Capitola, C.A. – October 24, 2017 – Ocean Champions announces the appointment of two new members to their Board of Directors: Dr. Jennifer Bender and Heike Schmitz.
Ocean Champions is the first national organization to focus solely on developing a broad, bipartisan base of supporters for ocean conservation in the U.S. Congress and in key states.
“I am happy to welcome Ocean Champions’ new board members, Dr. Jennifer Bender and Ms. Heike Schmitz,” said David Wilmot, Founder and President of Ocean Champions. They bring a wealth of experience and insight to our board and complement the skills and expertise of our current board members.”
A Professor and Research Fellow at the School for the Environment at University of Massachusetts, Boston, Dr. Jennifer Bender is the academic lead in developing curriculum (degree and non-degree) for a new marine aquaculture education program. She is also the lead Professor for Environmental Innovation Clinic. Jennifer is a Boston-based environmental scientist actively involved in bridging gaps between scientists, policy makers, the public and other stakeholders when it comes to issues relating to the marine environment and our coastal zones. She serves as the Executive Director of the Marine Studies Consortium. She consults to a variety of organizations including the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Stellwagen Alive, a Foundation for Our National Marine Sanctuary, EDGI – Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, Fablevision and writes occasionally for Edible Vineyard and most recently for To Market Magazine.
“I’m thrilled to serve on this board with a group of individuals completely committed to ocean conservation, and for an organization that can actually help make ocean conservation a national priority,” said Bender.
Heike Schmitz works as a software engineer, marine biologist, and project manager at Jupiter Research Foundation, where she currently focuses on the development of an autonomous marine microscope system. Her first and lifelong love of the ocean and interest in ocean conservation also drives her support for organizations that further the protection and sustainable enjoyment of the marine environment. Growing up in Switzerland, Heike studied Computer Science at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Her first career in software engineering ultimately led her to Silicon Valley and Google, where she built the first software testing services team, an organization that under her leadership grew to over 300 people. She also participated in the preparation and execution of the tech giant’s IPO. Following her old passion for the environment and the call of the ocean, Heike returned to college and earned a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Marine Biology, from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
“The oceans are my passion, and I have long searched for the most impactful way to help protect them,” said Schmitz. “Ocean Champions is right at the forefront of lobbying for marine conservation, and I am excited to join its board of highly accomplished, dedicated, and effective ocean advocates.”
“We are so fortunate to attract Board members of Bender’s and Schmitz’ caliber,” said Michael Sutton, Ocean Champions’ Board Chair. “They are both longtime ocean conservationists who understand that elections matter.”
For a list of the full Board of Directors, click here.