Science Under Sail Institute for Exploration Inc (dba SUSIE)
PO BOX 3715
SARASOTA FL 34230-3715

The Science under Sail Institute for Exploration (SUSiE) is dedicated to the advancement of coral reef research, the advancement of early career college scientists & explorers, and the promotion of globally responsible research conducted under sail.  

CEO/Executive Director Dr. Robin T. Smith
Board Chair Dr. Robin T. Smith
Board Chair Affiliation SUSiE
General Info
Organization DBA
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2015
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Mar 2019
State Registration 0
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement

Top Accomplishments

  1. Jan 2015 - Re-designed & launched our #1 marketing & sales tool: our new website.
  2. April 2015 - Secured our 501(c)3 non-profit status, now enabling us to pursue private and federal grant funding.
  3. April 2015 - Launched our first online crowdsource funding campaign, providing a means by which accepted students can pro-actively raise funds via crowdsource funding.  To students have collectively raised  their tuitions of over 14k in donor dollars.
  4. July 2015 - Executed our 2nd year of Expeditions in the Bahamas, graduating 27 college undergrad and graduate students from our programs, all of who are now active alumni in our private online mentorship community.
  5. July 2015 - Executed the first ever micro-plastics study done on Caribbean coral reefs with our 2015 Expedition Team in the Exuma Land and Sea Park, Bahamas. This research was awarded a presentation at the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) 2016 Ocean Sciences meeting and will be presented and published by two of our alumni. Importantly, the research helps support the US-nationwide ban on micro-plastics signed into law December 2015.
  6. 2016 - Secured our first match sponsor for both the 2016 Expeditions and our end-of-year fundraising campaign. 
  7. Summer 2016 - graduated in 17 new alumni to SUSiE's mentorship program after exucting summer Expeditions.
  8. February 2017 - Launched our first 10-day donor expeditions called On Purpose Expeditions that focus on bringing purpose-driven travelers, and ocean-minded enthusiasts out to the reef to see our work while participating in hands-on citizen science.  
Top 2 Goals in 2017
  1. Board - Acquire a strong Governance Board / Formalize our Scientific Advisory Board.
  2. Acquire our own research vessel, a sailing catamaran, branded as the first of it's kind, "A Cat for Coral Reefs." We are seeking investors or supporters to help us in acquiring the vessel.  SUSiE will step back from running student Expeditions in 2017 to focus on building our donor base and acquire a vessel. The new brand will be a pro-active approach to conservation in light of the demise of coral reefs worldwide; expected to be extinct by 2050.  The brand will highlight it's expertise exploration science and media. The vessel will circumnavigate the globe collecting coral reef samples to create the first coral DNA bank. This data storage can lead to a multitude of research from bio-medicines to new conservation techniques. All the while engaging college students in field research, to our collaborative researchers teams, to the public in this global initiative. We plan to open-source the reef. Anyone interested in assisting whether it be monetary or connections to ad agencies, tech companies, or investors we are open and available to talk.
Needs Statement

  •  $3 Million to acquire & retrofit a 60ft - 75ft sailing catamaran as our flagship vessel, "The Cat For Coral Reefs." 
  • Ad-Execs to jump on board the Media Team. 
  • Donors to join us at sea on an On Purpose Expedition in 2017.


Background Statement

 We are 3 years and 5 Expeditions strong! More than 47 alumni have participated in a SUSiE Expedition covering over 6,000 nautical miles, under sail, to conduct pioneering research on remote coral reefs in the Bahamas’ Exuma archipelago. Our students take part in several important, SUSiE-led research projects that are being conducted in collaboration with 6 national and international researchers from Penn State, University of Miami RSMAS, University of Delaware, University of Alabama, and UNAM, Puerto Morelos, Mexico. 3 projects investigating climate change, plastic pollution, and invasive species are underway and in different stages of the peer-review process for publication. Immersing eager, college scientists into a professional research expedition is a life-changing experience for most of them – and us. Add to that the rigors and challenges of conducting research at sea, under sail, and self-transformations occur. Beyond the expedition, SUSiE mentors and supports our alumni through a modern mentorship program, long after the expedition has ended. We believe these opportunities are critical because these are the young men and women who have made career commitments to science. These are the leaders of tomorrow who will continue to push the boundaries of scientific discovery.

SUSiE is now in a re-brand phase. Join us! 
Areas Served
Areas Served
Areas Served Comments

We serve the marine scientific community. Currently our broad market are college students (undergraduate & graduates) worldwide. We are expanding our interest with the new re-brand to collaborative scientific institutions, academic institutions, the ocean-minded public at large, and innovative ocean entrepreneurs. 

