Meet 2018 Students of Ph.D. in Ocean Science and Engineering

Six students join the second cohort of the Ph.D. program

In November 2016, Georgia Tech launched the Ph.D. in Ocean Science and Engineering (OSE,, an interdisciplinary graduate program across the schools and faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Biological Sciences (BIOL) and Earth & Atmospheric Sciences (EAS). In 2018, six new students join the current cohort of OSE students

The OSE program has two goals:

  • to educate the next generation of transdisciplinary ocean scientists and engineers by combining basic and applied sciences with innovative ocean technologies
  • to advance interdisciplinary research at the frontiers of the physical, biological, chemical and human dimensions of ocean systems. 

The 2018 OSE cohort will specialize in Marine Products, Cryosphere, Climate Extremes, Marine Living Resources, and Coastal Ocean Systems. Their orientation will take place on Aug. 14, 2018.


Jelly Vanderwoude (OSE-BIOL)

Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and Geological Sciences from the University of Miami, Summa Cum Laude. She was awarded the NSF Graduate Fellowship. Her undergraduate research focused on benthic ctenophore ecology, studying predator-prey interactions and reproductive behavior and patterns of two South Florida ctenophores: Vallicula multiformis and Coeloplana waltoni.

"For my Ph.D. I am interested in marine natural products biosysnthesis and chemical ecology of marine natural products, especially those produced by sponge microbiomes"


Olawale Ikuyajolu (OSE-EAS)

Undergraduate degree in physics from University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His undergraduate research focused on climate science, while his postgraduate focused on convection and climate sensitivity using aquaplanet simulations with diploma in Earth System Physics at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Italy. During his PhD in OSE, he hopes to develop and advance understanding of the influence of ocean-atmosphere interactions on weather and climate systems using climate models. 

“I am interested in the elemental role of ocean in setting the mean climate and its variability in simple theoretical models, observations and coupled climate models.”


Kyungmin Park (OSE-CEE)

Bachelor's degree and a master's degree in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering from Tongmyong University, and Pusan National University, respectively. He has performed various researches using numerical simulation. The topics include but are not limited to the ship hydrodynamics, flow control, porous media flow, and liquid-gas-particle flow.

"As these research activities introduced to me how scientific knowledge can be tangibly utilized in real life and development in industrial field, I have opened my eyes to see the value of continued striving for new discoveries"

His aspiration is to not only enhance understanding of the oceans, the climate, and the ecosystem, but also apply this knowledge to life using mathematical models and computer simulations. He intends to pursue PhD in OSE with the aim of becoming a professor who leads a research laboratory in academia for creating effective technology or knowledge with a positive societal impact.


Paige Copenhaver (OSE-EAS)

Bachelor in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Georgia. She conducted research in stellar astrophysics. She also joined a team of undergraduates building earth-observing cube satellites to study ocean color and produce 3D terrain maps. After studying sustainability and renewable energy in Freiburg, Germany, she decided to use her background in physics, astronomy, and satellite development to contribute to understanding and characterizing ocean and atmospheric interactions.

"In my spare time, I enjoy painting, practicing yoga, playing flute, baking, and exploring the outdoors"


Ziad Rashed (OSE-CEE)

Graduate degree from Virginia Tech with a major in Engineering Science and Mechanics with a minor in Math and Biomedical Engineering. He grew up in Giza, Egypt and moved to the United States in 2005, and lived in Virginia since then. His undergraduate research focused on investigating tribological properties of oil-infused surfaces and fabrication of slippery surfaces. He also researched fabrication of synthetic trees to harness the natural power of transpiration.


Anh Pham (OSE-BIOL)

Bachelor in Biotechnology at International University – Ho Chi Minh National University, Vietnam. His undergraduate research focused on microalgal cultivation, application, and harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Vietnamese waters. For his Ph.D., he hopes to have a better understanding of phytoplankton physiological ecology, through advanced data analysis, to help forecast and mitigate algal blooms. In his free time, you can find him at the gym, on the basketball court, or at the swimming pool.


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  • Jelly Vanderwoude

  • Olawale Ikuyajolu

  • Kyungmin Park

  • Paige Copenhaver

  • Ziad Rashed

  • Anh Pham