• Coasts & Deltas

  • Communities

  • Water Resources

OUR STAFF

The Water Institute of the Gulf is distinguished  by its staff of acknowledged leaders with proven expertise. For a list of areas of expertise for each staff member, click here.

Justin Ehrenwerth

Justin R. Ehrenwerth

President and CEO

Justin R. Ehrenwerth is a nationally recognized expert in coastal policy and applied science in the Gulf and across the country. Along with his years with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and White House Counsel’s Office, Ehrenwerth most recently served as the inaugural executive director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council created in the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill to restore the ecosystem and revitalize the Gulf Coast economy.

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Charles

Charles "Chip" Groat

Senior Advisor

Chip Groat, Ph.D., is a globally recognized expert on earth sciences, energy, resource assessment, groundwater issues and coastal studies. Along with decades of experience he brings from the United States Geological Survey, academia and as a world-class researcher on energy and water resources, he has a deft understanding of Louisiana’s coastal issues.

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Ehab Meselhe

Ehab Meselhe

Vice President for Science and Engineering

Ehab Meselhe, Ph.D., P.E., has more than 20 years of experience researching coastal wetland hydrology, sediment transport, and computer modeling of coastal wetland, estuarine, and riverine systems.

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Denise Reed

Denise Reed

Vice President for Strategic Research Initiatives

Denise Reed, Ph.D., is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in coastal marsh sustainability and the role of human activities in modifying coastal systems. She has studied coastal issues in the United States and around the world for more than 30 years.

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Jennifer Butler

Jennifer Butler

Vice President for Administration and CFO

Jennifer Butler has more than 15 of experience working in nonprofit, applied research institutes with responsibilities that included management, governance, finance, and audit accountability as well as extensive experience managing grants and contracts.

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Mead Allison

Mead Allison

Director of Physical Processes & Sediment Systems

An expert on river, deltaic and coastal sedimentary processes, Mead Allison, Ph.D., has researched river delta systems for nearly 25 years. He is one of the foremost experts on the Mississippi River’s sediment transport processes.

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Tim Carruthers

Tim Carruthers

Director of Coastal Ecology

Tim Carruthers, Ph.D. has a strong international reputation from more than 20 years working in coastal ecology, focusing on human impacts and management. His work has focused on assessing and leveraging ecosystem conditions to enhance adaptation to coastal change. He brings specific experience in developing ecosystem health indicators and solving problems by focusing on systems analysis.

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Scott Hemmerling

Scott Hemmerling

Director of Human Dimensions

Scott Hemmerling, Ph.D. is the Director of Human Resources for The Water Institute of the Gulf, focusing on research related to climate adaptation and community resilience. He has more than ten years of experience investigating anthropogenic alterations to the landscape and the impacts of development on coastal communities.

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Jeffrey Heaton

Jeffrey Heaton

Program Manager

Jeffrey Heaton is a Program Manager with more than 30 years of experience in managing multidisciplinary programs in the fields of coastal sustainability, community planning, environmental science, and flood protection.

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Mark Legendre

Mark Legendre

Advisor

Mark Legendre joined The Water Institute of the Gulf after 32 years of public service. Previously, he served as Chief Fiscal Officer and Director of Accounting for the Louisiana State University AgCenter. While there, he oversaw business and financial matters, legislative affairs and purchasing, among others.

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Kai Midboe

Kai Midboe

Sr. Advisor for Special Projects, General Counsel

Kai Midboe serves as Director of Policy Research and General Counsel at The Water Institute. Midboe has extensive experience in dealing with the legal and policy implications involved in environmental, natural resource and water issues. He served for many years in government and for over 20 years was a practicing attorney focusing on environmental and natural resource law.

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Melissa Baustian

Melissa Baustian

Coastal Ecologist

Melissa Baustian, Ph.D. is a Coastal Ecologist with The Water Institute of the Gulf. She has over 10 years of experience in researching the ecological responses of aquatic ecosystems to nutrient enrichment, eutrophication and hypoxia. Most of her research experience has been on the benthic ecology of the low-oxygen area, known as the “Dead Zone” in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

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Ryan Clark

Ryan Clark

Coastal Geologist

Ryan Clark is a Coastal Geologist with eleven years of experience in large, multidisciplinary coastal projects in both the private and public sectors. Prior to joining The Water Institute of the Gulf, Clark was a Project Scientist at ARCADIS, an international consultancy based in The Netherlands.

