Environmental Science Alumnus is Living Out His Passion as a Coastal Scientist

Alumnus Nick Sadrpour, ’11 is a coastal scientist focused on understanding the dynamics and management of coastal resources in California.

While Sadrpour was an undergraduate, he decided to email an address written on a board in professor of civil engineering and environmental science, John Dorsey’s classroom. This serendipitous decision led to a summer job at Southern California Coastal Water Research Projects and his current career path.

“My first ever real science job is thanks to my advisor John Dorsey,” said Sadrpour. “I worked there four summers. I got to work on projects looking at beach water quality that are close to my heart as an avid surfer and swimmer.”

Sadrpour earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science in 2011. He went on to earn a master’s degree in coastal and watershed science and policy from California State University Monterey Bay in 2014; then completed a fellowship with the California Ocean Protection Council.

Today he helps lead that fellowship program through California Sea Grant, which is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), coordinating the organization’s ocean and coastal research program.

“We fund practical research projects that answer natural resource questions in ways that are useful for state managers,” said Sadrpour. “In this position, I get a very well-rounded perspective on understanding how agencies work together, what their challenges are and how they propose to face those challenges.”

Before moving to California Sea Grant, Sadrpour was with USC Sea Grant—a sister NOAA program—leading the regional AdaptLA program that connects coastal stakeholders to create solutions to coastal issues in the Los Angeles area.

At USC he was thrilled to interact with his LMU academic advisor Dorsey as a colleague. Sadrpour’s also interacted with Karina Johnson, director of programs for LMU’s Coastal Research Institute, on a number of technical advisory groups, including her work on marshes on the margins. He expects to work with her in the future on projects to restore dune habitats in Santa Monica Bay, as well as other efforts.

Regarding his work, Sadrpour said, “I get to do and think about stuff that I’m so excited about, and I get to travel to places that are very cool.”

After a stint at the Ocean Protection Council in Sacramento, he’s happy to be back in Southern California working at the La Jolla campus of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, adjacent to the ocean.

“I went for a swim at lunch today,” said Sadrpour.