Service Categories
Primary Org Type Science & Technology
Secondary Org Type Education
Tertiary Org Type Environment
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director

SUSiE  has been my dream since undergrad, and as of now, a decade in the making. After running my first pilot program in 2006, I became committed to bringing SUSiE to reality. From humble beginnings and a lot of sweat equity along the way, SUSIE is now well poised, and on her way to becoming recognized as a leading coral reef research and advanced training institute. 

I believe that SUSiE Expeditons are one of the most innovative marine science research and education programs available. These programs offer college students the unique opportunity to actively participate in advanced scientific research aboard each expedition. Combined with lectures and instruction from established sailors, scientists, and ocean advocates, students gain experience and training that simply cannot be obtained in an ordinary classroom. Far from ordinary, this year nature provides the classroom as student research teams explore natural habitats, uninhabited islands and pristine coral reefs of the Exuma archipelago in the Bahamas. We welcome students to Exploration Science at it’s best!

I look forward to welcoming you into the SUSiE Society. You care about the ocean. You’re aware that approximately 75% of the world’s coral reefs are currently threatened, and that many have already been lost due to climate change, pollution, and overfishing. You care about the future of students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math. You know that without action and support, the future of coral reefs is threatened, along with the inestimable goods and services they provide. Together, we can make an impact.


SUSiE utilizes scientific expeditions as an innovative training platform for college students pursuing futures in Exploration Science and STEM disciplines. Each summer, we accept between 16-24 advanced college undergrad and grad students to participate in scientific expeditions aboard a research equipped 50' sailing catamaran. Aboard the expeditions, student teams are tasked with the mission to navigate, explore and conduct ongoing research amongst remote coral reef ecosystems, off-the-grid, and under sail.

Budget $180,000
Category Science & Technology, General/Other Science & Technology, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served US& International Adults Latin America & the Caribbean
Short Term Success

1.) To date, every student (27 alumni) has earned academic credit through their home institution for completing our program, further validating our curriculum in the eyes of Colleges/Universities worldwide.

2.) To date, every student has provided favorable feedback upon completion of the program, many citing the program as 'transformative' to them.

3.) Several students have, or are currently using research, data or methodologies from our programs in directed independent study projects earning them academic credit at their home institution.

4.) Two students are collaborating to published a peer-reviewed research paper using results from the microplastics experiments they conducted aboard last year's expeditions. They'll also present this research at the ASLO Ocean Sciences meeting this year, the largest ocean sciences meeting worldwide.

5.) Two students are directly utilizing data & research developed aboard the expeditions in proposals seeking Federal research funding.

Long Term Success

The ultimate long-term benefits/changes for both the students and community are far reaching. In an increasingly competitive world of professional science and industry, SUSiE alumni have gained a desirable set of novel skills from participation aboard an expedition. For many of them, the experiences aboard, and the camaraderie amongst the team they've sailed with, will last a lifetime. From our perspective, each student's individual successes will ultimately contribute to benefit of our local, regional and global communities. Each and every one of our alumni, in some shape or form, is driven to become an ambassador for our ocean. As SUSiE helps them along their college-to-career path, the next generation of ocean advocates grows stronger. As a perfect example, in only 2 years of summer expeditions, SUSiE's students have already contributed critical research towards protecting the marine environment from plastic pollution.

Program Success Monitoring

1.) Every student completing our program has gained academic credit for it through his/her college or university.

2.) Exit interviews (written and video) from every alumnus, describing how the program positively changed their lives

3.) Regular check-in with many of our alumni, expressing how the program continues to positively change their lives

4.) Positive feedback from the students' family, professors and mentors.

5.) The ongoing establishment of amazing working relationships with organizations within the countries we conduct research. More specifically, within the Bahamas we've created open arms collaborations with the Elizabeth Harbour Conservation Partnership, Community Conch, Exuma Land and Sea Park, Young Marine Explorers, the Bahamian Division of Marine Resources, The Bahamas National Trust, Little Darby Research Station, Dive Exuma, and the Exuma Yacht Club.

Program Success Examples

As a startup non-profit, we've successfully run two years of programming in a row, despite breaking less than even financially. Our program is highly sought after from students worldwide, as illustrated by our >1k subscription base and >60 students applying to the programs each year. We've grown an extensive scientific network to include some of the foremost coral reef scientists, marine science institutes and universities around the world, who promote our programs to their students. We currently have 27 alumni actively engaging, attending and representing SUSiE at conferences, symposia and events. We also are building our corporate sponsorship base with companies from a variety of ocean industries. 

