Our research and administrative offices are based at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point, Virginia.To contact our extension staff, please reach out to them at their relative institutions here.
Dr. Troy Hartley is director of Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) and a research professor of Marine Science & Policy at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the William & Mary Public Policy Program. Troy lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, and has over 20 years of experience in coastal, marine, and natural resource policy and management. He is a public policy scholar and his research considers collaborative governance networks and processes, stakeholder attitudes, perceptions and opinions, and change management in communities, particularly in coastal, marine and fisheries contexts. His research has been funded by NSF, NOAA, Sea Grant, USEPA, Canadian Embassy, and the Water Environment Research Foundation.
He has a PhD in environmental and natural resource policy from the University of Michigan, an MAIS in environmental policy from George Mason University, and a BS in zoology from the University of Vermont. At VASG, Troy has overall responsibilities for the strategic priorities and direction, partnership-building and relations, new initiatives, and program oversight. He has been heavily involved in professional development with VASG’s fellows on the science-policy interface, transdisciplinary team science, and collaborative leadership. Beyond VASG and his research and teaching, Troy enjoys cycling, keeping pace with his teenagers and yellow lab, and wishing that he could be cross-country skiing or driving a Zamboni.
Communications Program Manager
Ian Vorster crafts and directs the strategy for the Virginia Sea Grant Communications Center. He provides strategic thought for the communications element of professional development, serves as a faculty member on an Advanced Science Communications Seminar, mentors science communication interns, and supervises staff. Ian's interest in science communication theory results in specific projects for the Center's summer science communication interns. They have created multimedia products which graduate research interns have studied the efficacy of, for example, to determine whether the multimedia format evokes more sense of agency in readers than the traditional format. In the process, this storytelling hub demystifies the marine and coastal scientific process and connects it with relevant audiences at socio-political levels.
Ian has built strong brands, launched new programs and publishing products, and developed strategies with user-centered design that realize meaningful near-term growth while building strong, outcome-oriented teams. Prior to joining Virginia Sea Grant, Ian served as director of communications for the Woods Hole Research Center, which has been repeatedly ranked as the leading climate-change think tank in the world. An award-winning photographer and designer, and a published writer, Ian has an AA in photography, a BA ED in geography and human movement science, and an MS in environmental communications. A native South African, he enjoys birdwatching, backpacking, bikepacking, and fly-fishing with his family.
Fellowship & Research Program Coordinator
As the fellowship and research program coordinator, Sam Lake manages Virginia Sea Grant’s portfolio of graduate research and professional post-graduate fellowships, graduate student professional development programs, and other VASG support research and extension projects. He has a PhD in Marine Science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and BS in marine science and biology from Coastal Carolina University. When not chasing his two young children as they bike, rock climb, and explore their way across the world, he likes getting muddy mountain biking, skimming across the water on a kiteboard, or logging some bottom time exploring a new coral reef. His hometown is Fairfield, Ohio.
Heather Longest is Virginia Sea Grant’s fiscal officer. She has worked as a sponsored programs administrator at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science since 2011. Prior to her current position, she was a quality assurance analyst with the Virginia Department of Accounts. She graduated from Longwood University with a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in accounting.
Assistant to the Director
Sabine Rogers is the assistant to the director at Virginia Sea Grant. She lives in Newport News, Virginia, but says that her heart still lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. She earned her master's in environmental education from Colorado State University, and her bachelor’s in English with a concentration in environmental science from James Madison University. Outside of work, she is an avid reader of children's books to her six-year-old, and a cab driver and psychologist for her preteen. She also enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, and credits total body conditioning classes and music for her sanity.
Abigail Hils works on a variety of projects as Virginia Sea Grant’s project coordinator. She earned her master’s in environmental sciences, focusing on coral reef ecological monitoring, from Miami University’s Institute for the Environment and Sustainability in Oxford, Ohio. She earned her bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on informal education from Miami University. Her family has always been involved in zoos, and she’s been a zoo keeper at three different zoos. Outside of work, she enjoys SCUBA diving, Zumba classes, and playing the viola. She lives in Gloucester, Virginia. Her hometown is Columbus, Ohio.