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Monica Barra

Monica Barra

Research Assistant

Monica Barra has more than six years of experience conducting community-based research projects with a focus on using ethnographic methods to investigate group and individual perceptions of well-being, resilience, and community change in urban and rural environments. A doctoral candidate in cultural anthropology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, her current research focuses on the social impacts of land loss and coastal restoration science in southeastern Louisiana.

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Andres Calderon

Andres Calderon

Senior Advisor — Latin American Program

Andres Calderon has twenty-five years of diversified technology experience at both large and small enterprises; technical personnel management capability at different levels of the organizational structure; project management, and enterprise system administration experience. He also has vast experience in aligning technology to corporate vision and extensive background in business development, product design, system architectures and information systems implementations.

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Shila Daswani

Shila Daswani

Executive Assistant

Shila is the Executive Assistant to Dr. Charles Groat and also assists other Directors at The Water Institute. She is responsible for maintaining calendars, scheduling and logistics for internal and external activities.

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Christopher Esposito

Christopher Esposito

Research Scientist

Christopher Esposito, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist with The Water Institute of the Gulf. He has nearly 10 years of field and modeling experience studying sediment transport and deposition in river deltas. His research is primarily focused on the connections between river channels and their floodplains, a topic which is closely related to channel management and planned river diversions in deltas.

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Alaina Grace

Alaina Grace

Research Scientist

Alaina Grace has more than nine years of experience in managing large multi-disciplinary and multi-year technical contracts and projects in both the private sector and academia.

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Andrea Jerabek

Andrea Jerabek

Research Associate

Andrea Jerabek is a Research Associate in the Coastal Ecology program at The Water Institute of the Gulf. Prior to joining the Institute, Andrea received her master’s of science in Marine Biology from Northeastern University’s Three Seas Program, a comprehensive marine science graduate program. Through which, she was able to further her education and conduct research at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center in Nahant, Massachusetts, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Bocas del Toro Pan

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Hoonshin Jung

Hoonshin Jung

Research Scientist

Hoonshin (Hoon) Jung has nearly 10 years of experience in computer modeling of coastal, estuarine, and riverine systems. His work includes projects related to hydrodynamic, sediment transport, thermal mixing and dispersion, and water quality modeling in river and coastal zones.

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Man Liang

Man Liang

Research Scientist

Man Liang, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist with The Water Institute of the Gulf. She has nine years of experience in developing and applying numerical models for coastal morphodynamic systems. With a broad background in numerical modeling, environmental fluid dynamics and sediment transport, she specializes in rule-based modeling which tackles the immense complexity of natural systems with abstracted yet physically sound complexity-reduction rules.

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Katja Löffler

Katja Löffler

Data Manager

Katja has nearly eight years of experience in data management within coastal research systems. Prior to joining The Water Institute of the Gulf, Katja worked as a database programmer for a German company providing outsourcing services. In addition, she has worked as a server administrator, programmer, and data manager at the School of Coast and Environment at Louisiana State University.

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Francesca Messina

Francesca Messina

Research Scientist

Francesca Messina, Ph.D., is a Research Scientist with The Water Institute of the Gulf’s Natural Systems Modeling and Monitoring group. Her research interest mainly focuses on groundwater, with the aim to explore, model, and analyze the surface-groundwater interactions existing in the Louisiana coastal area.

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Lyndsey Mitchell

Lyndsey Mitchell

Human Resources Manager

Lyndsey Mitchell, PHR, has nine years of experience in human resources, with an expertise in HR technology. At the Institute, Lyndsey manages an HR structure that effectively supports The Water Institute's state-of-the-art business and fosters an enjoyable work environment for both management and employees.

