The Team

Dr. Hisham A. Abdelrahman: Assistant Professor of Marine Biology — Aquaculture Extension Specialist
Dr. Abdelrahman joined Roger Williams University in fall 2023 as an Assistant Professor. In addition to his position here, he serves as an Assistant Professor of Aquaculture Hygiene in the Department of Veterinary Hygiene and Management, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt. Dr. Abdelrahman originates from Egypt, and prior to RWU, devoted 11 years to advancing his academic and research journey at Auburn University in Alabama where he served as a postdoctoral fellow in two distinguished labs: the Crustacean and Molluscan Ecology Lab and the Alabama Fish Farming Center. His academic training includes a Ph.D. in Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences in 2016, complemented by a Ph.D. minor in statistics and Master’s degree in Probability and Statistics in 2015, all from Auburn University. Dr. Abdelrahman holds a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Sciences and another Master’s degree, in Aquaculture Water Quality, from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Cairo University, Egypt. In addition to his academic achievements, Dr. Abdelrahman has a diverse teaching background, having taught in Egypt, Vietnam, and the United States. He has been awarded the Distinguished Future Faculty Certificate from Auburn University. Since 2007, he has contributed significantly to research and academia. He is the author of more than 45 original scientific research articles. Hisham is very passionate about fisheries ecology, aquatic biology, aquaculture, statistical analysis, and teaching. Dr. Abdelrahman is a member of the Quahog Commission, a 13-member special legislative commission set up by the State of Rhode Island House of Representatives to study and provide recommendations on the issues relating to the reduced catch of quahogs in Narragansett Bay. 


Susanna Osinski: Shellfish Field Operations Manager and Marine Biology Camp Director
Susanna first joined the CEED team in 2021 as the Shellfish Program’s Field and Extension Technician/Research Assistant, She later became our Shellfish Field Operations Manager overseeing RWU’s FerryCliffe Shellfish Farm and Nursery systems as well as coordinating the program’s field projects, extension, and outreach work. She works with various research partners, local aquaculturists, local agencies, and our very own RWU students as well. Susanna is also a Staff Directors for RWU’s Marine Biology Summer Camp for high school students interested in getting hands on experience to pursue the subject. She also enjoys crewing on our R/V InVinceble Spirit for labs and classes as well! Susanna has a B.S. from Cornell University in Interdisciplinary Studies specializing in Biology and Business, as well as a double minors in Marine Biology and Agribusiness Management. She recently finished an ORISE Researcher Fellowship in 2021 with the U.S. EPA in Narragansett, RI. Susanna also has an extensive background in oyster farming from growing up on her family’s oyster farm, Widow’s Hole Oyster Co., in Greenport, Long Island that first sparked her interest in Marine Biology and has kept her in the field ever since.  


Previous Team Members who were critical in developing the Applied Shellfish Farming course over the past two decades:

Dr. Timothy M. Scott: Officer of Special Projects, Grants and Innovation and Professor of Marine Biology
Dr. Scott joined Roger Williams University in 1996 as an Assistant Professor of Marine Biology. He served as the Director of CEED from 1999-2022. He is the Forrest C. Lattner Professor of Environmental Science. Dr. Scott earned his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Stony Brook University and spent five years sailing as Chief Scientist with the Sea Education Association of Woods Hole, MA. His past experience includes studies on the genetics and diversity of marine mammals and commercial-scale shellfish aquaculture. Dr. Scott is a member of the Aquaculture Regulatory Working Group of the RI Coastal Resources Management Council and the Professional Advisory Committee of the New York Harbor School. He previously served on the Executive Committee of the Rhode Island Aquaculture Initiative; he was a member of the Bay Trust, a sixteen member commission set up by the RI House of Representatives to assess the economic and environmental development in Narragansett Bay; and he was on the Fisheries and Aquaculture Panel of the Governor’s Narragansett Bay and Watershed Planning Commission.

