From Sea to Shore

The Marine Studies Initiative envisions a future where marine issues are tackled from all angles, from the natural sciences and policy, to the humanities and arts. And at OSU, we have exceptional students and faculty who have embodied this mission in their own way.

Mohammed Al Omar

Marine and Coastal Stewards: Mohammed Al Omar

Mohammed Al Omar is an undergraduate student in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University majoring in Marine Studies. Originally from Saudi Arabia, Mohammed applied for a scholarship from the Saudi Arabian government to study marine sciences and eventually made his way to the OSU Marine Studies program. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Ocean11 marine club, the university-wide marine student club designed to give students from all 11 colleges at OSU the opportunity to experience and make a difference for our oceans and coasts. After completing his education, Mohammed hopes to use the knowledge he’s gained while at OSU and apply it to the ocean back home in Saudi Arabia, namely the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.

Drew Taylor

Marine Studies: Ocean stewards of today and tomorrow-- Drew Taylor

Meet Drew Taylor, a recent graduate with a Marine Biology major with a minor in Chemistry. Drew was heavily involved in the Ocean11 marine club and is learning about ways to help solve problems where humans and the marine environment intersect.

Taylor Chapple

Marine Studies: Ocean stewards of today and tomorrow-- Taylor Chapple

Meet Taylor Chapple, a marine predator expert who has been tracking the behavior and movement of sharks for over 15 years. He joined OSU and the MSI in 2019 to look at how white, salmon, and thresher sharks affect the ecosystem off of the Oregon coast. Taylor is also committed to bridging the gap between society and science through outreach and education.

Ana Spalding

Marine Studies: Ocean stewards of today and tomorrow- Ana Spalding

Meet Ana K. Spalding, the first MSI faculty hire in the College of Liberal Arts and a coastal and marine public policy expert who spent years in her country of origin, Panama, looking at the impacts of socio-economic change and migration in the Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro. She is essentially a marine social scientist, a new field where scientists are looking at the connection between human behavior, policy, and coastal and marine ecosystems.

Katey Dong

Ocean Stewards of Today & Tomorrow- Katey Dong

Formerly a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force, Katey Dong returned to her studies in pursuit of studying Earth Sciences after being awarded a full-ride Air Force ROTC Scholarship. When she arrived to OSU, she discovered the Marine Studies Initiative and the Ocean11 marine club, where she was able to share and learn leadership skills and foster long-lasting friendships. In the summer of 2020, she participated in the NASA Student Airborne Research Program, where she used remote sensing to study algal blooms. Upon conclusion of her studies and her service commitment, she hopes to continue research and seek further opportunities with NASA.

Cynthia Leonard

Ocean Stewards of Today & Tomorrow- Cynthia Leonard


Cynthia Leonard grew up traveling up and down the west coast with her family. Her father was a dentist, outdoorsman, and strong conservationist. She studied Wildlife & Fisheries Biology where her love for the outdoors and connecting people with the environment, as well as her artistic skills, led her to a Ph.D. in Fisheries & Wildlife Management with a focus on the human dimensions. Putting her cartooning skills to use, she studied the effects of wildlife cartoons - like Bambi or Smokey Bear - on children’s perceptions of real wildlife.

Cynthia interned and worked for the US Forest Service on the Oregon Coast, working with communities and natural resource partners on the ground. She also mentored college students through local church campus ministries. Her current position as the Marine Studies Initiative Academic Advisor and Ocean11 marine club faculty advisor allows Cynthia to guide young adults and encourage ocean-loving students to pursue careers and activities on the coast.


Renee Doran

Marine Studies: Ocean stewards of today and tomorrow-- Renee Doran

Meet Renee Doran, a graduate with a Marine Biology major and minor in Theater Arts. She was drawn to the ocean from an early age and hopes to become a NOAA marine officer.