By Lucy Westcott, originally published at CNS Maryland. Editor update: Angela has graduated from the PhD Program.
ANNAPOLIS — As she works toward her doctorate at the University of Maryland, U.S. Naval Cmdr. Angela Schedel is researching how much it will cost to repair the country’s coastal installations should they be damaged by climate change.
Schedel, 40, a U.S. Naval Academy instructor, is working to attach cost-per-foot data to damage caused to coastal infrastructure by climate change, tropical storms and hurricanes.
With her findings, organizations can compare the cost of preventative measures to the cost of doing nothing. Her research can help to determine if structures should be built or roads repaired to lessen the impact that climate change can have.
“Cmd. Schedel is the ideal person to be working on the problems of sea level rise in the Chesapeake Bay and its impact on Naval infrastructure,” Dr. Gregory B. Baecher, project management faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Schedel’s dissertation supervisor, said in an email interview.
“Her work is informing a new understanding of the challenges we face here in the mid-Atlantic, and should provide the foundation for future work in many of the University’s programs.”
At the Naval Academy, Schedel is used to being one of the only women in the room.
A helicopter pilot and engineering instructor at the academy, Schedel remembers several times when the ratio of men to women in her work has been more than a little off-balance — like the time she was one of 16 women out of 3,000 personnel on a deployment to the Gulf Coast.
Now, she divides her time between Annapolis and College Park, where her research focuses on the effects of climate change on coastal infrastructure in the Chesapeake Bay, particularly the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia.
Norfolk is experiencing the highest sea level rise on the East Coast
Schedel’s work centers on the fact that Norfolk is experiencing the highest sea level rise on the East Coast, with a 0.18 inch sea level rise per year compared to nearby Baltimore’s 0.14 inch rise.
Schedel is a Naval Academy graduate, a Naval Academy instructor, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maryland, College Park, a wife, a mother, and a Bible study teacher. She also served as advocate for sexual assault victims from 2008 to 2011, helping female and male students and faculty at the Naval Academy who had been sexually assaulted. She now helps with honor remediation, mentoring students who have committed honor offenses.
“I help them to find their character faults that led to their immoral behavior and try to guide them to improve themselves,” Schedel said. It is “exhausting but rewarding work,” she said.
As bells chimed one recent day across the sleepy academy campus, Schedel contemplated her different titles. “I just feel blessed and that I’ve had a lot of opportunities,” she said.
Schedel lives Annapolis with her husband, John, a Navy SEAL, who is in the same doctoral program and also teaches engineering at the academy. They have a son, Jack, who is 10.
When Jack was born, both his parents stopped their deployments overseas, and he has never known them to serve abroad.
Originally from Tampa, Fla., the daughter of a salesman (“He sold clothes, boats, and now he sells shrimp”) and a mother who works in marketing, Schedel graduated from the Naval Academy with a degree in ocean engineering in 1994.
She got her master’s in civil engineering, with a concentration in project management, from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2007.
Schedel will be leaving her teaching position on July 30 to pursue her research full-time, but she will remain a Navy reservist.
Schedel considers herself ABD: All But Dissertation.
Schedel considers herself ABD: All But Dissertation. With everything complete except her written work, she predicts that she’ll be finished in a year. She is confident as she is a year ahead of her husband, who is also working on his research.
The pursuit of doctoral degrees has turned into a competition between the couple, she said. John Schedel’s research focuses on piracy, and he is working on algorithms to predict the next ocean pirate attack using risk management and wave formation patterns.
The Schedels, who belong to Revolution church(lower case is cq) in Annapolis, teach Sunday School twice a month to children from kindergarten to fifth grade. And the couple also leads a Bible study group weekly for about 15 adults.
“I love the outreach and service aspect of our church,” Schedel says. “[Revolution] has a focus of helping the people of Annapolis.”
Since she was a child, Schedel has been passionate about flying. She joined the Navy because she thought it would be the best place to learn how to fly, which, Schedel says, it was.
In the Navy, Schedel flew CH-46D Sea Knight and the MH-60S Seahawk helicopters on logistics and search-and-rescue missions, and it was through flying that she discovered a desire to teach.
“My last flying job was as a flight instructor, and I discovered then how much I liked teaching,” Schedel said. “I decided it would be more fun to teach in a classroom on the ground instead of a mobile classroom with a spinning rotor over my head and the ground far below.”
Schedel teaches classes that range from ocean engineering design and principles of ship performance, to concrete canoe design and fabrication, and both Schedel and her husband have taught introduction to project management as adjuncts at the College Park campus.
For her first five years teaching at the Naval Academy, Schedel was the only woman in uniform in Rickover Hall, the campus’ main engineering building. Over the past six months, three more military women have started teaching there.
I am no longer such a minority.
Of 75 faculty members teaching in Rickover Hall, which includes the mechanical, aerospace, ocean engineering, and naval architecture departments, 10 are women. Four are military, and six are civilians.
But, she said, “I am no longer such a minority.”
Posted by Tom Iddings on September 27, 2014