PI / Graduate Students / Alumni

Gavin Fay

Associate Professor
+1 508 910 6363
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Graduate students


Amanda Hart
Ph.D. candidate
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Amanda joined the Fay lab in the fall of 2016. She grew up in New Mexico and attended the University of Miami where she majored in Marine Science and Biology. Her PhD thesis work is centered around developing methods and communication tools for ecosystem-based fisheries Management Strategy Evaluation. In this work, Amanda is using ecosystem models of New England and Mid-Atlantic fisheries that seek to include a broader range of environmental data, fishing fleet dynamics, and species interactions than current stock assessment models. In fall 2023, Amanda began a position as a stock assessment Fish Biologist at NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole.



Luca McGinnis
M.S. student
Luca joined the Fay Lab in the summer of 2020. Their M.S. research is focused on improving the use of fishery dependent data in Northeast US fishery stock assessments, specifically through spatially explicit catch per unit effort (CPUE) standardization for US Atlantic cod. Luca holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science from Boston University, with undergraduate thesis research on using micro-CT imaging and modeling software to compare the morphology of sympatric sand lance species (genus Ammodytes) in the Gulf of Maine. In summer 2023 they started a full time position as a Research Biologist for the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation.



Angelia Miller
M.S. student
Angelia joined the Fay Lab in the spring of 2021. Growing up in Frederick, Maryland, she earned a B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy from Hood College. Since graduating, Angelia has been employed with Frederick County Government managing stormwater permit compliance activities, watershed restoration goals, and database tracking needs. Her research interests and thesis work focus on using quantitative and spatial tools to model and capture species interactions and movements to support current and future management decisions.


Pérez Cuesta

María Cristina Pérez Cuesta
Ph.D. student
I joined the Fay Lab in the fall of 2021. I am a Marine Biologist with a Master degree in Fisheries Science from the University of Concepcion (UdeC-Chile). I have been working since 2016 at Instituto de Fomento Pesquero (IFOP-Chile) providing scientific advice for the yellownose skate and southern hake stock assessments and also participate as a researcher in the scientific committees for the demersal fisheries. My topics of interest are Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE), population rebuilding, ecosystem- based fisheries management, and sustainable fisheries.


Pérez Cuesta

Catalina Roman
Ph.D. student
Catalina Roman is a marine biologist and holds a Master’s in fisheries from Universidad de Concepción Chile. During her time as a student, she has worked on the standardization of a relative abundance index of a rock lobster species from Juan Fernandez Archipelago as her undergrad thesis and then, and for her master’s thesis project, she studied the spatio-temporal migratory patterns of the same fishing resource using mark recapture data. In 2014, she joined the Fisheries Assessment Department of IFOP (Chilean Fisheries Development Institute), where she has been working as a researcher in the assessment of discard and incidental catch of demersal fisheries of Chile. In 2021, Catalina joined the Fay lab as a PhD student.



Kamran Walsh
Ph.D. student
Kamran Walsh is a PhD student at the School of Marine Science and Technology who joined the Fay Lab in the fall of 2023. He previously attended the Scripps Institution of Oceanography as an undergraduate and Master’s student, where his research centered around interdisciplinary studies of larval fishes in the California Current Ecosystem. While living on the West Coast, he was also involved in the California Cooperative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP), a statewide program that intersects Marine Protected Area research with stakeholder involvement, as well as work ranging from bluefin tuna aquaculture to four years in the fishing industry. For his PhD, he is interested in building strength in quantitative techniques that address contemporary issues of fisheries and ecosystem management in the New England area and beyond.



Megan Winton
Ph.D. candidate
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Megan’s research interests are centered on the development and application of statistical methods to improve understanding of the spatial ecology and population dynamics of highly migratory marine species. Her Ph.D. research is focused on developing frameworks to integrate electronic tagging data into population assessments for protected or prohibited species, with focus on geostatistical methods applied to loggerhead sea turtles in the Mid-Atlantic, and to white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Megan earned her M.S. in Marine Science at California State University Monterey Bay’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratory, and received her B.S. in Biology from Emory University. Megan has applied her quantitative analytical skills in positions at several research institutions, including Connamessett Farm Foundation and the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center. (Main collaborators: Dr. Heather Haas, NOAA NEFSC, Dr. Greg Skomal, Mass DMF)


(current position in italics)


Olivia Aguiar
undergraduate marine data science technician 2020-2022
MS student, Oklahoma State University



Tabitha Breault
undergraduate marine data science technician 2019-2022
Senior, UMass Dartmouth class of 2023



Dr. Jonathan Cummings
Postdoctoral researcher 2018-2021
Species Status Assessment Scientist, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Personal website



