Cynthia Leonard is the Academic Advisor for Oregon State University’s Marine Studies Initiative. She loves working with college students and has worked with them for many years in a variety of settings on- and off-campus. Coordinating with the different OSU colleges and departments and Hatfield Marine Science Center, Cynthia mentors and advises students so they have clear pathways to marine-related courses, internships, and other training opportunities.

A wildlife biologist and human dimensions specialist by training, Cynthia received her B.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Biology from University of California, Davis, her M.S. in Fisheries & Wildlife Biology with an emphasis on Public Relations and Communications from Colorado State University, and her Ph.D. in Public Dimension of Fisheries & Wildlife Management from Michigan State University. Because she is a cartoonist and graphic artist, her doctorate degree focused on the effects of wildlife cartoons, such as Bambi, Smokey Bear, on children’s perception of wildlife and their use of conservation material.

Cynthia’s past professional experiences before arriving to the Marine Studies Initiative span the breadth of her passions for the outdoors, public engagement, and teaching the next generation. She has previously taught human dimensions courses at OSU in Fisheries and Wildlife, developed an at-home business, worked with campus ministries, and directed local environmental and outdoor education camps. As a social scientist and public involvement specialist, she also worked for the USDA Forest Service in Washington DC and in Corvallis at the Pacific NW Research Station and Siuslaw National Forest.