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Mark Schrope

Mark is Schmidt Marine's Program Director, applying skills developed as both a scientist and writer to the identification and evaluation of promising marine technologies. He began his career studying deep ocean carbon cycling at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, after receiving a B.S. in biology from Wake Forest University, and an M.S. in chemical oceanography from Florida State University. In 1999, after completing the Science Communications program at UC Santa Cruz, he converted to ocean-focused journalism and outreach. Mark’s articles, often including his own photos, have appeared in Nature, Scientific American, Popular Science, Outside, The New York Times, and other publications. He has consulted for clients such as  the Scripps Research Institute, Sea Grant, The Living Oceans Foundation, the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, and Yale University. Wearing various hats, he has worked on over a dozen research vessels on expeditions around the world.

Michael SHen

Michael works as a program analyst for Schmidt Marine, analyzing new ocean technology solutions to see whether they are economically viable and environmentally beneficial. He attended University of California, Berkeley and received a B.A. in integrative biology. Michael previously worked as a financial systems analyst at the Schmidt Ocean Institute, a sister non-profit entity of Schmidt Marine. Michael is particularly interested the prevention of plastic pollution as well as the development of inexpensive sensors for research.  

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Jake Hanft

Jake works as a program analyst for Schmidt Marine, helping to research and analyze economically viable solutions to complex ocean health problems. A San Francisco native, Jake graduated from University of California, Davis with a B.A. in international relations with a global environment emphasis, and a minor in English. As an undergraduate, Jake interned at then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's Capitol Hill office, covering environmental issues. He has a background working at in the intersection between economics and sustainability, and is passionate about preventing bycatch and restoring coral reefs. 

Don Gerhart

Don is President and CEO of Challenger Biosciences, an R&D services company founded by Don in 2009 to help clients build enduring new ventures that benefit the sea.  Originally a marine biologist and faculty member at the Duke University Marine Laboratory, Don shifted his professional focus more than two decades ago to concentrate on the advancement of scientifically-based innovations.  Over the course of his career, he has worked with hundreds of new products and emerging companies, including several that eventually went public and attained market capitalizations exceeding $1 billion.  Don is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and holds a doctorate in Ecology and Evolution from Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a consultant with Schmidt Marine providing business development support to program grantees and others working to advance promising marine technologies.