Sea Grant Communicator Receives UMD Outstanding Staff Award

Please join Minnesota Sea Grant in congratulating Marie Thoms, MNSG communications manager, for receiving one of four 2023-2024 Outstanding Staff Awards from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Left to right: UMD EVCAA Amy Hietapelto, UMD Interim Chancellor David McMillan, MNSG Communications Manager Marie Thoms, MNSG Director John A. Downing. Cait Dettmann/MNSG.

“Marie has been recognized as an important part of MNSG leadership and as an outstanding communicator across the University and the Sea Grant Network,” said MNSG Director John A. Downing. "She has created one of the most accessed and accessible web resources at the U of M and has increased the recognition of MNSG across the state by more than 10-fold since joining us seven years ago.” 

The award recognized four UMD employees who have consistently performed their ongoing responsibilities in an outstanding manner and have significantly enhanced the core values of UMD’s strategic plan. 

MNSG colleagues shared their comments about the award. 

"Marie is the communications glue that holds our team together," said Amy Schrank, MNSG extension program leader and fisheries and aquaculture extension educator. "She is a champion for the work MNSG does and her leadership of the communications team has been critical in making MNSG's work relevant, accessible, and impactful to the Minnesota communities we serve." 

“A hallmark of Marie’s work is her personal integrity” said Don Schreiner, MNSG fisheries specialist. “Marie challenges MNSG staff to justify and fact-check all of our work, which has led to increased credibility for MNSG.” 

"Marie leads Minnesota Sea Grant's efforts to communicate science to the people who need it," said Alex Frie, MNSG research and fellowship coordinator. "Under her leadership, Marie's team has worked diligently to reach new audiences, make information accessible for people of all abilities, and communicate usable science to the communities we serve." 

“We are delighted that Marie has been recognized with this award,” said Downing. “Marie makes sure that the great things happening at MNSG get out to the people who need our help. It is richly deserved.” 

Sea Grant is a federal-university partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and MNSG is one of 34 university-based programs in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Puerto Rico, and Guam. 

Learn more about Minnesota Sea Grant by signing up for MNSG’s monthly newsletter


Marie Thoms, Communications Manager, Minnesota Sea Grant, University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Duluth, 

John A. Downing, Director, Minnesota Sea Grant, University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Duluth,


Programs and Outreach Projects