Sea Grant Director Shelby Walker provides leadership and guidance for the entire program, from strategic planning to the operation of its research, public engagement and marine education efforts. Along with directors of the 30 other Sea Grant programs across the U.S., she serves on the Sea Grant Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the Sea Grant program concept, setting national and regional program priorities, and advocating for greater understanding, use, and conservation of marine, coastal and Great Lakes resources. She is also a member of the team steering development of a Marine Studies Initiative and Campus in Newport, where Sea Grant manages the HMSC Visitor Center and public marine education programming.
Dr. Walker came to OSG in 2014 from NOAA's Office of Ocean and Atmospheric Research in Washington, D.C., where she had served since 2009 as the strategic planning team leader for the Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation. At OAR, she was responsible for research and planning and also served as associate director for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program, an effort funded via civil penalties from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which aims to increase scientific understanding of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and improve the region's sustainability. Before joining NOAA, she was associate program director in the National Science Foundation's Ocean Sciences Division, where she worked in the Ocean Technology and Interdisciplinary Coordination Program. She served as program officer for the Ocean Observatories Initiative to monitor the world's oceans for environmental changes and their effects on biodiversity, coastal ecosystems and climate, and has also been project manager for the Joint Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology, a group of 25 federal agencies with responsibilities for ocean research and technology development.
Dr. Walker earned her Ph.D. in Marine Science from the School of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary, and held a post-doctoral fellowship with the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. She is also a former Sea Grant John A. Knauss Fellow.