Deep ocean researcher and oil spill expert with three UNC-Chapel Hill degrees to deliver Doctoral Hooding address

Samantha Joye

Samantha Joye

Samantha Joye, a leading researcher on the impact of oil and gas seepage in deep ocean environments, will give the keynote address at UNC-Chapel Hill’s 2016 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony.

The event recognizes graduate students receiving their doctoral degrees and is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. May 7 at the Dean E. Smith Center, 300 Bowles Drive.

Joye, who holds three degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, is the Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Arts and Sciences in the University of Georgia’s marine sciences department. Her multidisciplinary research into factors affecting the health and sustainability of marine environments focuses on lakes, wetlands, oceans and Arctic environments.

She has spent 20 years studying the Gulf of Mexico, and these investigations have taken her twice to the site of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon platform blowout, during which an estimated 206 million gallons of oil spilled into the sea. Joye was the chief scientist on trips in 2010 and in a 2014 return to the site. On both expeditions, she traveled to the sea floor in a submarine to observe the continuing impact of the discharge.

Joye leads an academic consortium named the Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf (ECOGIG) project – including researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill – that supports continuing research into changes in the Gulf following the 2010 oil leak. In 2014, the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative awarded ECOGIG an $18.8 million grant.

Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences at the  University of Georgia, has studied the oil plumes generated by the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

Samantha Joye

Among her honors, Joye has received the Distinguished Service Award for Education and Outreach from the U.S. Department of the Interior and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Georgia Trend magazine named her one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” in 2012. She was awarded a Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award in 2014.

She received her bachelor’s degree in biology, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in marine sciences from UNC-Chapel Hill.

“Dr. Joye is an exceptional researcher and teacher,” said Steve Matson, dean of The Graduate School. “Her discoveries contribute critical knowledge to our understanding of the world’s oceans and are being applied to efforts to protect them. Her research team includes graduate and undergraduate students, and she clearly values her role as a mentor. These students are learning from one of our nation’s top scientists. We are honored to welcome Dr. Joye back to her alma mater.”

During the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony, each participating doctoral graduate will be called to the stage to have the hood of the commencement regalia conferred by his or her adviser or dissertation committee chair. Family and friends are invited to the ceremony, as well as the public.