National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Names 2022 Capitol Hill Ocean Week Advisory Committee



Silver Spring, Md. – February 10, 2022 –The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation announced the Advisory Committee for this year’s Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW), which will take place June 7-9 in Washington, DC and virtually. The Advisory Committee, comprised of leaders in marine science and policy from around the country, will guide the development of CHOW’s conference program to focus on the most pressing issues facing the ocean and Great Lakes.

The Committee members are Pelika Andrade, Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, Vidya Balasubramanyam, Mac Cardona, Robin Kundis Craig, Ben Halpern, Vera Metcalf, Leonard Pace, Steve Roady, Ana Spalding, and Mila Turner.

The Advisory Committee brings together a diverse group of individuals to advance the CHOW theme “SEA: The Future.” The Advisory Committee’s breadth of knowledge and experiences will help guide the topics and structure of CHOW as the marine policy community looks to the future of our ocean and Great Lakes.

CHOW is a multi-day conference that convenes policymakers, scientists, managers, business leaders, conservationists, educators, students, and members of the public to engage in dialogue and debate on significant issues that impact our ocean and Great Lakes and to propose innovative policies and partnerships to address these issues. The theme for the 2022 conference is “Sea: The Future.”  In 1972, the U.S. enacted a wave of legislation to protect and sustain our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. These landmark bills included the amendments to the Clean Water Act, the Marine Mammal Act Protection Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, and the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act. The CHOW 2022 program will recognize the 50 years of progress achieved and set a course for the new policies and actions necessary to sustain our waters and transform our future.

Sponsorship information is available for Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2022 here.


Meet the 2022 Advisory Committee 

Pelika Andrade is a native Hawaiian born and raised on the island of Kauaʻi. She is a founder and Executive Director of Na Maka Onaona, a Hawaii based non-profit, and an extension agent for the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program. She has a long history working with Hawaii communities throughout the archipelago as a community member,  hoaʻāina, and researcher. For the past 14 years, she has been developing alternate approaches to monitoring Hawaiʻi’s watersheds and supporting implementation of management strategies that support ‘Āina Momona: healthy, balanced and thriving communities.

Cheryl Andrews-Maltais is the Chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah serving in her 4th term. The Tribe is located on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts. They are part of the Great Wampanoag Tribal Nation; known as The People of The First Light, and were signatories on the 1621 Treaty of Peace between the Wampanoag Nation and the King James I of England. The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe has been Federally Recognized for over 30 years. They have also enjoyed mature status as a Self-Governance Tribe for over 20 years with both the BIA and IHS. As Tribal Chairwoman, Mrs. Maltais also serves on the Board of Directors of the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET), and serves as the Easter Region Delegate on the Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Self Governance Advisory Committee, the Indian Health Service Office of Self Governance Advisory Committee (as the Alternate Delegate), the Tribal Interior Budget Council (TIBC), and formerly served on the Health and Human Services Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee (HHS-STAC). She also serves on the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribal Cultural and Historic Commission and is the Chairwoman of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Gaming Corporation (AWGC). She previously served on the Center for Disease Control Tribal Advisory Committee (CDCTAC), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration Tribal Advisory Committee (SAMHSA-TAC).

Before being re-elected to her third term as the Chairwoman, Mrs. Maltais completed a Presidential appointment in Washington DC for the Obama Administration as the first Tribal Leader to become a Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs. Her professional experience combined with her comprehensive tribal government knowledge and experience provided the expertise necessary to manage a diverse portfolio of issues; ranging from federal recognition, to tribal self-governance, to historic preservation and Sacred Sites’ protections, to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) regulations, to tribal consultations, to domestic and international issues on women’s rights and protections, to international repatriation. Mrs. Maltais is serving her 4th term as the Tribal Council Chairwoman. She and her husband Daniel Maltais have been happily married for almost 30 years and together they have a daughter Samantha Maltais.

