I study the physics of breaking waves at the beach to understand how waves shape our coastlines.
The coast is a complex and rapidly changing environment with great economic and cultural value to society. At the University of Washington, I conduct research at the intersection of physical oceanography and coastal engineering. I am interested in both the development of new techniques for remotely sensing wave conditions in the surf zone, and learning more about the dynamics of breaking waves. My research utilizes thermal infrared (IR) imagery and LIDAR scans to study the nearshore coastal environment, with focus on the geometry, kinematics, and dynamics of breaking waves. To understand the larger context and potential applications for my research, I pursued coursework in coastal and ocean law and policy through the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. Additionally, I developed myself as a story-teller and artist through the Engage science communication seminar. Upon earning my PhD, I would like to combine my research capabilities, knowledge of coastal processes, and passion for translating science for a non-expert audience, to help address current and future coastal challenges.
To prospective students: As any honest graduate student will admit, there will always be peaks and troughs in motivation, confidence, and productivity. Taking advantage of the diverse opportunities at UW has helped sustain my momentum towards the PhD, and my fellow students are a huge inspiration through any rough patch. The EFM group is always willing to discuss the latest journal articles, to empathize over the emotional roller coaster of graduate school, and to celebrate each other’s successes.
In Fall 2016, I completed a 3-week field campaign at the US Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility in Duck, NC to collect data for my PhD research. My dissertation centers on two main goals:
- Examine breaking wave evolution across the surf zone; specifically, quantify how wave height, steepness, and speed vary just before breaking, at the onset of breaking, and as the breaker decays.
- Investigate how the spatial and temporal patterns in wave energy dissipation vary with wave conditions and tidal stage to further our understanding of how these patterns in wave breaking affect longshore currents and sediment transport.
2015), Estimating wave energy dissipation in the surf zone using thermal infrared imagery, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 120, doi:10.1002/2014JC010561., , , and (
Institute of Translational Health Sciences Career Development Series, February 2017, Seattle, WA Guest speaker: Public Speaking for Researchers: How to Engage Your Audience
Recorded here. (Listen until at least 01:10!)
Town Hall Seattle: UW Science Now Speaker Series, May 2016, Seattle, WA
Guest speaker: Wave Breaking and Currents at the Beach
Voice of Vashon: Island Crossroads radio show, November 2014, Vashon, WA
Guest host: Your Septic System and How Much It Could Cost
Credentials & Contact Info
Graduate Research Assistant
Applied Physics Laboratory
University of Washington
Civil & Environmental Engineering Department
Benjamin Hall Interdisciplinary Building, Room 211
MSCE Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, 2014
BS Applied Mathematics, Yale University, 2011