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Officers & Administration

Deborah N. Carlson, Ph.D.


Dr. Carlson is a classical archaeologist and Associate Professor in the Nautical Archaeology Program; she holds the Sara W. and George O. Yamini Professorship in Nautical Archaeology. She became INA President in 2011 and specializes in trade and seafaring in the ancient Mediterranean. She helped direct INA shipwreck excavations at Tektaş Burnu and Kızılburun, Turkey.

Kevin J. Crisman, Ph.D.

Vice President

Dr. Kevin Crisman is INA Vice President for New World Research. He specializes in the seafaring of the Early Modern Era including the construction and outfitting of ships, shipboard life and maritime communities, and North American river, lake, and canal navigation. Dr. Crisman has been directly involved in the exploration of numerous historic shipwrecks in Lake Champlain, and the excavation of the steamboat Heroine in the Red River.

Cemal M. Pulak, Ph.D.

Vice President

Dr. Pulak is a mechanical engineer-turned-archaeologist who earned his doctoral degree from Texas A&M, where he is now Coordinator of the Nautical Archaeology Program and the Frederick R. Mayer Professor in Nautical Archaeology. He specializes in Bronze Age seafaring, maritime trade, and technology. Since 1975, Dr. Pulak has directed numerous INA surveys in Turkey and excavated more than a dozen shipwreck sites, ranging in date from the Late Bronze Age to the 16th century A.D.

Shelley Wachsmann, Ph.D.

Chair of the Archaeological Committee

Dr. Shelley Wachsmann is the Meadows Professor of Biblical Archaeology in Nautical Archaeology and the Chair of the INA Archaeological Committee. His main regional focus is the eastern Mediterranean during its earlier formative period and specializes in biblical archaeology, nautical archaeology, and the cultic use of ships. He directed the 2014 Ioppa Maritima Project, and his sixth and most recent book is a short guide to seafaring on the Sea of Galilee in antiquity.

John Littlefield, Ph.D.

Diving Safety Officer

John obtained a B.Sc. in anthropology and archaeology at College of Charleston (S.C.) before attending Texas A&M University where he earned both a Master’s degree (2012) and a doctorate (2020). A seasoned diver with experience in diverse underwater environments and locations, he has served as the D.S.O. on high-profile projects for INA and various other organizations. He is AAUS trained and a dive instructor, and draws from these experiences to maintain INA’s long history of diving safety.

Cindy Nessler

Financial Manager, College Station

Cindy moved to Texas from Blacksburg, Virginia where she worked for the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, a public organization created more than 50 years ago and Virginia’s leader in land conservation, protecting more than 825,000 acres in 109 counties and independent cities. She also spent a great deal of her career working at Virginia Tech in the Office of the Vice President for Research and in the Dean’s Office of the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences.

Rebecca Ingram, Ph.D.

Archivist and Publications Coordinator

Dr. Rebecca Ingram earned her M.A. and Ph.D. through the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on seafaring in the ancient Mediterranean, and she spent several years working with the Byzantine harbor excavations at Yenikapı in Istanbul, Turkey. Rebecca’s eclectic background includes experience in museum collections management, academic publishing, and educational tourism.

Bethany Becktell, M.A.

Assistant Editor, INA Quarterly

Bethany is pursuing a Ph.D. in the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University. She has participated in nautical fieldwork in Michigan and Spain and terrestrial work in Egypt and Cyprus. She earned a Master’s degree from New York University in Ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian Studies with a focus in Egyptian archaeology. Her research interests include Bronze Age Egyptian archaeology, ports and harbors, Red Sea seafaring, and maritime iconography.

John McManamon, Ph.D, S.J.

Scholar in Residence

Dr. John McManamon, Professor Emeritus of Renaissance History at Loyola University Chicago, is an INA Scholar in Residence. John has participated in the excavation of shipwrecked or derelict vessels in Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Denmark, and helped survey for shipwrecks in Malta and Morocco. He is the author of Caligula's Barges and the Renaissance Origins of Nautical Archaeology Under Water (2016) and is supervising the final publication of the 9th-century Bozburun Shipwreck excavated by INA between 1995 and 1998.

Grace Tsai, Ph.D.

Membership Coordinator

Grace graduated in 2023 with her Ph.D. in the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University. She holds B.A. degrees in Psychology and Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego. Grace received her Open Water Certification in 2011 in Dahab, Egypt and has been diving on wrecks since then, participating in the Gnalic Project in Croatia, the Burgaz Project in Turkey, and the Shelburne Shipyard Project in Vermont. Her Ph.D. dissertation research used archaeological remains and experimental archaeology to determine shipboard diet and understand how it related to sailor health.