Karina Nielsen, Director

Karina Nielsen leads the talented and dedicated Oregon Sea Grant team of staff, extension faculty, and educators and together we advance discovery, understanding, and resilience for coastal communities and ecosystems.

Dr. Nielsen brings more than 25 years of experience working as a scientist, educator, and leader in coastal zone stewardship, policy, and public engagement. She is committed to ongoing learning and the advancement of equity and inclusion. Karina was recognized as a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences in 2017 for her outstanding contributions to the natural sciences.

Karina earned her Ph.D. in zoology from Oregon State and a B.S. in biology from Brooklyn College. After receiving her Ph.D., she trained as an NSF International Postdoctoral Fellow at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas (UC Chile Coastal Marine Station) and with the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans at Oregon State. Before returning to Oregon State in her current role, she directed the Estuary & Ocean Science Center at San Francisco State University and worked for 19 years as a professor of biology at Sonoma State and SF State universities.  Karina studied photography and filmmaking at Hampshire College and worked in a variety of roles in the restaurant and catering business in New York City before transitioning to a career in science.

 

David Hansen, O&E Leader

Dave Hansen has led the Sea Grant Extension program since 2010, and now manages our entire outreach and engagement team, including Extension and communications faculty and our marine education team at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. He came to Oregon Sea Grant from the University of Delaware, where he was an associate professor of soil and environmental quality and Extension Program Leader for the Agriculture and Natural Resources program. Dr. Hansen received his Ph.D. in soil science and water resources from Iowa State University and has been involved with regional water quality issues on the East Coast since 1999.

 

Sarah Kolesar, Associate Director – Research and Scholars

Sarah Kolesar is the primary contact for researchers working under – or applying for – Sea Grant support, as well as for our graduate and undergraduate Sea Grant Scholars. She joined Sea Grant in 2009 and became our research program specialist the following year; in 2014, she joined the leadership team. A former associate program manager at the Office of Naval Research's Biological Oceanography program, Sarah holds a Ph.D. in estuarine ecology from the University of Maryland and spent two years as a visiting professor at St. Mary's College of Maryland.

 

Sheryl Powell, Fiscal Officer

Sheryl Powell brings years of institutional finance and accounting knowledge to her role as Oregon Sea Grant's fiscal officer. She has been with Oregon State University since 2010 as the Finance and Accounting Manager with the Agricultural Sciences and Marine Sciences Business Center. Prior to joining Oregon State University, Sheryl was at the University of Oregon for 11 years, first as the department accountant for English and Folklore, and later as the Grants Financial Manager in the Office of Research Services and Administration. Sheryl holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Oregon, has been a Certified Research Administrator (CRA) since 2009, and previously held an Oregon tax license for 20 years. 

 


Advisory Council

Oregon Sea Grant's citizen advisory council helps ensure that research and outreach programs address the needs and priorities of Oregon's ocean and coastal communities, businesses and policymakers.

Council members are drawn from the private sector, community groups, local government, resource management agencies, and others with a stake in Oregon's ocean and coasts. They serve without pay and meet periodically to help set program priorities, review research proposals and advise the program's leadership. Members and former members of the advisory council also act as advocates for Oregon Sea Grant under a variety of circumstances.

Current advisory council members are:

  • Anne Berblinger, Portland, OR. Retired, U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration; small farm owner

  • Deanna Caracciolo, Salem, OR. Rocky Shores Coordinator, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development

  • Dr. Caren Braby, Newport, OR. Manager of the Marine Resources Program at Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

  • Jeremy Childress, Salem, OR. President/CEO of the Sexton Corporation

  • Mike Graybill, Coos Bay, OR. Former manager of the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve

  • Trish Mace, Coos Bay, OR. Director of the Charleston Marine Life Center, Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (UO)

  • Dr. Christine Moffitt, Coos Bay, OR. Formerly from the University of Idaho and USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

  • Charlie Plybon, Newport, OR. Oregon policy manager for Surfrider