Clean Ocean Action

Clean Ocean Action Staff

Cindy Zipf

Executive Director

Carmela Caracappa Photography

Cindy Zipf uses her passion for science and advocacy to create campaigns and programs to drive public policy and reduce pollution.  Since its beginning in 1984, she has been at the helm of COA, the lean, green, ocean pollution fighting machine that is the only full-time ocean advocacy organization dedicated exclusively to the NY and NJ region. She reviews and evaluates regional, state, and federal policies for impacts to marine water quality and, through science, research and education, works toward solutions for issues of concern.

Cindy is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a B.A. in Geography and Marine Affairs with a special emphasis in marine science. In 1984 the waters off the NY/NJ coasts were known as the “Ocean Dumping Capitol of the World”, and in response, the COAlition was formed and consisted of 20 organizations. As a founder and a staff of one, Cindy has expanded the coalition to over 120 organizations and a professional staff of ten full-time employees.

Mary-Beth Thompson

Chief Operating Officer

Mary-Beth Thompson provides leadership in COA’s general office management, human resources, financial recording and reporting, and federal and state legal and insurance compliance. She began as a volunteer with COA in the 1980’s and in 1994 was offered the position of Business Manager. Prior to COA, Mary-Beth worked as a financial administrator in North Jersey and for several Monmouth County businesses. She graduated from Monmouth University in 1980 with a BA in Art and a minor in Business. Her husband and three sons are avid all-year-round surfers and active volunteers for COA.

Kari Martin

Advocacy Campaign Manager

Kari originally joined the COA staff in 2000 as a college summer intern. In 2001, she joined the staff full time, focusing on outreach and education. Over a span of 8 years, Kari served in assistant and director positions in education, policy, outreach, and communciations. Having met her future husband while staffing a COA information & action table, Kari left her position in 2009 to raise a family.  Later she joined COA’s Board of Trustees from 2015-2019. Kari resigned from the Board in 2019 to rejoin the staff to work on education programs. Kari returned to her advocacy and outreach position a short time later, and now serves in her current capacity as Advocacy Campaign Manager. In this position, Kari engages elected officials, organizations, and residents of all ages and backgrounds in actions and initiatives to stop ocean pollution and harmful industrialization in the ocean. 

Kari received her Master of Science degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, with a concentration in Environmental Policy & Democratic Processes.  Her Master’s thesis was developed from her experience as a summer intern for COA.  She received her undergraduate degree from Alfred University, with a double major in Environmental Studies and Political Science. 

Swarna Muthukrishnan, PhD

Water Quality Research Director

Swarna Muthukrishnan received her Ph.D. in Environmental Science at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India, a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Florida and attended the Certificate Program in Biological Wastewater Treatment at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, The Netherlands, She has many years of experience in research and development, analytical techniques, laboratory and field investigations, sampling and monitoring methods, quality practices (QA/QC), scientific data analyses, scientific communication, monitoring and management of innovative treatment technologies and best management practices (BMPs) in water, wastewater, stormwater, sediments, soils, and reclaimed water.

Swarna's extensive experience and previous employment as an Environmental Scientist at the EPA in the Urban Watershed Management Branch, Water Supply, and Water Resources Division in Edison, NJ makes a tremendous addition to the already phenomenal COA crew.

Kaylee DiPasquale

Community Science Program Coordinator

Kaylee DiPasquale joined COA as Community Science Program Coordinator in August 2023 to oversee the Rally for the Waterways programs and engage the community in COA's waterway initiatives.

Kaylee received a B.A. in Earth Sciences and Elementary Education with a concentration in Marine Sciences from Rider University. She has a background in outreach work with Monmouth County Park System and, most recently, was teaching Oceanography at Brookdale Community College. With her education, experience, and passion for the ocean, Kaylee is like a fish in water in her position!

Kristen Grazioso

Education & Volunteer Coordinator

Kristen Grazioso joined COA's crew in March of 2020 as Education Coordinator to educate students of all ages about ocean pollution issues.

Kristen graduated from University of California – Santa Barbara with a degree in environmental studies and a minor in education. Kristen has experience in a school setting, and with nonprofit organizations and youth centers and camps. Prior to her employment, COA was already familiar with Kristen’s ability to communicate environmental issues and solutions. Kristen was training to become a COA Education Ambassador, and served as a workstation and field trip leader in recent Student Summits.

Kristen leads and develops our education programs and initiatives. She successfully launched the new SEAL program for high school students in 2020, and blazed the hybrid education trail for COA by transforming our Student Summits into a fun, informative, and engaging virtual experiences for middle school students.  Kristen brings her bi-coastal experiences to COA’s team.