Vidya Balasubramanyam is CSO’s Research, Science, and Program Director. In her role, she will be leading CSO’s programmatic efforts working closely with coastal managers and programs across the nation. She brings on-point experience in project management, climate adaptation and resilience, DEIJ work, and a good understanding of Great Lakes and Atlantic Coast issues. Previously, she worked with the Illinois Coastal Program as the Hazards Coordinator leading efforts relating to community resilience and adaptation planning, nature based shoreline management, and regional sediment management. Prior to that, she worked at the New Hampshire Coastal Program as a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow dabbling in projects on advancing living shorelines in coastal New England. Vidya is passionate about more intentionally addressing social justice issues through coastal management work. In her free time, Vidya enjoys learning contemporary styles of dance and urban sketching.

Mac Cardona is a wildlife biologist and story sharer who uses visual storytelling and a number of other immersive 3D tools. With experience in Latinx community engagement and science communication spanning many years, Mac identified how some communities can be excluded in sharing the beauty of nature through inaccessible information. Mac founded cWave Labs as a creative lab where scientists, artists, and designers could work together to develop impactful content and creative strategies that reach ALL communities. Mac is especially interested in increasing Latinx representation in all kinds of storytelling.

Robin Kundis Craig is the Robert C. Packard Trustee Chair in Law at the USC Gould School of Law, where she teaches Environmental Law, Water Law, Ocean and Coastal Law, Toxic Torts, Civil Procedure, and Administrative Law. Craig specializes in all things water, including climate change adaptation in the water sector; the food-water-energy nexus; water quality and water allocation law; marine protected areas and marine spatial planning; and the intersection of freshwater and ocean and coastal law.  She is the author, co-author, or editor of 12 books—including textbooks on Environmental Law, Water Law, and Toxic Torts—and over 100 law or science journal articles and book chapters. Craig is an elected member of American Law Institute and the American College of Environmental Lawyers and a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law. Her comments on contemporary water, marine, and climate change issues have been quoted in National Geographic, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Popular Science, and many other news outlets. Craig received her B.A. from Pomona College, Claremont, CA; her M.A. in Writing About Science from the John Hopkins University; her Ph.D. in English Literature, specializing in how the English Romantic poets used contemporary science to explain social change, from the University of California, Santa Barbara; and her J.D. summa cum laude with a Certificate in Environmental Law from the Lewis & Clark School of Law.

Dr. Ben Halpern is the Director of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and Professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. in marine ecology in 2003 from UC Santa Barbara and then held a joint post-doctoral fellowship at NCEAS and the Smith Fellowship Program.  He was a Research Associate at NCEAS for the decade following that until joining the faculty at the Bren School. In the past 20 years Dr. Halpern has published over 250 peer-reviewed articles and was named one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds by Thompson-Reuters. In 2016 he was awarded the A.G Huntsman Award for Excellence in Marine Science by the Royal Society of Canada, in 2017 the Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Science and a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, in 2018 the Ocean Award in Science, and in 2020 elected a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America.

Dr. Halpern’s research leverages environmental data science and synthesis to address a wide range of topics centered on the many ways that human activities are impacting ocean ecosystems and species, and the consequences of those impacts on the benefits we receive in return. Key research topics have included assessing and mapping cumulative human impacts, developing and implementing the Ocean Health Index, environmental implications of fisheries and aquaculture, and incorporating equity and justice into conservation planning.

Vera Metcalf was born and raised in Savoonga (Sivungaq) on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. Since 2002, Vera has been the Director of the Eskimo Walrus Commission (EWC) at Kawerak, Inc., which represents 19 coastal Alaskan communities in areas such as promoting community involvement in research, documenting Indigenous Knowledge, and co-management of the Pacific walrus population. Vera represents EWC in various forums, including the Indigenous People’s Council on Marine Mammals. Vera is a Special Advisor on Native Affairs on the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, an Advisory Panel member of the North Pacific Research Board, a Steering Committee member for the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, a committee member on the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program/University of Alaska and the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences/UAF, and a member of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Executive Committee and Alaska board. Vera is also the Bering Strait Commissioner for the U.S. Department of State, facilitating travel for Indigenous residents between Chukotka, Russia and the Bering Strait region of Alaska. Vera is a strong advocate for the subsistence lifestyles of Arctic Indigenous peoples, and passionate about strengthening Indigenous languages and cultures.

