Meet the Staff
Staff members may be contacted by writing:
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
10 Ocean Science Circle
Savannah GA 31411
calling (912) 598-2345 or faxing (912) 598-2367.
Staff direct phone numbers and e-mail addresses are included below:
Sarah Fangman, Gray's Reef Superintendent.
Sarah Fangman is the Superintendent for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She has been with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries since 1998, first as Science Coordinator for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and then as Program Coordinator for the Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region. Originally from Minneapolis, Minn, Sarah moved to Vermont to complete her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies and Biology at Middlebury College. She completed her Master of Science in Marine Affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. During the completion of her Masters, Sarah had an internship with NOAA and then was awarded a place in NOAA's Presidential Management Fellowship Program. She has worked with NOAA ever since. She is also a NOAA Advanced Working Diver and Divemaster, and has been a certified diver since college.
Jennifer Day, Acting Deputy Superintendent.
Jennifer Day joined Gray's Reef in February 2015 as Acting Deputy Superintendent through a NOAA leadership development program rotational assignment. Jennifer came to the Sanctuary from the Great Lakes where she served as NOAA's Great Lakes Regional Coordinator. With her home base in Ann Arbor, MI, Jennifer worked to facilitate collaborative projects and activities across NOAA and with other organizations in the Great Lakes region. Before coming to NOAA in 2009, she served as director of public affairs for the International Joint Commission, a cross border treaty organization with Canada. Jennifer received a B.A. in public relations from Otterbein University in Ohio and an M.S. in Environmental Policy and Behavior from the University of Michigan focusing her research on intergovernmental collaboration. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys racing sailboats, exploring Savannah and playing in the ocean.
Jody Patterson, Administrative Assistant.
Joining Gray's Reef in February 2009 as an administrative volunteer, Jody's ambition is to encourage environmental conservation through increased community involvement in our conservation efforts. A native of SC and recent transplant from Atlanta, her background is in workers compensation insurance and accounting; however she decided a pursuit of one of her life's passions in environmental conservation was a more worthwhile calling. Jody is an organic gardener, naturalist and community volunteer for numerous local organizations. She began working for Gray's Reef in June 2009 as the Administrative Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator and has since begun development of multiple volunteer programs aimed at increasing community involvement and support for our conservation objectives. Jody also manages the administrative office, supports all aspects of programs, coordinates travel and public events, and smiles frequently because she loves her job.
Budget and Information Technology
Debbie Meeks, Financial & IT Coordinator / Webmaster.
Debbie Meeks serves as Financial and IT Coordinator and Webmaster for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She joined the staff in June 2005. As Financial Coordinator, she is responsible for providing operations support for all financial operations of the organization, along with procurement, and monitoring of sub-awards. As IT Coordinator, Debbie is responsible for the maintenance and security of the work stations, server and network infrastructure in the Gray's Reef offices. As the Gray's Reef Webmaster, she is responsible for the design, development and maintenance of the organization's website. Debbie's prior information technology experience locally includes 15 years with Union Camp as a Systems Analyst and Project Manager and two years with H.O. Systems as a software developer for wireless communications. Debbie, who moved to Savannah in 1984, is a Georgia native. She holds a BBA in Finance and Banking/Accounting from Valdosta State University, a Microcomputer Specialist Degree from Savannah Technical College, and has completed work towards a MS in Computer Science. Debbie also has experience as an entrepreneur, having co-owned and managed The Monogram Place, a custom embroidery and monogram business/retail shop.
George Sedberry, Southeast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region, Sanctuary Science Coordinator.
George Sedberry is Sanctuary Science Coordinator for the Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region of the Office of Marine Sanctuaries. His interests and experience are in the biology, conservation and management of marine fishes, as well as deep-sea biology and coral-reef ecology. Most of his research has concentrated on reefs of subtropical and temperate waters off the southeastern U.S., but he has conducted research on Marine Protected Areas in Belize and Madeira, and on population biology of fishes from the North and South Atlantic, Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, and the western South Pacific. He was a member of the US National Committee for the recently-completed International Census of Marine Life, and he currently serves on the Scientific and Statistical Committee, the Marine Protected Areas Expert Workgroup and the Habitat and Environmental Protection Advisory Panel of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. He is an Adjunct Professor at the College of Charleston and the University of Georgia's Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, and has authored over 100 publications on marine fishes and ecosystems.
Jenny Vander Pluym, Acting Research Coordinator.
