Jena Kent: NOAA Oceanographer

Jena Kent in the field

Jena assists Mark Bailey, technical field crew, in the removal of a water level station in the tidal wetlands of the Tulalip Tribes. This effort was part a project Jena led in partnership with the Tulalip Tribes to update historic benchmarks and tidal datum elevations along the coast of Tulalip, Washington. In addition to updating the historic benchmarks and tidal datum elevations, these stations support safe navigation, marine boundary delineation, habitat restoration, coastal planning and management, engineering, and coastal hazard mitigation.

Jena Kent: A Day in the Life Donut chart showing the typical work duties of Jena Kent, NOAA oceanographer. Data Management Pink chart segment spanning 30% of the whole: the percentage of time Jena Kent spends on annual tide and current predictions. Project Management Green chart segment spanning 25% of the whole: the percentage of time Jena Kent spends helping customers use NOAA tides and currents data. Helping NOAA Customers Blue chart segment spanning 20% of the whole: the percentage of time Jena Kent spends managing NOAA tides and currents data. Tide and Currents Predictions Yellow chart segment spanning 15% of the whole: the percentage of time Jena Kent spends installing tide stations. Diversity and Inclusion Gray chart segment spanning 10% of the whole: the percentage of time Jena Kent spends on diversity and inclusion projects. Daily Duties

Donut chart showing how Jena Kent, NOAA Oceanographer, spends her time.

An oceanographer studies all aspects of the ocean, including marine life and ecosystems, ocean circulation, plate tectonics and the geology of the seafloor, and the chemical and physical properties of the ocean. There are many disciplines within oceanography, including biological, chemical, geological, and physical. Jena's work is focused on NOAA's role in providing quality real-time water level data and accurate tide and current predictions for the nation.


Inspired by her NASA scientist father, Jena grew up wanting to be a meteorologist. She even created her own major in atmospheric science at Old Dominion University. After Jena interned with the National Weather Service as an undergrad, she realized that working as a meteorologist in a Weather Forecast Office wasn't for her. Jena eventually took her diverse skills and got a job with the National Ocean Service analyzing tides and currents data.

Now, she works on a team that is responsible for annual tide and current predictions for the nation, which help mariners safely and efficiently navigate U.S. waters. Jena and her colleagues analyze data collected at more than 200 stations across the U.S, and they help mariners understand and use this data. Her passion is communicating the importance and usefulness of NOAA's tide and currents data to help the public use this information in new and innovative ways. Jena hopes to continue to work in her career toward making ocean data more accessible.

  • Name: Jena Kent
  • Location: Mostly the office in Silver Spring, Maryland, but sometimes in the field
  • Education: Bachelor’s, interdisciplinary studies and atmospheric science, Old Dominion University, Virginia

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Last updated:
12/05/19

Author: NOAA

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