding an invitation-only ocean science and technology summit. Such an event could be an important event for MTS that would enable MTS leadership to showcase its policy agenda and be seen by the summit’s organizers as an influential audience with an agenda that deserves continued attention and support. As Vice President for Government Relations, it would be my goal to develop a public policy apparatus for MTS that would enable the Society to act quickly to take advantage of this and other similar opportunities to increase its visibility and influence.  

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