Sam Kastner

Research Assistant

Environmental Fluid Mechanics

I study how waves affect the way rivers mix into the ocean.

Harris Hydraulics Lab, Room 203
Applied Physics Laboratory
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-2700

I started my Ph. D. at the University of Washington in the summer of 2015, shortly after graduating from Skidmore College with a B.A. in physics and music. My research, with Alex Horner-Devine and Jim Thomson, focuses on measuring wave-current interaction in river outflows using drifting buoys to understand the mixing and dynamics of these complex systems. I participated in related field projects at the mouths of the Fraser and Quinault rivers, and hope to use results from these two drastically different sites to complete my degree.

I’ve been fascinated with the ocean since I was little, when my favorite days of the year were those spent playing in the waves in Wellfleet, MA. Perhaps inspired by the beach (and the Pavlovian post-beach ice cream), I developed a love of science, helped along the way by my family, science teachers, and professors. Contributing to research at Skidmore, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and UW has shown me that on good days, research doesn’t feel too different from running around on the dunes, splashing in the surf, and building sand castles.

Outside the office, you can find me exploring Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, cooking, going to concerts, and playing trombone with a few local bands and orchestras.


SWIFT buoys in the Fraser river plume front.         UAV photo of the Quinault River mouth.