Educating over 125,000 stewards of Puget Sound since 1984

Board Members

Pat Maxwell, Executive Director

Along with his managerial role with PMR Pat is also one of the primary instructors. Sometimes referred to as the Plankton Guy, Pat has an infectious enthusiasm for sharing the biological wonders of Puget Sound. With over 30 years’ experience both teaching classes for the Marine Science Afloat™ program and guiding its ongoing development, Pat has been a big part of the PMR adventure from its very beginning. During the early years of the program, off-the-shelf video microscopes and underwater camera systems were not affordable for a non-profit education program, but Pat was able to apply his talent with trial-and-error engineering to bring several exciting marine life exploration tools to the program. Pat is also skilled at bringing to PMR the best people who share his passion for fun hands-on education.

Shelly HallBoard Member

Shelly joined the PMR Board after first experiencing the Marine Science Afloat Program as a chaperone for her then 5th grade daughter and seeing first-hand how the Marine Science Afloat Program impacted both students and adults. Shelly is a passionate environmentalist with a long professional career focused on conservation, protection and restoration of natural resources as an environmental attorney with the U.S. Department of Interior working on natural resource damage claims resulting from hazardous waste releases and oil spills. Her 20 year career as an attorney representing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. National Park Service has given her a deep appreciation and a commitment of the role of education in protecting natural resources locally, regionally and nationally. Since moving to the Seattle area in 2007, she has worked as a volunteer for Bellevue Parks as a Master Naturalist and the Bellevue Stream Team Program. Shelly joined the PMR Board in 2012 committed to the goal of helping to provide the unique and valuable experience of the Marine Science Afloat Program to the youth in the Puget Sound region.

Sarah MathisenBoard Member

Sarah’s interest in Puget Sound marine life began at an early age with frequent visits to local beaches during low tides with her mother, a marine life enthusiast. She also participated in the Marine Science Afloat program as a student in 3rd grade and was fortunate to return as a program instructor from 2009-2012. This continued exposure to marine ecosystems has given her a great appreciation of Puget Sound, its marine life, and the importance of marine life education and exposure. Sarah received a degree in biology from Connecticut College, but felt a strong longing to return to the Pacific Northwest to share her enthusiasm for this region, especially Puget Sound. Sarah has been working with Pacific Marine Research since 2009, although no longer as a program instructor, much to her disappointment. Sarah looks back on those days and describes it as the most impactful job she has had. She is grateful to continue to be a part of PMR and looks forward to a day she can join them on the water again.

Read more about Sarah


Thomas MickelBoard Member

Thomas Mickel holds a Ph.D. in Biology, an M.A. in Biology, and a B.A. in Zoology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He also earned an M.S. in Scientific Instrument Design from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Physics.

Early in his career, Tom was involved in numerous scientific research expeditions. He joined Dr. Bob Ballard (discoverer of the Titanic) on the team that completed the first biological expedition that studied the Galapagos Hydrothermal Vents. Tom has published numerous research papers on mid-water and hydrothermal vent animals. Tom has been in deep-sea submersibles to over1200 meters deep. Tom is also an accomplished executive, inventor and entrepreneur and he has founded numerous companies and designed surgical and electronic instruments. Tom holds 7patents in surgical instrument design and function including instruments for neurosurgery, cranial-facial surgery and image guided surgery. Tom co-founded Mednext Inc., a medical device manufacturing firm now owned by Medtronic, Inc.

Tom has taught all levels of students from pre-school through adult. He founded The Science Store, Inc. and developed over 125 hands-on science classes that he brought to schools, libraries and other organizations. Tom is currently developing educational products for children’s museums as well as working with several non-profit organizations to help teach the importance of protecting the marine environment.


Kathryn PizzoBoard Member

After a successful 20-year career in the high tech industry in Seattle, Kathryn Pizzo has transitioned her energy to the nonprofit world, focusing on a variety of environmental education experiences for children. She led the school garden program in the Bellevue School District;  works with the EPA on food waste recovery from school cafeterias; and leads Girl Scout troops in outdoor exploration and service experiences. She is a longtime member of the Washington Women’s Foundation, the Bellevue Schools Foundation, and several advocacy organizations.  She received her education at the University of Michigan, Seattle Pacific University, and the University of Washington. Kathryn is a passionate advocate for the natural gifts of the Pacific Northwest, both land and sea, and enjoys boating adventures with her husband, two tween daughters, and water-averse dog.


David Todd, Board Member

David Todd is a Real Estate Broker with Lake and Company in Seattle who specializes in Seattle area homes. In addition, he is a Program Instructor at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium's Shark Dive Program. As an avid Puget Sound SCUBA Diver he works with the Citizen Science organization REEF to monitor Washington State fish and invertebrate populations.


Melissa Cable, Advisory Board

Melissa brings over 20 years of business, marketing and project management skills to Pacific Marine Research. She began her professional career at a Los Angeles-based public relations firm specializing in non-profit and political campaign management. She developed grassroots campaigns for local initiatives and school bonds and worked on statewide campaigns addressing environmental, social and healthcare issues. She followed her passion for food and wine by serving as Brand Manager for Patina Restaurant Group and Chateau Ste. Michelle wines. Her company, Create Recklessly, develops jewelry making supplies and she is the author of three books and two videos on the subject (Kalmbach Publishing/F&W Media). She holds an MBA from the University of Washington and is a graduate of the Political Campaign Management Institute at UC Davis. Pacific Marine Research offers her the perfect opportunity to support Northwest youth and the environment, two topics important to her, while returning to her non-profit roots.