Julianne Stockbridge

Julianne Stockbridge ’20

Professional Science Master's (PSM) in Ocean Food Systems

Supporting coastal fishing communities

Embodying entrepreneurial spirit, Julianne Stockbridge ’20 was first introduced to UNE through her professional efforts with The Nature Conservancy in Belize, where she’s worked for more than 12 years. Four years ago, she directed her efforts towards supporting coastal fishing communities in Belize, and she decided the best way to provide this support was through developing a seaweed aquaculture program. The more the program took shape, the more her overall fascination in the field grew. To help bring her vision to fruition, Julianne began collaborating with members of UNE’s Marine Science Center.

“We saw a multitude of synergies between the kelp farming in Maine and seaweed farming in Belize. The more we talked, the more we realized that we were facing similar challenges. In 2017, staff from UNE came to Belize to conduct a site visit that would help us to strategically plan and develop a UNE-TNC partnership and in 2018 we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNE to advance our collective work in aquaculture.”

After witnessing the values and holistic approach of the University, it became clear that the Institute of North Atlantic Studies (UNE NORTH) Professional Science Master’s in Ocean Food Systems (PSM) would be the perfect place for Julianne to expand her understanding of the field of aquaculture. With her established career in marine conservation, and her current community-oriented work focusing on fisheries and aquaculture, she needed a place where she could view issues and subjects on both local and global scales, while also seeing the real-world impact of the science.

While her immense passion more than earned Julianne her place in the program, as Doherty Foundation fellow, Julianne has credited the organization with making her studies possible.

“I would have never been able to do this program if it were not for the generous assistance of the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Foundation. I would also love to invite them to visit our farms in Belize one day. I’d love the opportunity to share the beauty of my home, and the work I’ve been able to do because of them.”

With experiential opportunities like spending time in Maine’s Cobscook Bay, as well as Iceland, Julianne’s been able to experience perspectives she had never considered, and that will undoubtedly shape her future work for the better.

“These immersive experiences we’ve had have been thought-provoking and, not wanting to sound cliché, potentially life-changing. I have had a career in marine conservation for 22+ years. Having this exposure at this stage in my life and career is like a breath of fresh air. It’s rejuvenating!”

Many years ago, a serendipitous meeting during a four-day sea kayaking trip on Chesapeake Bay began a relationship that has yielded enormous dividends for the trajectory of marine science programs at UNE. Walter Brown, president of the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Foundation, found himself paddling with outdoor enthusiast and former advancement officer Nicole Connelly, whose description of UNE’s unique coastal campus and marine facility intrigued him. As one of the nation’s leading funders for marine sciences and education, the Doherty Foundation invests in institutions capable of robust oceanographic activities. After a September visit to the Marine Science Center and subsequent proposal, Walter and his fellow board members gifted $1 million to endow the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Chair of Marine Sciences at UNE. It was a momentous event in the University’s history.

Fast forward ten years later. Dr. Barry Costa-Pierce, recruited to become UNE’s first Doherty Chair of Marine Sciences after an international search, has helped shape UNE’s marine science program into a world-class operation in collaboration with his esteemed faculty colleagues. He recently transitioned to become the Executive Director of UNE NORTH. Not surprisingly, the launch of UNE’s unique Professional Science Masters in Ocean Food Systems recently attracted the Doherty Foundation’s renewed investment in UNE’s growth. With a $400,000 gift, the foundation is funding substantial tuition and travel support for 12 Doherty Fellows enrolled in the program over the next three years, providing these promising young people unparalleled opportunities for study offered nowhere else around the globe. With deep gratitude, we thank the Henry L. And Grace Doherty Foundation for the dividends their giving has yielded for UNE, its students, and the marine world.

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