We are stewards of our planet pursuing opportunities for knowledge and value creation in a sustainable Blue Economy by connecting researchers, entrepreneurs, the business community and non-governmental and governmental affiliates.

BE Hub

Project Blue will be the initial step towards creating a Blue Economy research, tech transfer and innovation hub in New Haven, Connecticut. By using the emerging Long Island Sound kelp/seaweed industry as a catalyst for subsequent Blue Economy initiatives, this project implements a transdisciplinary approach by leveraging expertise from academia, business, the government sector, and civil society.

kelp in water

Our Goals

Our overarching goal is focused innovation for the Blue Economy in Long Island Sound all while maintaining a commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals – especially goals 8 (Decent work and economic growth), 13 (Climate action), and 14 (Life below water). In this initial phase of the project, SCSU students will be formed into research innovation teams and, with the assistance of their faculty mentors, will create proof-of-concept products and innovations in the Blue Economy.

Sustainable Development Goals

Our Team

The Project Blue Hub was created by a team of dedicated researchers who want to create a better world by focusing on the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved lives, and ocean ecosystem health.

Patrick Heidkamp

C. Patrick Heidkamp, Ph.D, Executive Director, & Co-PI

Dr. Patrick Heidkamp is a Professor in the Department of the Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences at SCSU and a visiting Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK. He is also a co-director of the Connecticut State University Center for Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Education and an affiliate of the Economic Rights Research Group at the University of Connecticut. His current research focuses on transdisciplinary engagement with the blue economy and just sustainability transitions in the coastal zone. Patrick has international teaching and/or research experience in Africa, Central America, and Europe. His work has been published in leading journals such as the Annals of Regional Science, Applied Geography, Geography Compass, Geoforum, GeoHumanities, Political Science Quarterly, and Urban Geography.

Colleen Bielitz

Colleen L. Bielitz, Ph.D., Chief Business Officer & Co-PI

For the past three decades, Dr. Colleen Bielitz has been transforming institutions through strategic initiatives, creative entrepreneurship, and visionary leadership. Considered by her peers as a disruptive innovator, she is a blue economy & technology evangelist. Her primary focus, the United Nations' 17 SDGs which provide a road map for progress that is sustainable and leaves no one behind. Dr. Bielitz was on the launch team for MassDigI and the first Yunus Social Business Centre in the United States. She has been a founding member of science and technology incubators in Massachusetts and Connecticut and is a passionate advocate for promoting social good.

Emma Cross

Emma Cross, Ph.D., Researcher

Dr. Emma Cross is a marine biologist whose research includes climate change impacts on marine organisms, paleo-biology and marine ecology of Connecticut coastal waters. She has research experience and/or international collaborations with the UK, New Zealand, Spain, and Antarctica. Dr. Cross’ research has been published in high impact journals including Global Change Biology, Environmental Science & Technology, Biology Letters, ICES Journal of Marine Science, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology and Biodiversity.

Miriah Kelly

Miriah Kelly, Ph.D., Researcher

Dr. Miriah M. Russo Kelly (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science in the Department of Environment, Geography, and Marine Sciences at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, CT. Dr. Kelly’s teaching and research focuses on the human dimensions of ocean and coastal climate change issues. Dr. Kelly works in the area of environmental management and decision-making, and studies collaborative and transdisciplinary approaches to addressing complex environmental problems. Dr. Kelly is also dedicated to translational environmental sciences, including environmental communication, environmental education, and environmental engagement.

Michaela Garland

Michaela Garland, Researcher

Michaela is a researcher in the Department of Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences at Southern CT state University. Michaela's research interests are focused on the blue economy, marine social science, and sustainable transitions. Michaela will be responsible for research on the Iceland Ocean Cluster model as well as assist in research and teaching of kelp innovations, product development, and sustainability practices. Michaela will also be involved in aiding student innovation teams by providing support and oversight.