Suzanne Power

Administrative Assistant

Suzanne Power joined Clean Ocean Action as Administrative Assistant in 2021. Raised on the beaches in Sea Bright, NJ, she has a deep concern for and love of the ocean. Her family has attended many of the marine science camps and programs on Sandy Hook and her ancestors were oystermen in Keyport.

Suzanne is a versatile and experienced administrative professional specializing in customer care, office management and problem-solving. She worked retail for many years, as well as in employee benefits and Human Resources. 

At COA, Suzanne assists the management team in all aspects, provides operational support for programs and events, and supports donor development. Suzanne’s enthusiasm and expertise will help improve and protect the ocean!

Toni Groet

South Jersey Program Coordinator

Toni Groet grew up on the beaches of Alabama and has known since she was a little kid that loving and advocating for the protection of our beautifully diverse marine ecosystem was her calling. Toni received her B.S in Biology from Auburn University and M.S. in Marine Conservation and Resource Management from University of Southern Alabama. She has worked on a variety of projects ranging from research projects focused on beach tourism, water quality studies, sea turtle conservation and protection, and coastal bird monitoring.

Toni’s family and career led her to New Jersey, where she started as an Beach Sweeps Captain for Clean Ocean Action while teaching high school in Atlantic City. Not long after, Toni joined the COA crew as the South Jersey Coordinator, with a goal of expanding COA’s presence and strengthening the connections to the communities in southern regions of the state.

Kira Cruz

Debris-Free Sea Coordinator

Kira Cruz’s journey as the Debris Free Sea Coordinator with COA started in January 2023. Although she is new to the COA Crew, she has been a devoted citizen scientist and volunteer for the organization for many years.

Born and raised in Manasquan NJ, Kira has always had a calling to the ocean and its creatures. Kira attended Stockton University where she attained her BS in Marine Science with a concentration in Biology. Kira also studied abroad in Cairns, Australia where she had the privilege of diving the Great Barrier Reef, working at her university’s aquarium with shark and fish husbandry, and assisting a fellow professor studying eelgrass.

Since graduating, Kira has worked in various sectors and volunteered for a number of environmental organizations local to the tri-state area. She is an avid traveler, scuba diver, fitness fanatic, dog mom, and advocate for protecting our oceans.

In her position at COA, Kira's work focuses on the annual Beach Sweeps, research on marine debris along NJ’s coast and various watersheds, incorporating new programs, furthering connections with like-minded organizations, reporting, and more. She is very excited to expand her knowledge and create an even deeper connection with the ocean.

Jocelyn Graham

Development and Resource Director

Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, Jocelyn started volunteering at local beaches and marinas throughout her youth. After graduating from Red Bank Catholic, she went on to begin her studies in Education at Delaware State University and her love for the beaches expanded from New Jersey to Delaware. Life came full circle and in 2020, Jocelyn relocated back to New Jersey to continue her work in Education. With COA, however, she’s taking a dive of faith into the nonprofit world, seeking to make waves of change to ensure our shores and marine water are “beachy” clean and protected. Her strong passion and internal fulfillment to give back has motivated Jocelyn to join Clean Ocean Action. COA is excited to have Jocelyn aboard as she brings her expertise and networking skills to set new goals for a stronger COA-lition with further community reach!

Erika Bosack, Esq.
Policy Attorney

Erika Bosack joined COA in summer 2023 as Policy Attorney, coming off the heels of a judicial clerkship in the Delaware Family Court—chosen in large part because of its proximity to the Delaware coast. In law school and college, both at the College of William & Mary, she studied environmental law and policy and worked with governmental and nonprofit organizations handling environmental issues. At COA, Erika works on shaping and garnering support for regional and national ocean protection policies, preparing comments and briefs and advocating for ocean protection. She is thrilled to contribute her knowledge of the legal system, and environmental law and policy to the COA team!

Catie Tobin

Microplastic Researcher

Catie Tobin is the Microplastics Researcher for Clean Ocean Action. Starting at COA as a Fellow in 2013, she quickly moved to the position of Marine Science Program Manager linking citizens, businesses, academia, and science eventually advancing to the role of Microplastics Researcher. In this role, she specifically works on advancing the organization’s microplastic agenda while also working on long-term data storage and accessibility of the Beach Sweeps dataset. 

Since 2016, she has congruently been pursuing her doctorate in Environmental Science at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB). At UMB, her research focuses on the environmental and social implications of microfiber ingestion by the eastern oyster. Starting in 2021, Catie is also a John A. Knauss Sea Grant Marine Policy Fellow for NOAA.  

As a NJ native and Jersey shore enthusiast (the actual place), Catie loves protecting the shores she grew up on.

Andrew Provence, Esq.
Of Counsel


49 Avenel Blvd.
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Field Office:

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

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