Hernan Garcia

Hernan Garcia
Oceanographer at NOAA
Oceanography Class of 1985

Hernan Garcia
Washington D.C.

As a researcher at one of the world's premier oceanic research centers, Hernan Garcia is living out his dream. He's performed field sampling in the Atlantic, Pacific, Antarctic and the Mediterranean and as a researcher in the Ocean Climate Laboratory of the US National Oceanographic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hernan's in a prime position to study the ebb and flow of the world's oceans.

As he puts it, "I always liked to sleuth through mounds of digital data to ferret out more about the 'big picture' of oceanography."

Sleuthing, in fact, is something the Humboldt State alum does plenty of.

"A typical day for me," says Hernan, "is to scratch my head very, very hard to make sense of historical, chemical and physical oceanographic data collected in the world's major oceans. My job is to interpret what data mean in terms of seasonal to decadal scale oceanic changes."

Why does the government need to track changes in oceanic conditions?

"NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet our nation's economic, social and environmental needs. Relatively long-term earth climate is controlled to a large extent by the oceans, so it is important to understand, from both a physical and biochemical perspective, what is going on in the oceans."

Hernan got his start in oceanography as a student at Humboldt State. What drew him to HSU?

"Humboldt was a small college and that was good for me. HSU placed an emphasis on individualized education, which appealed to me, as opposed to a more anonymous experience at a larger university. The education I received at Humboldt was excellent…It provided me with a very solid foundation for my graduate education. I had a lot of fun learning at HSU. I highly recommend it." *

* The views expressed in this article are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the federal government or NOAA.