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Leland Moss

Leland Moss

Research Scientist Associate

Leland Moss is a Research Scientist Associate with The Water Institute of the Gulf. Leland joined the Institute in August 2013 as a research intern where he worked on a variety of tasks, including providing technical support to the Expert Panel on Diversion Planning and Implementation, assisting in the development of the System-Wide Assessment and Monitoring Program (SWAMP), and integrating a nutrient impact conceptual model with sediment diversion modeling efforts.

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Collin Ortals

Collin Ortals

Research Associate

Collin Ortals is a Research Associate with the Natural Systems Modeling team. Prior to joining the Institute, Ortals carried out research with Jorge Abad, Ph.D. and the Center for Research and Education of the Amazonian Rainforest (CREAR) in the Amazon River Basin, leading to interest and success within the fields of geographic information systems (GIS) and hydraulics. He has previously worked on large FEMA floodplain studies that involved data management and numerical modeling.

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Cyndhia Ramatchandirane

Cyndhia Ramatchandirane

Scientist Associate

Cyndhia Ramatchandirane is a Scientist Associate with The Water Institute. She has four years of experience studying and conducting fieldwork across coastal Louisiana, generally examining fluvial sediment delivery in tidal marsh systems. Her research interests include coastal restoration and water resources science and management, as well as sediment and freshwater exchange between deltas and coastal basins and margins.

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Sequoia Riley

Sequoia Riley

Research Associate

Sequoia Riley is a Research Associate with The Water Institute of the Gulf under the Department of People, Resources, and Technology. Before joining the Institute, Sequoia received her Marine Resource Management master’s degree from Texas A&M University where her master’s non-thesis project involved evaluating the vulnerability of Toxic Release Inventory to determine how they may impact marine life on the Texas Coast.

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Kazi Sadid

Kazi Sadid

Research Scientist

Kazi Sadid is a Research Scientist for The Water Institute of the Gulf. He has six years of experience in the development and application of hydrologic and hydraulic numerical models in coastal, estuarine and riverine systems. He has been involved in studies of multidimensional modeling of the lower Mississippi River and Wax Lake delta with a focus on sediment transport.

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Jesse Saska

Jesse Saska

IT Systems Administrator

Jesse brings nearly a decade of experience in IT to The Water Institute of the Gulf and is responsible for the management of systems, server and network infrastructure, business operations, and shaping the organization’s overall IT strategy.

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Laurie Wales

Laurie Wales

Grants & Contracts Analyst

Laurie Wales is a Grants & Contracts Analyst with The Water Institute of the Gulf. She has ten prior years of experience in research administration within the LSU System. Laurie’s grants and contracts background is in both post-award grant accounting as well as pre-award contract review and negotiation.

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Yushi Wang

Yushi Wang

Research Scientist

Yushi Wang is a Research Scientist with The Water Institute of the Gulf’s Natural Systems Modeling and Monitoring group. He has over six years of experience conducting hydraulic and water resources studies using numerical models. His areas of expertise include numerical simulation of hydrodynamic, water quality modeling, hydraulic design and environmental impact assessment.

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Dallon Weathers

Dallon Weathers

Coastal Scientist

Dallon Weathers has been working as a Coastal Geologist in Louisiana for the past 9 years. He is a Coastal Scientist within the Physical Processes and Sediment Systems group at The Water Institute of the Gulf, where his main interests are the physical processes and geomorphology of rivers, inlets, deltas, and beaches.

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Eric White

Eric White

Research Engineer

Eric White, P.E. is a Research Engineer for The Water Institute of the Gulf, where he is member of the Natural Systems Modeling & Monitoring group. He is a licensed Professional Engineer with over 5 years of experience in the field of hydrologic and hydraulic modeling. White has additional experience in model development and with developing advanced geoprocessing routines within the ESRI ArcMap and arcpy environments.

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Amy Wold

Amy Wold

Director of Communications

Amy Wold is the Director of Communications for The Water Institute of the Gulf. She comes to the Institute after 26 years as a newspaper reporter covering science, environmental, and coastal issues both on the West Coast and in Louisiana.

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Brendan Yuill

Brendan Yuill

Research Scientist

Brendan Yuill, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist for The Water Institute of the Gulf, primarily working on applied research related to river sediment processes and hydrodynamics.

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