Western names new director of Shannon Point Marine Center

Erika McPhee-Shaw has been hired as director of Western Washington University’s Shannon Point Marine Center.

McPhee-Shaw, who will start at Western on June 15, 2014, was hired following a national search. She succeeds longtime SPMC Director Steve Sulkin, who has retired.

"I am thrilled that Dr. McPhee-Shaw will be joining us as director of the Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes. She is an accomplished scientist, and she has already begun to think about ways to further the Center's strategic goals. I look forward to working with her and our colleagues at Shannon Point,” said Western Provost Brent Carbajal.

McPhee-Shaw is an associate professor at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and San Jose State University, where she has worked since 2004. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories is the graduate program in marine science for California State Universities East Bay, Fresno, Monterey Bay, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose and Stanislaus.

“I am very excited about coming to Shannon Point Marine Center, which has such high quality education and research programs and amazing facilities. I am so pleased to be joining Western Washington University, and envision opportunities to expand WWU’s footprint in marine studies within the natural sciences and environmental studies programs for which WWU has such an outstanding reputation,” McPhee-Shaw said.

McPhee-Shaw has a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Dartmouth College and a doctorate in Oceanography from the University of Washington. She was a National Research Council Fellow at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on internal waves, continental shelf and slope dynamics, and sediment, nutrient, and oxygen transport; and she has been chief scientist on various seagoing projects. She is chair of the executive council of the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System, which is part of the Integrated Ocean Observing System, a national framework of 11 coastal observing systems. She serves on the national USIOOS board of directors. She is a recipient of a Leopold Leadership fellowship. Established in 1998, this innovative program was created to provide successful midcareer scientists in Canada, Mexico, and the United States with tools to better communicate their science beyond the scientific community, as well as providing skills in management and more effective leadership.

She has written extensively for academic and science education publications, has been the lead principle investigator on National Science Foundation and NOAA grants and has done considerable outreach, including as the oceanographer on a Discovery Channel science special with host Philippe Cousteau in Inverness, Scotland in 2008.

Steve Hollenhorst, dean of Western’s Huxley College of the Environment, has been serving as interim director of Shannon Point Marine Center.

“Finding a new director who could carry on and advance the work of Steve Sulkin was a daunting challenge. But we found that leader in Dr. McPhee-Shaw,” Hollenhorst said.

Carbajal thanked Hollenhorst for “his excellent leadership of SPMC during this interim year. In addition to his work as Dean of the Huxley College of the Environment, he has served Shannon Point Marine Center well and will continue to work as interim director through the current 2013-2014 academic year.”

Carbajal also thanked the search committee, chaired by Brian Bingham, professor of Environmental Sciences at Western.

The Shannon Point Marine Center’s mission is to support and promote marine science academic programs at WWU, develop new information about local marine environments, train the next generation of marine scientists, and provide public education events. More information about SPMC can be accessed at www.wwu.edu/spmc.