Dr. Scott Graves

Dr. Scott Graves, PhD., Researcher

Dr. Graves educational background/training includes: a Doctorate of Philosophy in Science & Technology Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Idaho (1999), a Master’s of Science (ABD) in Marine Geology/Geophysics from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography (1990), and a Bachelor’s degree in Earth Science from the University of California Santa Cruz, in addition to an Associate’s Degree and technical certificates in Earth Science and Geotechnical application and Science Illustration. Dr. Graves recent research focus has been on “Proximal Sensing” (low altitude drone mapping of coastal environments), particularly coastal forests, wetlands and beaches. Dr. Graves has a long history of interaction and serves as a Master Trainer in the International GLOBE Program (www.globe.gov), the largest and longest running international collaborative among earth and environmental scientists and science educators with members in over 120 countries. Dr. Graves served as host/emcee of the 21st international GLOBE conference here at SCSU which drew 350 senior scientists and agency personnel from NASA, NOAA, NSF and US State Department, CT DEEP and other New England researchers in addition to similarly placed colleagues in agencies and academia from over 40 countries. Also included were K-12 teachers and over 30 international students. Prior to hosting that GLOBE event, Dr. Graves served as lead consultant on the GLOBE Technology Advisory Working Group that helped in redesigning the GLOBE website, introducing GLOBE Apps and in updating data gathering protocols. Dr. Graves has a long history of including GLOBE.Gov activities in virtually all his grant-funded research endeavors (<$10M over 25 years).

Katarzyna Toskin

Katarzyna Toskin, DBA., Collaborator

Dr. Toskin is an Associate Professor of Business Information Systems at SCSU. In addition, she is the lead faculty for the GetVirtual service based learning course which provides students with valuable real life learning experience while supporting small businesses in their local community. Furthermore, Dr. Toskin is currently working on establishing a new organization focused on Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship and Economic Development housed in the School of Business. She holds a Doctorate degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida as well as MBA degree from Quinnipiac University, and Master’s in Computer Information Technology from CCSU. Her research interests include data analytics, artificial intelligence, computing education, gender parity in entrepreneurial landscape, employee motivation, and work value differences. She has published in journals such as Journal of Computer Information Systems, Journal of Information Systems Education, Information Systems Education Journal, International Business: Research, Teaching, and Practice. Prior to joining academia, Dr. Toskin has spent fifteen years in the industry helping organizations develop Business and Information Systems solutions.

Sara Wade

Sara Wade, University Assistant & Researcher

Sara joins the Project Blue team after over a decade in international development and global health. Her work has brought her across the globe focusing on issues like strengthening healthcare systems in rural and peri-urban communities, environmental justice, human rights, and sustainability. She brings a breadth of experience in fundraising, operations, and finance to support the Project Blue team with proposal development, communications, and operations. Sara completed a dual BS at Southern Connecticut State University in Political Science, Psychology, Economic Geography, and Public Health, and an MSc in Human Rights and International Criminal Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Noelle King

Noelle King, Undergraduate Researcher & CEO of Kraken Seltzer Company

Noelle is an undergraduate student at Southern Connecticut State University, majoring in Environmental Systems and Sustainability, and CEO of Kraken Seltzer Company. She is currently involved in an independent study that focuses on mapping and quantifying Connecticut's Blue Economy. She is also working on a departmental honors thesis and the launch of Kraken Seltzer: a sustainable, sugar kelp-based beverage company incubated by Project Blue. Her research interests include sustainable transitions in the Blue Economy, climate change, and environment-economy interactions.

Theresa Cocola

Theresa Cocola, Undergraduate Researcher

Theresa is currently a senior at Southern Connecticut State University pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Systems and Sustainability. Theresa’s research interests are focused on the Blue Economy, sustainable transitions, and models of sustainable business. She plans to continue her focus on these areas next year at the graduate level. In her work with Project Blue, she is additionally supporting the launch of Kraken Seltzer Company.

Vanessa Heigel

Vanessa Heigel, Undergraduate Researcher

Vanessa is a senior at Southern Connecticut State University where she is majoring in Environmental systems and Sustainability, with a minor in Geographic Information Systems. Her current research interests are climate adaptation and mitigation, sustainable systems, and the Blue Economy. She is focusing on the quantitative realm of the Blue Economy to gain a better understanding through an independent study. Additionally, Vanessa is currently working with Ideal Fish to create fish bone broth to minimize waste.