Sea, Sand, and Sustainability


Because of climate change, half of the world’s beaches could disappear by the end of the century due to coastal erosion. This erosion will also have a tremendous impact on vital wildlife habitats, as well as coastal homes, livelihoods, and industries. And the vulnerability gap is even more prevalent in poorer and low-lying countries. Yet sand remains one of our most heavily exploited natural resources, with soaring demand for it in construction and land reclamation.

How do marine scientists, civil engineers, and management communities envision the twin issues of sand and sustainability? Find out during this enlightening and inspiring event, Global Perspectives: Climate Change, which brings together some of the brightest minds working to mitigate the effects of climate change and curb coastal erosion.

The World’s Oceans are in Peril. This Northeastern Graduate wants Generation Z to Care

Four months after hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Caribbean, 15 teams from islands across the region gathered in Antigua to develop high-tech solutions to help victims cope with future disasters.

Marine Organisms can Evolve and Adapt to Climates. But Will They?

It is known: Climate change means melting ice sheets and glaciers, supercharged storms, and rising sea levels.

But what you might not have known is that the effects of climate change are also seeping down into the ocean’s chemistry.

The Ocean is Losing Biodiversity. They’re Trying to Capture it Before it’s Gone.

“By volume, about 99 percent of the habitable portion of our planet is underwater,” says Dan Distel, who directs Northeastern’s Ocean Genome Legacy Center. To explore and preserve the wealth of information contained in the ocean, the center collects DNA samples—over 28,000 so far—and has made that collection available to researchers around the world.

Global Perspectives Hosts and Speakers


Sheila M. Puffer is a University Distinguished Professor at Northeastern University, where she teaches international business at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. She is also an associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, and has served as program director of the Gorbachev Foundation of North America.

Puffer has been internationally recognized as the #1 scholar in business and management in Russia, the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe, according to a 2005 Journal of International Business Studies article. She has more than 160 publications, including over 80 refereed articles and 14 books, of which her latest is Hammer & Silicon: The Soviet Diaspora in the U.S. Innovation Economy. Her current research focus includes the global sand crisis and sustainable sand substitutes in the construction industry.

Puffer earned a diploma from the Plekhanov Institute of the National Economy in Moscow, holds BA and MBA degrees from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and has a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.


As Professor at the Marine Science Center of Northeastern University, Brian Helmuth conducts research and teaching that focus on predicting the likely ecological impacts of climate change on coastal ecosystems. His lab group also collaborates with formal and informal educators to develop cutting-edge technologies, such as video games and virtual reality environments, to facilitate science learning by elementary and high school students. His lab also explores methods for public engagement, including citizen science and visual art, to promote climate resilience.

Helmuth currently serves as Chair of the National Sea Grant Advisory Board, which provides guidance to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and to the Sea Grant Program. He also works extensively overseas on climate adaptation strategies with partners in China and Iraq. A veteran of several saturation missions in the Aquarius underwater habitat, Helmuth was a science advisor to the Fabien Cousteau Mission 31 project in 2014.

He has a BS from Cornell University, an MS from Northeastern, and a PhD from the University of Washington.


A civil engineering-project management educator and consultant with more than 10 years of experience, Adel Zadeh is a seasoned construction professional with experience managing complex public and private construction projects. He is also an Associate Teaching Professor at the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University in Toronto, Canada.

Zadeh’s research and teaching focus on sustainability initiatives in green building construction and how sustainability trends affect the building and construction industry. He is the director of the Project Management Institute Toronto Chapter and has been as a sustainability advisory committee member with the municipality for a number of years.

Zadeh holds a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, is a certified Project Management Professional, and is LEED certified in building construction and design.


After graduating from Northeastern University and interning at the United Nations in New York for the Permanent Mission of Grenada, Daisy Kendrick founded Ocean Generation (OG) to disrupt and innovate the standard charity model. Frustrated at the lack of awareness and action taken by millennials and Gen Z to protect our climate and oceans, she created OG to utilize media and technology to inform, educate, and change behavior at a global scale.

Kendrick is the youngest recipient of the 2018 Marie Claire Future Shaper award and was recognized as one of Britain’s 50 most remarkable women by the Daily Mail. Most recently, she is the author of “The Climate is Changing, Why Aren’t We,” published in 2020 in Great Britain.


In spring 2018, Anne Halverstadt graduated from Northeastern University with a BS in environmental science with a marine science focus and a minor in business administration. During her undergraduate years, Halverstadt worked as a research assistant in the Hughes-Kimbro Lab at the Marine Science Center and was active in campus life.

After graduating from Northeastern, Halverstadt pursued an opportunity as a research assistant in the Human Adaptation Lab at Boston University. In summer 2018, she took over as the lab manager and continues to manage day-to-day lab operations and conduct data collections for studies focused on pain and movement in people with hip pain.

Anne is certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, and she has spent many summers exploring the coastal waters on the north shore of Boston.



Featured Read:

The Climate is Changing, Why Aren’t We?: A practical guide to how you can make a difference

by Daisy Kendrick

What is climate change? How do I contribute? How can I be more sustainable?

The Climate is Changing, Why Aren’t We? is an open-minded tool to endorse environmentalism in a practical and realistic way. A climate change guidebook for millennials and Gen-Z, concerned for their future. This book is not here to convince young people climate change actually exists, we know that. This book will offer easy to understand insights into the structures that suffocate our future, while upholding a sense of optimism and collective faith. Through inspirational stories, shocking statistics and easy switches for readers to make in their everyday lives, this book will smash the ‘frumpy’ stigma around environmentalism to be a very sleek, fun, bold and cultural translation into the world of climate change. 

About Global Perspectives

Designed by Northeastern’s Young Global Leaders, this dynamic new program, Global Perspectives, virtually brings together thought leaders in business, social impact, entrepreneurship, and innovation for a compelling exchange of ideas.

A platform to share knowledge and effect change, the Global Perspectives online program occurs every other month, and the focus moves to a new region for each session. Stay connected with the YGL and grow your experience as a citizen of the world—register to participate in the next Global Perspectives today.

About Women Who Empower

Northeastern University’s Women Who Empower initiative is grounded in the belief that diverse and inclusive communities empower a better world. Our network comprises strong, aspiring, and distinguished individuals dedicated to fostering positive environments, building lasting connections, and providing meaningful experiences where all people thrive.

We aim to inspire and enable future generations to be creative, innovative, and agile as they pursue powerful and transformative positions in the fields of their choice. And we are committed to supporting our community members through events, scholarship support, entrepreneurship, mentorship programs, ambassador opportunities, and more.