A specific example illustrating our program success comes from the overwhelmingly positive testimonials from our alumni. Many attribute their college-to-career path decisions to the knowledge, insight and experiences gained aboard their expedition.

CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Robin T. Smith
CEO Term Start Nov 2013
CEO/Executive Director Email

During grad school at Florida International University where I earned my PhD in Biology, and as a post-doc at UNAM in Puerto Morelos Mexico, I had the fortunate opportunity to lead many scientific expeditions to remote locations throughout the world. Through these experiences, I came to appreciate the importance of experiential learning, and the inherent limitations of scientific training based solely on traditional classroom academia. As a lifetime sailor, I also recognized the enormous team and character-building potential of sailing and exploration as an educational platform. Likewise, when reflecting on my own academic career, I place an inestimable value on the mentors who helped support and guide me along the way. This ultimately fostered a respect and understanding of how critical the right person(s) can be towards helping a student envision and achieve their academic and career goals. Collectively, it is this union of Science, Sailing and Mentorship that form the foundation of SUSiE Expedition's unique programs.

Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Jerah Lena Coviello Co-Founder, Chief Operating Officer & Mentorship Director
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development No
Contractors 0
Volunteers 3
Management Reports to Board N/A
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No

We currently collaborate with:

Academically: The University of Delaware, Penn State University, the University of Miami (RSMAS), University of Alabama Birmingham, and New College of Sarasota.
Bahamas: The Bahamas National Trust, The Bahamas Marine Resources Division, The Elizabeth Harbour Conservation Partnership, Community Conch, Little Darby Research Station, The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.
Corporate: the Daybrook Foundation, Ocean Optics, Brownies Marine Group.
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization

The Management section appears weak, but that is because we are a new non-profit just receiving our official status April 2015. We look forward to adding onto our Dream Team and growing SUSiE to the capacity of a 1 million + budget a year.

Multi-Media Comments by Organization Our brand is very media oriented, please visit our website at
Board Chair
Board Chair Dr. Robin T. Smith
Company Affiliation SUSiE
Board Term Nov 2013 to Dec 2017
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Jerah Coviello SUSiE Co-Founder & COO
Dr. Robin T. Smith SUSiE Founder and CEO
Dr. Mark Warner University of Deleware
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 3
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 2
Female 1
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Meeting Attendance % 100
Board Self-Evaluation No
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 33
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 33
Standing Committees
Scientific Advisory
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Governance Comments by Organization

We are a newly formed organization (April 2015) who desires a strong Governance Board. We've just started approaching our ocean community to align with like-minded members. We are a small board of 3: the Founder, Co-Founder and Scientific Advisory Board Chair. We are seeking to specifically add a Lawyer, CPA, and Entrepreneurial Business Strategist to join our team.

We are currently putting together our Scientific Advisory Board and developing many relationships and partnerships with researchers and universities. The SA Board will be the most seamless Board to put together as this is where our strengths lie.

We'll also be seeking a Capital Campaign Committee to help us strategize to acquire our own sailing catamaran, "A Cat for Coral Reefs."

We will be forming a Communications Committee that fuels the media, marketing and outreach SUSiE intends to parallel with the science and exploration.

Governance Comments by Foundation Organization held only 1 board meeting for 2015.
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Jan
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month Dec
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2017
Projected Revenue $224,000.00
Projected Expenses $144,000.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment No
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Campaign Purpose To fund acquiring and retrofitting the first of it's kind: A Cat for Coral Reefs. 
Campaign Goal $3,000,000,000.00
Campaign Dates Jan 2018 to Dec 2020
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Audit/Financial Documents
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$111,419$82,217$84,644
Administration Expense$9,670$6,368$5,152
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.040.901.15
Program Expense/Total Expenses92%93%94%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$9,096$4,291$13,327
Current Assets$8,638$415$2,500
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$0$0$0
Total Net Assets$9,096$4,291$13,327
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $83,920Program Service Revenue $52,637Program Service Revenue $100,623
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Service Revenue $49,281Contributions, gifts, grants $25,363Contributions, gifts, grants $2,500
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountOther $384Gain From Sale of Assets Other Than Inventory $1,5490 $0
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $0 - $50,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization We have successfully run three years of Expeditions at break even. Year four is focused on raising the CoFounders salaries for the first time via donor expeditions. Year five is projected a Capital Campaign to acquire the boat. 
Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken from 990-EZ.  Contributions include foundation and corporate support.
Nonprofit Science Under Sail Institute for Exploration Inc (dba SUSIE)
Address PO BOX 3715
SARASOTA, FL 34230 3715
Phone 941 350-0900