Support Science By Supporting the Shaw Institute

Shaw Institute

“The Shaw Institute is unique in that we are operating lean, we are collaborative, and we are a catalyst for change. We may be small in numbers, but we make a big impact.”

Dr. Susan Shaw – Founder, Shaw Institute

On behalf of the Shaw Institute Board of Directors and staff, I want to extend heartfelt thanks for your steadfast friendship and support through the years. The sudden passing of Dr. Susan Shaw earlier this year required the Institute to “steady the ship” and move full speed ahead. To strive toward a world where oceans are healthy and people, communities and ecosystems around us thrive, we will need your continued help.

Many of you may not know me. I’m Dr. Charles Rolsky, but please call me Charlie.

I had the very good fortune of being recruited by Susan to join her team as Senior Research Scientist to help protect our marine ecosystems and study the links between the environment and human health.

My research focuses on marine and aquatic contamination, a major concern within many ecosystems and environments around the world. I hold a Ph.D. from Arizona State University, where I conducted groundbreaking research at their Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering. I’m proud to say that our research made a true impact, well beyond just the scientific community, reaching the general public via such media outlets as ForbesTime MagazineNew York Times and other major media outlets.

My wife and I moved here from Arizona, excited to join Susan and her amazing team. Sadly, Susan, one of the world’s leading eco-warriors and researchers, moved on from the planet she so loved and worked hard to protect. But I remain committed to build on her three decades of research. I joined the Institute in May 2022, and in just a few months, we have made great strides to frame our direction into 2023 and beyond.

Here are some of the things we’ve already accomplished this year:

  • Entered into a collaborative partnership with world-renowned scientists Dr. Kurunthachalam Kannan and Dr. Leonardo Trasande, NYU/Langone Health, who will provide samples of human placenta tissue to the Institute to test for the presence of microplastics.
  • Launched a new service, available to the public, to analyze the presence of “forever chemicals” (PFAS) in our homes and the environment. We are also working on a study to determine if these dangerous substances are present in the blood of Canadian firefighters, who are exposed to these toxic chemicals while keeping their communities safe.
  • Re-opened our popular Environmental Speaker Series to live attendance and continued to raise awareness of current environmental threats to people and the planet through keynote speakers. Over the years we have hosted over 150 speakers.
  • Published a research paper that discusses how we must invest resources in fighting both global warming and plastic pollution, as they are inextricably linked. We also have submitted two manuscripts for publication and co-authored another three research papers this year alone. To date, in total we have published over 30 peer reviewed papers.
  • Hosted two student interns for the summer from Colby College who assisted with our coastal monitoring and research, bringing our total to 75 interns educated and inspired over the past three decades.

And, we have many other important plans for the future.

Dr. Shaw would expect no less.

Your investment in our shared goals will help the Institute continue to measure exposure to toxic chemicals and monitor the impacts of climate change on ocean wildlife and human health.

  • With your gift of $50, we will enhance community outreach and education.
  • With your gift of $100, we will improve our laboratory testing capabilities.
  • With your gift of $1,000, we will pursue new technologies through collaboration and the acquisition of equipment that supports our key research.
  • A monthly gift will allow us to plan farther into the future.
  • You may also make your gift in memory of Susan Shaw – or a gift in honor of a special person in your life.

Time is of the essence. Are you able to make a gift of $1,000, $100, $50 or $25 to help us continue our quest to keep our planet clean and protect the health and wellbeing of people and ocean wildlife? If so, donate HERE.

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Dr. Shaw’s footprints are not lost in the sand. With apologies to Albert Camus’s original quote, we are convinced she would ask us now:

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me. . . and be a good friend to our planet.”

With sincere thanks,

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Charles Rolsky, Ph.D. – Senior Research Scientist