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Krisa Arzayus, Deputy Director

Krisa Arzayus

Krisa Arzayus, Deputy Director.

Krisa Arzayus: A Day in the Life Donut chart showing the typical work duties of Krisa Arzayus, Deputy Director. Reviewing/approving Pink chart segment spanning 37.5% of the whole: the percentage of time Krisa Arzayus spends on Reviewing/approving Planning Green chart segment spanning 37.5% of the whole: the percentage of time Krisa Arzayusy spends on Laboratory analysis Triaging/problem solving Yellow chart segment spanning 25% of the whole: the percentage of time Krisa Arzayus spends on Triaging/problem solving Daily Duties

Donut chart showing how Krisa Arzayus, Deputy Director, spends her time.

Krisa is the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System's (IOOS) deputy director. She manages the office's strategic planning and implementation, which includes budget execution and staffing in coordination with regional and national partners. IOOS is a national-regional partnership that provides tools and forecasts essential to maritime safety, our nation's economy, and protecting our environment. Integrated ocean information is available online in near real-time and retrospectively. Easier and better access to this information improves our ability to understand and predict coastal events — such as storms, wave heights, and sea level change — needed for everything from retail to development planning.

How did you get to where you are now in your career?

I have worked for NOAA for almost 20 years and started my career as a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow in 2001 at what is now the Ocean Atmospheric Research (OAR) Climate Program Office. My positions in NOAA have included climate team lead in OAR headquarters, division chief for the Ocean Atmospheric Research/Planning and Programming Division, division chief for the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) Marine Data Stewardship Division, and branch chief for the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) Oceanographic Sciences Branch.

How did you figure out you wanted this career?

I knew I wanted to pursue oceanography when I was an undergraduate, performing research in a tiny lab with no windows. I wanted to do fieldwork! Then, towards the end of my graduate work, I wanted to work at the interface of science, policy, and program management. I applied for the Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship, and the rest is history! I was hooked on NOAA.

Who is a person who influenced you or encouraged you?

I have been so blessed to have so many people who have supported me and cheered me on in my career. I don’t think I can choose just one! My graduate school advisor, Dr. Liz Canuel, was a role model for how to lead and be a great mentor. Dr. Margarita Gregg, former deputy director of NCEI (retired), recruited me for my positions in NODC and NCEI. She pushed me and inspired me to be more than I ever thought I could be.

Was there a time when you felt your work was particularly rewarding or exciting?

My scientific background is in chemistry and I did fieldwork, but typically not with marine animals. I was lucky enough in 2019 to visit our regional association, Pacific Island Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS), where I got to go out shark tagging! We pulled up to a shark that was almost as long as our 16-foot vessel, and I got to help measure the shark, holding a tape measure up to its head very near all the sharp teeth! I got horribly sea sick on that trip, but it was so worth the opportunity!

What NOAA project have you enjoyed working on the most?

It has been a privilege to be involved in so many projects over the years. One area I am proud of is my role in helping to establish core data management activities for the Ocean Acidification Program (OAP). I was involved in establishing robust data archiving and data access capabilities from the inception of this program that continues to this day. While this work started while I was at NODC, my connection to OAP continues in my role at IOOS, as I take part in an interagency working group for ocean acidification. IOOS is an active partner in the OAP observing work.

What would you recommend to those who want to begin a career in your field?

I believe in pursuing a degree with a strong science background; take advantage of all the great internships and fellowships that NOAA has to bring students into NOAA! And build a network of contacts that can guide you along your journey.

  • Name: Krisa Arzayus
  • Location: Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Education: Ph.D. in Marine Science; College of William & Mary, School of Marine Science
  • National Ocean Service Program Office: U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing Station (IOOS)

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Author: NOAA

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