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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.