Marine scientist hired as new Oregon Sea Grant Extension coastal hazards specialist

Felicia Olmeta-Schult, a marine and social scientist, is the new coastal hazards specialist with Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Olmeta-Schult succeeds Patrick Corcoran, who retired in 2020 after 32 years with Sea Grant Extension.

Olmeta-Schult previously served as an Oregon Sea Grant-funded Resilience Fellow. In that role, she created the Oregon Coastal Hazards Ready Library and Mapper, an online collection of case studies of how Oregon’s coastal communities are dealing with the impacts of climate change and coastal natural hazards such as erosion, landslides, flooding and the threat of a tsunami.

“What truly interested me in this position was that I’m always looking for ways to make science accessible to the general public,” Olmeta-Schult said. “Public service is meaningful and useful and highly rewarding. In this position I will serve as a liaison between scientists and the public, and get information to people who need it the most.”

Olmeta-Schult, an assistant professor of practice, will help educate and prepare coastal residents and visitors for the predicted Cascadia Earthquake and resulting tsunami, a devastating natural disaster that could occur in the next 50 years.

Olmeta-Schult’s responsibilities include:

  • Increasing collaboration among coastal decision makers and researchers on the development of data and tools for monitoring and adapting to coastal natural hazards.
  • Assessing people’s needs for education on climate change and coastal hazards.
  • Educating people on the impacts of climate change and coastal hazards and assessing their vulnerability to such impacts.
  • Increasing coastal decision-makers’ awareness of data observation systems and other tools to protects lives and infrastructure.

Olmeta-Schult earned a bachelor’s degree in oceanography from Hawaii Pacific University, a master’s in marine affairs from the University of Rhode Island, and a doctorate in environmental and natural resource sciences from Washington State University. She was a 2018-19 Washington Sea Grant Hershman Fellow.

She hosts the Rising Sea Voices podcast on the American Shoreline Podcast Network. She is a member of the Association for Women in Science, Women’s Aquatic Network and Women in Environment.

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