Jenny Vander Pluym was born, raised, and now returns often to St. Louis, MO, which is a great little city (don't tell anyone, though). If you can believe it, I began my interest in being a marine biologist as a 9 year old watching Jacques Cousteau, so after 22 years I finally moved to the coast upon graduating from University of Wisconsin, Madison in December 1996 to work on Big Pine Key, FL at Newfound Harbor Marine Institue/Seacamp. That began a 4.5 year career in outdoor education that took me to places such as: the Florida Keys, San Gabriel Mountains, Catalina Island, and San Jacinto Mountains. Although I thoroughly enjoyed every one of those years and met my husband along the way, I felt as if I had gotten away from DOING science. I switched gears and moved back to Florida working as a divemaster, MRFSS sampler, and environmental consultant. I also worked for NMFS as a fisheries observer in the tuna longline fishery in Hawaii and the many fisheries of the Bering Sea. Along the way I decided to head back to school and completed a masters degree in marine science at North Carolina State University with Dr. David Eggleston. After defending my thesis in Spring of 2006, I began working with NOAA as a research technician and science diver at the Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, also known as the Beaufort Lab. In the 8 years I have been at the Beaufort Lab I have expanded my duties from solely research oriented to also include scientific communications. For the next four months or so I will be combining my experience in conducting research and communicating our findings to the public while working with Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary as the Research Coordinator.
Alison Scott, Research Program Specialist.
After graduating from Emory University in May 2014, Alison Scott began working at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She is working
on the acoustic telemetry project and is particularly interested in the detections of visiting species from all along the East coast. She is also helping topside
of the R/V Sam Gray and R/V Joe Ferguson. Alison is a rescue diver and is preparing for her NOAA diver certification.
Her interest in Marine Biology and environmental management stems from numerous education and work experiences including; researching iron acquisition and carbon
metabolism in Vibrio fisheri at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and researching the biogeography of corals, sponges and algae in Discovery Bay, Jamaica
with Stony Brook University. While at Emory University her experience included preparing labs and holding review sessions as a teacher's assistant for a
Freshwater Ecology Course at Emory and developing educational material for a newly constructed Hydroponic Water Reclamation Facility.
Education and Outreach
Amy Rath, Communications and Outreach Coordinator.
Amy Rath is the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Originally from Savannah,
Georgia, her passion for the natural environment and sense of adventure led her to Alaska where she enjoyed a rewarding and adventurous life and
career for nearly a decade.
While in Alaska, she obtained a B.S. degree in Geography and Geology and she is now completing a M.S. degree in Natural Resource Management and
Geography with the University of Alaska. Amy joins the Sanctuary team with a diverse marine research and science communications background that
enables her to interpret science and disseminate information to the public for generating awareness of and stewardship for Gray's Reef.
Outside of work, she can often be found mucking around the intertidal or paddling through a salt marsh.
Abbigail Murphy, Education & Outreach Program Specialist
Abbigail Rigdon Murphy has joined Gray's Reef as a temporary education and outreach program assistant. A former education intern at Gray's Reef and current educator at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, Abbigail received her Master of Professional Science Degree in Marine Conservation last December from University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. She will assist with outreach and education activities, including support of competitions and events, education materials requests, scheduling and providing community presentations, and assisting with website updates.
LTJG Jared Halonen is the new Vessel Operations Coordinator at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. He was previously stationed in Pearl Harbor, HI aboard NOAA Ship HI`IALAKAI.
Jared was born and raised in Battle Creek, MI. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences and Oceanography in 2008. Jared continued his academic pursuits at the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment where he completed his Masters of Science in Oceanography in the spring of 2011. His research focused on the effects of historical morphological change on sediment accumulation in Newark Bay, New Jersey.
Captain Todd Recicar, Marine Operations Coordinator.
Todd Recicar is the Vessel Captain for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. He started full time with Gray's Reef in June of 2007. After receiving a BS in Biology at Florida State University, he completed two Marine Education Internships; one at Newfound Harbor Marine Institute in Big Pine Key, Florida and the second at the University of Georgia's Marine Education Center and Aquarium in Savannah. After the completion of these internships, he worked as a research technician at the University of Georgia's Shellfish Research Laboratory in 1999. Prior to becoming a Gray's Reef employee he worked for 5 1/2 years as second mate on the 92 foot Research Vessel Savannah which is operated by the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. Todd is a NOAA Working Diver and carries a 100GT USCG license.
Becky Shortland, Resource Protection Coordinator.
Becky Shortland serves as the Resource Protection Coordinator for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary overseeing the Sanctuary Advisory Council, marine resource protection actions and other management plan related activities. Becky joined the sanctuary in 1998. Prior to Gray's Reef Becky was Vice President for Coastal Programs with The Georgia Conservancy. She grew up in Swarthmore, PA, but has lived in Savannah, Georgia for the past 32 years learning about and enjoying the coastal and marine environment.