Matthew GriffinMatthew Griffin

Research Associate and Adjunct Professor, Roger Williams University

Matt joined the CEED staff in 2011 with efforts centered on aquaculture extension and research focusing on aquaculture technology and shellfish restoration. Matt holds a B.S. degree in Marine Biology and a M.Sc. degree in Biological and Environmental Science, both from the University of Rhode Island. He is owner of Saltbox Sea Farm, a Rhode Island based aquaculture farm focused on the production of eastern oysters and providing consulting services in habitat restoration, fisheries science, and oceanography. Matt formerly worked as assistant coordinator of the RI DEM/NOAA North Cape Restoration Program and as a Fisheries Specialist with the RI DEM and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. He holds a 100-ton Coast Guard Master’s license. Matt spends most of his time at the university integrating new shellfish culture technology with the local industry and serving as a technical advisor to the regional aquaculture community

robbieRob Hudson

Shellfish Hatchery Manager and Adjunct Professor, Roger Williams University 

Rob Hudson holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management (2017), Graduate Certificates in GIS and Remote Sensing as well as Community Planning (2017) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology (2007), all from the University of Rhode Island. Currently he is the Shellfish Hatchery Manager and is responsible for the operation of the CEED Shellfish Hatchery at RWU and continues to serve as a Coastal and Restoration Consultant. He was the Restoration Ecologist for Save The Bay for 12 years. Some of his work includes restoration, monitoring and research with bay scallops, oysters, quahogs and ribbed mussels. Rob has also worked at URI’s Coastal Resource Center (CRC) and RI Sea Grant as a Fisheries and Aquaculture Graduate Research Assistant. Rob was providing technical support to Dale Leavitt’s online ASF course while at CRC. He is a Licensed US Coast Guard Captain, a Certified SCUBA and CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor.  Mr. Hudson is an adjunct professor for various Biology and Aquaculture courses and has extensive field research experience.

dale_course-smp-photoDr. Dale Leavitt

Professor Emeritus of Biology, Roger Williams University

Dr. Leavitt created and had been teaching an Applied Shellfish Farming course in Rhode Island for over two decades. The 15-week program, hosted at Roger Williams University, is a blend of classroom education and hands-on learning and has been instrumental over the years in shaping new aquaculture businesses to be well prepared for the rigors of running a successful and sustainable shellfish farming operation. Dr. Leavitt is known widely for his knowledge and practical, friendly teaching style and he has taught hundreds of individuals the ins and outs of running a shellfish farm. Dr. Leavitt is engaged in numerous research projects throughout the region, from growing kelp to industry partnerships looking at wild quahog densities. To learn more about Dr. Leavitt, read the Providence Journal’s interview with him in March 2015: “Sowing Lessons: RWU professor a guru for aspiring shellfish farmers.”

img_20130131_151741The Coastal Resources Center (CRC) & Rhode Island Sea Grant, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island.

Jennifer McCann:

Azure Dee Cygler: 

CRC is dedicated to advancing coastal management worldwide. In addition to assisting in the development and implementation of coastal management programs in Rhode Island and the United States, the Center is active in countries throughout the world promoting the sustainable use of coastal resources for the benefit of all. Implementing coastal management projects in the field, building capacity through education and training, and sharing lessons learned and information throughout the coastal community are the foundation of CRC’s work. The U.S. team at CRC also serves as Rhode Island Sea Grant’s Extension team. Rhode Island Sea Grant supports research, outreach, and education programs designed to foster vibrant coastal communities and marine environments that are resilient in the face of change. Rhode Island Sea Grant is one of 33 programs in a national network, and includes a legal program located at Roger Williams University School of Law. CRC and RISG have partnered with Dr. Leavitt on a NOAA-funded initiative to enhance and expand the reach of his Applied Shellfish Farming course.


Dave Beutel

Retired: Aquaculture Coordinator, Coastal Resources Management Council

The Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) is the state agency charged with the preservation, protection, development and where possible the restoration of coastal areas in the state. As Aquaculture Coordinator, Mr. Beutel was responsible for vetting new aquaculture lease applications, ensuring existing leases are monitored and functioning as permitted, and overseeing all aspects of the public process involved in aquaculture in the state.


Dr. Robert Rheault

Executive Director, East Coast Shellfish Grower’s Association

Dr. Rheault is an aquaculture industry advocate, serving as Executive Director of the East Coast Shellfish Grower’s Association, a group which represents over 1,000 shellfish farmers from Maine to Florida. Dr. Rheault is a pioneer in Rhode Island aquaculture, and was one of the first modern shellfish growers in the state. He is also passionate about ensuring harvesters are using sound growing and harvesting practices to ensure the public health is protected and that the industry continues to thrive. Dr. Rheault has been teaching safe harvesting, storage, and transport techniques for decades and one of the nation’s experts on Vibrio bacteria and its health implications for the shellfish industry. He also earned his PhD in Oceanography at the Graduate School of Oceanography and serves as Adjunct faculty at the University of Rhode Island.