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Dr. Maddie Smith

Assistant Scientist
Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department

Contact Information:
Location: Bigelow 105C

Mailing Address:
266 Woods Hole Road, MS #12
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Research Interests

Sea ice; waves and wave-ice interactions; upper ocean processes; Arctic and Antarctic fieldwork; integrating observations and climate models.


Dr. Maddie Smith is an Assistant Scientist in the Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Motivated by the loss of sea ice in a rapidly changing climate, her research uses observations and modeling approaches to understand how sea ice interacts with the ocean. Her fieldwork has taken her to the oceans at both ends of the earth, including participation in the summer leg of the year-long MOSAiC expedition. Maddie completed her PhD in Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington, exploring the role of surface waves and turbulence in the autumn Arctic Ocean. She received her B.A. in Earth & Oceanographic Studies and Environmental Science from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where she first dreamed of exploring the Arctic while learning about the transpolar drift of Fridtjof Nansen.


  • MIT-WHOI Joint Program: If you are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in oceanography with a focus on understanding the interactions of the upper ocean with Arctic sea ice, please reach out. Maddie is currently seeking a new student for a 2024 start to join a project to understand the physics of fall freeze-up in the Alaskan Arctic. Applications are due December 15, 2023.
  • WHOI Postdoctoral Scholar Program: The scholar program provides 18 months of funding for new Ph.D.s to pursue research. I am open to collaborating with a postdoc on a variety of topics including upper ocean-sea ice interactions, sea-ice physics using observations and climate models, and waves in coastal environments using distributed acoustic sensing (DAS). Applications are typically due in October, but please reach out at any time as opportunities may be ongoing.
  • More opportunities for Guest students and Summer Students




Ph.D.: Civil & Environmental Engineering, 2019. University of Washington, Seattle

M.S.: Civil & Environmental Engineering, 2016. University of Washington, Seattle

B.A. with Honors: Earth & Oceanographic Science, and Environmental Studies, 2014. Bowdoin College