Leonard Pace is an experienced marine biologist who manages Schmidt Ocean Institute’s annual collaboration proposals and related community coordination and outreach activities. He also manages special projects and liaising with the scientific community.

Leonard’s work prior to joining the Schmidt Ocean Institute concentrated on supporting federal granting and environmental conservation. He worked with the National Science Foundation’s Division of Geoscience and coordinated grant competitions and managed budgets for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, as well as supporting Earthcube, the Ocean Acidification program, and numerous other initiatives. While working IODP he served as a Communications Officer aboard the JOIDES Resolution during a School of Rock cruise from Curacao to Bermuda. He managed activities for NOAA’s Aquatic Invasive Species program including annual grant competitions and external outreach, and he wrote a Report to Congress on ballast water technology. He worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA in a joint Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship where he supported the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force in its efforts to preserve and protect coral reef habitats.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Marine and Environmental Science from Hampton University and his Master of Science in Fisheries Biology from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. His primary focus was on elasmobranch physiology and he also conducted research on Great White Shark ecology in South Africa and Naked Dragonfish respiration in Antarctica.

Steve Roady is a Professor of the Practice of Law at Duke University’s School of Law, and holds a secondary appointment as a Professor of the Practice at the Duke Nicholas School of the Environment. In addition to teaching, Roady consults regularly with non-profit organizations on matters involving the conservation and sustainable management of ocean and coastal resources.

Before joining the Duke governing faculty in 2016, Roady devoted over three decades to litigation and advocacy focused on enforcing various conservation and environmental protections contained in U.S. laws.  His work in the courts and other forums helped protect ocean and coastal resources, streams and mountains, and air and water quality.

Roady has focused principally on ocean policy law and litigation since 1998, when he launched the Ocean Law Project.  During 2001-2002, he was the first president of Oceana, an international ocean conservation organization.  From 2002 to 2016, he managed the oceans program at the public interest law firm Earthjustice

Roady has taught ocean and coastal law and policy at Duke since 2003.  He has taught ocean law and policy at the University of Hawaii School of Law and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has been named a Professor of the Year by the Duke School of the Environment, and a Public Interest Fellow by Harvard Law School.  In addition to amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court that support air and water quality, his most recent writings focus on the need for environmental protections in connection with deep seabed mining.

Dr. Ana K. Spalding is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy at Oregon State University; and Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Her research encompasses the human dimension of the marine environment. Current work includes policy analysis and science-to-policy pathways in the context of climate change (e.g. ocean acidification) adaptation strategies by resource-dependent communities along the U.S. West Coast. Internationally, she studies governance for the Anthropocene ocean, with a focus on marine protected areas, equity in the Blue Economy, and the role of the ocean in achieving climate and societal goals. Dr. Spalding also has an extensive research network in Panama, where she co-leads a team studying the human dimension of plastic waste.

Mila Turner is an Assistant Professor at Florida A&M University and a Social Science Lead for the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems. Mila is an environmental sociologist whose work explores the relationships between humans and their environments in an effort to achieve environmental and climate justice.



The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through our mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve cultural and maritime heritage. We accomplish our mission through community stewardship and engagement programs, on-the-water conservation projects, public education and outreach programs, and scientific research and exploration. The Foundation fosters innovative projects that are solution-oriented, scalable and transferable, and develop strategic partnerships that promote the conservation and recovery of species and their habitats. Learn more at 


Contact: Chip Weiskotten 

Director of Strategic Communications