Professional marine biologists and educators, U.S. Coast Guard certified captains,

and advocates for the marine environment

Jim McCauley, Executive Director

Having proudly served in the United States Coast Guard for 30 years, Jim came to Project Oceanology as Executive Director in April 2016.  After commanding several cutters and serving as the Academy's Commandant of Cadets, Jim brings leadership, program development, and operations management experience to the team.  Jim earned a Masters of Science in Ocean Engineering from the University of Rhode Island and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the US Coast Guard Academy.  He also holds a USCG unlimited tonnage Master of Oceans captain's license. 


In his free time, Jim loves spending time with his family, being on the water or in the woods, and volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America.

Dr. Molly Jacobs, Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Molly split her childhood between the woods and mountains of northern New England and the sandy beaches of Cape Cod.  She received her bachelor's degree in biology from Swarthmore College in 1997, and her PhD from the University of Washington in 2006.  She has conducted scientific research in marine environments around the world, from the rocky shores of the Pacific Northwest to  the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to the Marine Biological Association of the U.K.  She is passionate about science education and science communication, and took a year away from research science to work as a marine science policy fellow in the halls of the U.S. Congress.  Most recently, Molly was an Associate Professor of Biology at McDaniel College in Maryland.  

When she isn't teaching, writing about, or doing marine science, Molly enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with her family.

Callie Scheetz, Marine Science Educator

Callie grew up spending her summers lobstering, clamming and exploring the coast of Long Island Sound.  She has always loved marine biology and is passionate about teaching.  She is a full time instructor and has been working at Project O as an educator for over 9 years.  Callie received her B.S. from Roger Williams University in Marine Biology and Elementary Education.  During this time she spent a semester at SEA sailing from Tahiti to Hawaii aboard the S.S.V. Robert C. Seamans.   She received her M.S. from Southern Connecticut State University in Biology where her research focused on the effects of temperature on lipofuscin concentrations in juvenile lobsters.  She is currently a CT certified teacher in grades K-12 and holds her USCG 100-ton Master of Inland Waters captain’s license along with her American Red Cross Lifeguard, CPR, AED, and First Aid certifications.  


When Callie isn’t at Project O you can find her spending time with her family, hiking, kayaking and fishing!

Debbie Sayer, Marine Science Educator

Debbie has always had a love of all things related to the ocean, and is passionate about inspiring others to care about the planet. She received her BS in Marine Biology from the University of Rhode Island, and worked as a naturalist and environmental educator for 8 years. Debbie has fond memories of her time as a camper and after-school student at Project Oceanology, and is thrilled to be back here as an educator.


When she isn't at work, Debbie enjoys spending time with family, lawn bowling, and playing fife with the Westbrook Drum Corps.

Marissa Mackewicz, Marine Science Educator

Marissa graduated from UCONN Avery Point in 2013 where she worked as a two time summer intern in the Marine Science Building under Jamie Vaudrey. As a previous Project Oceanology camper, she now teaches as a full time educator at the same facility that helped develop her love for marine science. She has previously spent time working tagging sharks and stringrays in Myrtle Beach, SC and Clearwater, FL through a program called CMERA.


When she's not working Marissa loves to take walks with her dogs and scavenge the beach for sea life and treasures.

Ian Morrison, Captain

Ian has been on the water most of his life. He graduated from UCONN with a B.A. in Coastal Studies, and has served in both the U.S. Army (1990-1994) and the CT Army National Guard (1994-1997). He holds a USCG 100GRT Master's License, and began working at Project Oceanology in 2003. He also worked for Interport Pilots as Captain/Mate on vessel Connecticut Pilot from 2004 - 2009.


In his free time, he is a member of the Co. I 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery Civil War Re-Enactment Group, and enjoys fishing and playing guitar.

Brae Rafferty, Captain

Brae has always been interested in environmental work and completed his undergraduate studies at William Penn College, where he majored in biology. His interest in marine science led him to obtain an M.S. degree in marine studies from the University of Connecticut. He joined Project Oceanology’s faculty as the second full time instructor 7 years after the program began. For over 35 years, he was a Project Oceanology Marine Science Educator. Brae also holds a USCG 100 ton Master of Coastal Waters license, and certifications as an American Red Cross Lifeguard, CPR, AED and First Aid. 

While not at work Brae’s commitment to the environment continues. He has served for over 30 years as the Chair of the Town of Groton’s Conservation Commissioner. He also is past chair of the New London Ledge Lighthouse Foundation and continues to serve on the board as well as the boards of the Avalonia Land Conservancy and Pequot Woods.

Lesley de Labry , Administrative Manager

Lesley is the Administrative Manager at Project Oceanology. She is our scheduling coordinator, HR rep and manager of our facility and main office.  

A CT native, and local resident of Fisher’s Island Sound, Lesley was the Director of Administrative Operations at the Groton Long Point Yacht Club for 17 years before joining Project Oceanology in 2018. Her career experience also includes an Educator in violence prevention for SECT public schools and the USCG Academy Admissions office.


Lesley enjoys hiking, sailing, skiing and all activities centered around the ocean.

Lisa Colón, Accounts Manager

Lisa Colón came to Project Oceanology in April 2018 as the Accounts Manager. She has an A.S. in Accounting and a B.S. in Education. Lisa has over 20 years experience in bookkeeping, taxes and accounting. In addition, she is a certified QuickBooks user and QuickBooks Pro advisor. She has about 9 years of experience as an instructor for adult learners. Lisa grew up in Westerly, RI, and in the 1980s made a move to New London, Conn., where she currently resides with her husband and pug.

Lisa has always loved the serenity of the water and enjoys spending time with her family and grandchildren. 

Raymond Mastronunzio, Building Custodian

With over 20 years experience in public building maintenance, an Associates degree in Business & Finance, and a Bachelor's degree in Community Development from UCONN, Raymond joined the Project Oceanology team over a decade ago.


In his free time, Raymond enjoys furniture design and fine woodworking, and antique automobile design and preservation. 

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Project Oceanology Staff 

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1084 Shennecossett Rd. Groton, CT 06340

860.445.9007 |