Oceana Puananilei Francis

Civil Engineer
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
What is your current job and what does it entail? 

I am an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Sea Grant College Program at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. I am also a licensed civil engineer in the states of Hawai'i and Alaska. I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in civil engineering and supervise graduate and undergraduate students. In my own research I am involved in coastal sustainability. This includes the following research areas: storm-generated ocean waves; meteorological and ocean processes on coastal infrastructure; sustainable coastal infrastructure, water and wastewater systems affected by climate change and water shortage; planning, design and construction of coastal infrastructure; and numerical modeling, field measurements and statistical analysis of wind-generated waves.

What was the key factor in your career decision? 

My desire to work in science and engineering.

What do like most about your career? 

Teaching and research.

What do you like least about your career? 

Writing proposals.

What do you do to relax? 

Sit on the beach and enjoy pupus.

Who are your heroes/heroines? 

Too many to name. So many inspirational people out there who have touched my life in some way.

What advice would you give a student who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in your field? 

Develop a strong background in math and science. Even if you choose later not to go into a science or engineering field, an analytical background is considered highly desirable by most employers.

Are career opportunities in your field increasing or decreasing and why? 

Increasing exponentially. Due to climate change and human impact on resources, we have been trying to ascertain if we can live sustainably in our world whether it is through conserving water resources or protecting our coastal communities from increasing storm surges. Therefore, people with the ability to do quantitative work in these fields are highly sought after.

What will you be doing 10 years from today? 

Be a professor, like I am now, and hopefully tenured!

Oceana Puananilei Francis

Due to climate change and human impact on resources, we have been trying to ascertain if we can live sustainably in our world, whether it is through conserving water resources or protecting our coastal communities from increasing storm surges. Therefore, people with the ability to do quantitative work in these fields are highly sought after.

Education

B.S., Physics & Astronomy, University of Nebraska Lincoln
B.S., Civil Engineering, University of Alaska Anchorage
M.S., Civil Engineering, University of Alaska Anchorage
Ph.D., Atmospheric Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks