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Mystic Aquarium Leadership



Dr. Stephen M. Coan is President and Chief Executive Officer of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which operates Mystic Aquarium. Mystic Aquarium is one of the largest cultural attractions in New England with annual attendance of 750,000 and is dedicated to missions and programs that protect the ocean environment. It operates and sponsors global research, education and conservation programs. Dr. Coan has been an officer of Sea Research Foundation since 2001. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2004 and became president and CEO in 2006. Prior to joining Sea Research Foundation, Dr. Coan was the chief education officer of the JASON Foundation for Education, now known as JASON Learning. He has served as executive director of two educational organizations and held faculty appointments at Tufts University, Bentley College and Cambridge College. Dr. Coan earned his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and both a Masters in Management degree and a doctorate in social policy from the Heller Graduate School at Brandeis.

Dr. Stephen Coan

Larry Rivarde focuses on assuring the long-term viability of the organization through Zoological Operations, Guest Services, Business Development, vendor relations, Human Resources and more.  He has also led the Aquarium’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Rivarde is the former Executive Vice President and Zoo Director for Audubon Nature Institute of New Orleans. He managed Audubon Zoo through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, leading the organization through a successful rebuilding and reopening, and assuring that all of the animals under care at the zoo were safe during the storm surge. Rivarde has extensive experience in the private sector, serving as a Chief Financial Officer for many years.  He holds an MBA from Tulane University of New Orleans.

Larry Rivarde

With over 17 years of financial leadership experience, Koray Gurz applies his knowledge of investments, banking, finance and taxation, along with other strategic initiatives, to the Aquarium’s financial management, organizational goals and execution of mission programs. Gurz began his career at a public accounting firm. Throughout his career, he has performed financial statement audits and reviews of companies in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). He was specialized in the non-profit industry before transferring his skills to the financial management of a non-profit educational organization overseeing all financials, departmental budgets, general accounting and legal agreements.

As the Aquarium’s CFO, Gurz directs, coordinates and evaluates various financial functions operated by his team of banking and finance professionals. He is responsible for the financial management of the organization which includes budget development, oversight of financial control, collaboration with lenders and other stakeholders all while participating in strategic and operational management processes of the organization.

Gurz holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Dokuz Eylul University in Turkey and an MBA from the University of Hartford. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a member of the American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA) and the Connecticut Society of CPA’s (CTCPA).

CFO Koray Gurz

In her current role as Senior Vice President for Mission Programs, Ms. Cubina leverages her more than 20 years of non-profit experience to oversee the mission-based initiatives at Mystic Aquarium, bringing together education, research and exhibits under the banner of conservation. As the Project Director on two grants from the Department of Justice totaling over $4-million, she oversees the development and implementation of the conservation-focused STEM Mentoring program with thousands of youth in over one-hundred high-need communities around the nation.

She serves on the Aquarium Conservation Partnership executive and policy committees, and on the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative. Cubina has served on a number of Boards, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Connecticut and currently leads a Cub Scout den in her community. She has published in scholarly journals, including Current, the Journal of Marine Education, and served on a number of expert panels in the field of conservation and youth mentoring.

Katie Cubina holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College and a M.Ed. in Science and Environmental Education from the University of Maine.

Katie Cubina

For 46 years, Keith Sorenson has been an invaluable member of Mystic Aquarium’s team. He was the first person hired by the maintenance department several months before Mystic Aquarium opened its doors on October 6, 1973. Sorenson’s first job was creating infrastructure for exhibits. From his initial project to his current responsibilities, Sorenson has been instrumental in the planning and construction of the Aquarium’s major exhibits like the Pacific Northwest, Arctic Coast, Ocean Conservation Center and most recently the Milne Ocean Science and Conservation Center. Currently, Sorenson oversees facility maintenance, HVAC, and Safety & Security.

Keith Sorensen

Dr. Tuttle is responsible for all aspects of animal husbandry, veterinary medicine, animal rescue, environmental quality, and dive operations.  She also has responsibility for assisting in setting the strategic priorities and direction for the organization’s animal community.

Dr. Tuttle contributes to a number of research and grant initiatives and serves as a mentor for veterinary interns and externs.  She is adjunct faculty at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine as well as an Associate Clinical Professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, and teaches in the specialty veterinary courses, Aquavet and Marvet. Tuttle previously served as Mystic Aquarium’s Chief Veterinarian.

Tuttle’s affiliations include the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine (IAAAM), where she serves as the Board Member for Education; the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV), where she serves as Vice President; Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine (JZWM) where she is an Associate Editor; and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  Within AZA, Dr. Tuttle is co-chair of the Aquarium Affairs Committee and Honors and Awards Committee, and sits on the Animal Health Committee. Tuttle serves as an AZA accreditation inspector and has previously served on the Ethics Board. Tuttle completed the AZA Executive Leadership Development Program in 2016.

Dr. Tuttle earned her BS in Biology and Psychology from Washington College and her DVM from North Carolina State University.  She completed Mystic Aquarium’s Internship in Aquatic Animal Medicine and Research, a Residency in Zoological Medicine with a focus on Aquatic Health Management at North Carolina State University, and is a board certified as a specialist by the American College of Zoological Medicine.

Allison Tuttle

Kelly Matis serves as Vice President of Education & Conservation, a role she has held at Mystic Aquarium for over 12 years.  She received her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Rochester and her M.S. in Environmental Education from Southern CT State University.  In her role, Matis provides organizational leadership and strategic direction on education and conservation initiatives, has oversight of curriculum development, budget management, supervision of departmental staff and developing and fostering partnerships and relationships with the community, formal and informal education entities, environmental organizations, professional groups and funders. 

Matis is an advisor and past Chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Conservation Education Committee, the education advisor to the AZA Aquarium Affairs Committee, a member of the Steering Committee of the Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center Network through NOAA’s Department of Education and a Board Member of the local Stonington Education Fund.

Kelly Matis

Tina Couch has a demonstrated history of successful fundraising work in primary and secondary education. She joins the Aquarium after spending 15 years working in independent schools as a development professional. Couch has held a variety of leadership roles, most recently as Director of Development at Rumsey Hall School in Connecticut. Prior to that, she spent a decade as the Director of Major Gifts at Collegiate School in New York City. In 2018, she completed a historic $250M building project that required a $90M capital fund raise. Couch is skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Major Gifts, Annual Giving, Philanthropy, Governance and Strategic Planning.

As the Vice President of Development, Couch is responsible for raising revenue for operations and capital projects by designing and implementing a comprehensive plan for cultivating and realizing philanthropic support. She serves as a key member of the senior leadership team and is an active participant in the Aquarium’s strategic decisions.

Couch has a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in English Language and Literature from Trinity College-Hartford.

Tina Couch VP Dev