Wednesday, July 13, 2011

College's Center for Environment & Society Welcomes Marine Scientist and Educator to Staff

CHESTERTOWN—The Center for Environment & Society at Washington College welcomes veteran marine scientist and educator Douglas R. Levin as Associate Director. Levin, who was selected after a national search, started his new post on July 1. Based at the CES offices in the Custom House, on the waterfront in historic downtown Chestertown, Levin will assist with the day-to-day operations and connect the CES more fully with the science of the Chester River and Chesapeake Bay. He will help Washington College connect students with the water not only through academics and technology, but also through culture, recreation and special programs.
In announcing the hire, CES director John Seidel said Levin brings “a very strong and varied background that includes work in private industry, academia and the federal government, along with an energy and entrepreneurial bent that fits wonderfully into CES and Washington College. Doug’s practical experience and strong scientific background will be a great benefit to the Center and to our students,” he added.
Levin has worked in oceans and waterways domestically (along both coasts, the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes) and around the globe, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Congo River and the coast off Cartagena, Colombia. He comes to Washington College after a six-year association with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Most recently, he was with NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), leading an effort to improve the oceanographic models used to predict the onset of coastal flooding and the loss of oxygen from coastal oceans. During the summer of 2010 he was part of the team assessing the fate of the deepwater oil plume that entered the Gulf of Mexico via the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
From 2004 to 2010, Levin was a habitat specialist and education coordinator for NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office. As part of his responsibilities, he worked with the Oyster Recovery Partnership to develop protocols for mapping the Chesapeake Bay bottom and its tributaries to identify the best sites for oyster-bed restoration. As education coordinator, he helped design the building and developed programs for the Environmental Science Training Center (ESTC) at Oxford, Md. At ESTC, he designed and introduced highly regarded STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs, including Aquabotz, in which participants can design, build and launch working underwater robots in a little over an hour. His program also involved student-built buoys that collect water-quality data.
Prior to his work with NOAA, Levin founded the Earth Mapping Laboratory at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore (2000 to 2004) and spent a decade (1990 to 2000), at Bryant College (now Bryant University) in Smithfield RI, where he chaired the Department of Science and Technology and added courses in geology, oceanography and applied science. While at Bryant, he was named Outstanding Teacher in Liberal Arts, and Student Advisor of the Year. He also was awarded the Community Service Leadership Award and the prestigious Distinguished Faculty Award.
A graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he majored in marine biology, Levin earned a master’s degree focused on geology, coastal processes and glaciology at Boston University. He completed his Ph.D. in Marine Sciences and Geology at Louisiana State University.

Levin says he had been keeping his eye on Washington College since his arrival on the Eastern Shore and occasionally visited and guest-lectured in several classes over the past decade. “Since my first visit to the College, I recognized the unique opportunity that was presented with the Chester River right out the back door. We will tangibly connect the student experience to the water,” he says of the CES mission. “I recognize how fortunate I am to be a part of this historic institution, and I look forward to helping move the Center ahead smartly.”