Sea Grant staff member wins national award

Sea Grant’s Sharon Moen won the 2023 Communications Service Award from the National Sea Grant Communicators Network in a virtual ceremony last week.

Moen has been a part of the Sea Grant community for 24 years, beginning as an editor for Minnesota Sea Grant and now serving as the food-fish outreach coordinator for Wisconsin Sea Grant. Throughout the years, her skills at conveying messages about the study, conservation and economic importance of the Great Lakes have been front and center.

“Science communications work can be terrifying, funny, riveting and maddening but it is certainly important,” Sharon Moen said. “I’m honored my colleagues recognized my terror and joy with this award. I continue to be inspired by the Sea Grant Network and the innovative ways its communicators are extending information to enhance the use and conservation of coastal, marine and Great Lakes resources.” 

Close-up of smiling person

This award is presented every two years to an individual from one of Sea Grant’s 34 programs located in coastal states, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico. It recognizes creativity, vision and a commitment to the Sea Grant mission and goes to someone who has notched noteworthy accomplishments. In Moen’s case that has been a lengthy list, including:

  • Publishing a book in 2015 that detailed the founding of the national Sea Grant program by Athelstan Spilhaus, a scientist, inventor and former university dean.
  • Taking on national leadership roles that improved the effectiveness of the overall program.
  • Leading a communication planning effort for an aquatic invasive species prevention campaign in the Great Lakes basin.
  • Preparing a Great Lakes research symposium report, and another about ballast water, coordinating work between U.S. and Canadian scientists and other international professionals.
  • Creating an award-winning podcast series focused on Lake Superior.

In selecting her for the award, one judge said, “Sharon has had a remarkable impact on state, regional and Sea Grant network communications throughout her career. Her ability to relay scientific information in a creative and engaging way has set a standard for science communication.”