From the Dean…

Aboard GSO, Spring 2023

Head and shoulder pic of Bontempi

New graduates receive diplomas, incoming students match up with major professors, dormant flowers and trees come alive: spring always brings change to the Narragansett Bay Campus.

This spring, however, ushers in more than the usual cycles. Construction is complete on the new Bay Campus pier, future home to the regional class research vessel Narragansett Dawn, which nears completion in Houma, La.

The pier not only represents a new base for ship operations, but the first step in the transformation of our campus. Soon, groundbreaking will commence on the Ocean Robotics Laboratory, while planning is well underway for the next phase of campus revitalization, including the Ocean Frontiers building to replace the Horn Laboratory and an ocean engineering complex.

We’re also seeing changes to GSO leadership. New Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs Robert Pockalny, Ph.D ’91, who you’ll meet in this issue, succeeds longtime Associate Dean of Students David Smith. And in June the Dean’s office will welcome Associate Dean of Research Kenna Rubin.

GSO’s inaugural class from the online Master of Oceanography program will graduate this May. From near and far, we’ll introduce you to several of its students. You’ll also read about GSO Associate Professor Melissa Omand who is leading a shift in ocean sensors made with biodegradable bioplastics, and learn how our scientists are accelerating discoveries with big data.

GSO alums continue to serve as leaders in ocean science and policy around the world. An overview on the latest in sustainable fisheries strategies features GSO graduates leading international, national and state efforts to protect both ecosystems and fishing communities. This not only sustains finite marine resources, but supports a robust fisheries economy and seafood security. You’ll also meet an alum whose career path was shaped by the demolition of the old Jamestown bridge that spanned Narragansett Bay from 1940 to 2006.

Please enjoy this issue of Aboard GSO and, as always, thank you for your incredible support of our institution

Best wishes,
—Dean Paula Bontempi, Ph.D. ’01