Sofia Gabriel
lab technician 2019
PhD student, University of Tasmania



Madeleine Guyant
Technical Associate & Decision support specialist 2022-2024
Global Fisheries Specialist, The Nature Conservancy
Madeleine’s work with the lab focused on the New England & Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils’ synthesis of Fish Habitat and Climate Vulnerability assessments, as well as facilitating stakeholder engagement for the New England Fishery Management Council’s prototype Management Strategy Evaluation for Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management of Georges Bank. Madeleine also supported stakeholder workshops on CINAR-funded work to evaluate changes to NOAA fishery independent survey data products due to overlap with wind installation and lease areas. Madeleine holds a Master’s in Environment Politics and Development from SOAS University of London, and undergraduate degrees from North Carolina State University in Environmental Technology and Management and French Language and Literature. She has a background in fisheries and wildlife policy, and enjoys working with science communication.



Dr. Emily Liljestrand, PhD
Postdoctoral researcher 2023
Stock assessment scientist, NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Emily’s postdoc work in the lab focused on technical analyses for the New England Fishery Management Council’s prototype Management Strategy Evaluation for Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management of Georges Bank. This included developing modules for a multispecies MSE, including stock complex-based control rules, and working with a multispecies length-based operating model, Hydra. Emily received her Ph.D. from Michigan State University where her research focused on the performance of state-space stock assessment models. Emily was also a 2019 recipient of the NMFS-SeaGrant Population and Ecosystem Dynamics Fellowship.



Ashleigh Novak
Technical associate & lab manager (2019-2021)
Atlantic White Shark Conservancy
Personal website, Google Scholar



Liberty Schilpp
M.S. 2018
Education Coordinator & Science/Math teacher, Nauset Academy, Brewster MA
Liberty completed her non-thesis M.S. degree in the Fay lab, with research on evaluating factors contributing to variability in size-at-age for Northeast US groundfish, and the implications of size-based time-varying natural mortality in state-space stock assessment models for Gulf of Maine cod. (Main collaborator: Dr. Tim Miller, NOAA NEFSC)



Dr. Tammy Silva, PhD
Postdoctoral researcher 2018-2020
Research Marine Scientist,
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary , @tammylsilva



Dr. Vanessa Trijoulet, PhD
Visiting Scholar UMassD, Postdoctoral researcher NOAA NEFSC 2016-2018
Stock assessment scientist, Danish Technical University, Denmark
Google Scholar
Vanessa worked in collaboration with NOAA Fisheries (Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Woods Hole) and SMAST on the development of a multispecies state-space fisheries assessment model for the Georges Bank stocks. Vanessa’s research focus is on marine ecosystem modelling, with interests in using modelling to study population-level interactions and improve conservation and management strategies. Vanessa obtained her PhD from the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, UK) where she applied bioeconomic models of grey seal predation impacts on the West of Scotland fisheries. Vanessa has a Master’s degree in oceanography, specialized in marine biology from the Oceanographic Centre of Marseille, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sciences and technique specialized in life sciences and marine biology from the University of La Rochelle. (Main collaborators: Dr. Kiersten Curti & Dr. Tim Miller, NOAA NEFSC)



Samantha Weiss
lab technician 2019-2020
MS student, Georgia Southern University



Ashley Weston
M.S. 2018
Statistician, NOAA Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office
Ashley grew up fishing on the Chesapeake Bay. She attained a B.S. double major in Fisheries Conservation and Biological Sciences from Virginia Tech. For her MS thesis, Ashley worked with groundfish stock assessments in the Gulf of Alaska, focusing on developing models that account for the effects of environmental drivers on fisheries resources and discerning robust selection tools for these models. In addition, Ashley investigated subsequent implications of future climate change within these stock assessments on current management policies. (Main collaborator: Dr. Carey McGilliard, NOAA AFSC)



Robert Wildermuth
Ph.D. 2021
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California Santa Cruz
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Robert’s research interests focus on how to use quantitative tools to make effective management decisions with uncertain and incomplete knowledge. As a 2018 NMFS-Sea Grant Population and Ecosystem Dynamics Fellow, his PhD work looked at how assumptions about the structure and function of marine social-ecological systems can affect decision-making. He applied both quantitative and qualitative models in Bayesian statistical frameworks to analyze decision-support tools for managing the social-ecological system on Georges Bank, USA, including objectives of fisheries sustainability and human wellbeing. Robert earned a B.S. in Zoology and Biological Sciences at Colorado State University and a M.S. in Biology at Arizona State. Research topics included demographic effects of California sea lion aggressive behavior, sexually selected traits in the Trinidadian guppy, and oil spill impacts on marine mammal and mollusk populations. (Main PhD collaborator: Dr. Sarah Gaichas, NOAA NEFSC)