Elizabeth Holzenthal

Why Oregon State University? 

When I visited campus, I felt so genuinely welcomed by every person I came in contact with. I felt comfortable and respected when discussing my ideas and interests with faculty, many of whom are leading experts in the field. My professors and colleagues continue to impress, inspire, and challenge me.

How did you become interested in coastal and ocean engineering? 

My path to coastal and ocean engineering was largely motivated by my interest in learning about natural hazards and their impact on coastal communities. I discovered this unique discipline while conducting undergraduate research, when I realized that the study of environmental processes could be applied to the design of safe and sustainable infrastructure. As a Gulf Coast native, this application greatly resonated with me, and it fueled my desire to pursue a graduate degree in coastal and ocean engineering.

Describe your current research. 

My current research seeks to reduce the uncertainty of long-term projections of geomorphic and ecological change in coastal wetland environments. I use computational simulations to quantify the impact of single storm events on marsh topography and vegetation and statistical methods to estimate the aggregate effect of storms over several decades. This has wide applications, such as deriving future projections of coastal marshes for use in probabilistic flood hazard analysis.

What are your plans following graduation? 

It is my hope that I can continue to contribute to the field of coastal and ocean engineering as a teaching and research professor. Concurrent with my CCE degree, I am enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in College and University Teaching, a rewarding program I highly recommend to those interested in teaching and education.

What do you like about Oregon State University? 

Being a part of large research university has incredible advantages, from renowned facilities to countless computing labs to top-notch recreational centers. Being a graduate student also offers an intimate atmosphere within the larger university. I’m thankful for the supportive network I’ve found through the graduate student community, both within CCE and across OSU.

What about Corvallis and the surrounding community? 

I always thought I wanted to live in a big city until I visited Corvallis. It is incredibly accessible; I love being able to get anywhere in town in ten minutes or less, and often by bike. Corvallis is home to scenic hikes and quirky shops and restaurants that are perfect for weekend exploring, and the mountains, coast, Portland, and Eugene are all about an hour or two in any direction if you are looking for an out-of-town adventure!

– February 2018