Annika O’Dea, a coastal and ocean engineering graduate student in the Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering, has been awarded the prestigious Fulbright scholarship, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars announced earlier this month. O’Dea, who will graduate from OSU with a master’s degree in civil engineering, will use the award to travel to Senegal and research coastal evolution and coastal hazards in the region.
“It is a great opportunity and I was really excited when I found out I had been named to the program,” O’Dea said. “West Africa faces a lot of erosion issues and has been impacted by rising sea-levels. The coast is heavily populated and is constantly changing. They are losing roads and buildings and the area will only get worse as sea-levels continue to rise.”
O’Dea’s research, which starts in October and is funded for one year, will look at how the coast has changed in recent years and predict how future changes in sea-levels could impact the area.
She learned she received the prominent award in late April as it was the culmination of a lengthy application process. Working with the OSU Fulbright Scholar Program and advisors Laurence Becker (associate professor, Geosciences) and Nick Fleury (head advisor, International Degrees), O’Dea submitted her application to OSU for review in September before submitting to the national organization in October.
While at OSU, O’Dea has worked with OSU CCE associate professor Merrick Haller on the nearshore impact of wave energy extraction and will present her thesis in a few weeks.
The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. Since its inception in 1946, approximately 310,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the program.