Physical Oceanographer Joins UCLA Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
Courtesy of Isabella Arzeno Soltero
Isabella Arzeno Soltero has joined the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering July 1 as an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. Her appointment is part of UCLA’s initiative to become a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution by 2025, which includes hiring new faculty across the UCLA campus for individuals whose teaching, scholarship and/or mentoring has ties to Latinx experiences.
Arzeno Soltero has conducted extensive research on ocean dynamics across various scales, with a recent emphasis on the interplay between seaweed and hydrodynamics. Moving forward, her research will be dedicated to addressing vital aspects of coastal resilience, such as the dynamic processes that contribute to the formation of coastal hypoxic zones. This research is motivated by the significant impact these zones have on the health and well-being of nearby ecosystems and communities. Arzeno Soltero’s research methodology has centered on observational approaches, leveraging techniques such as scientific diving for instrument deployment.
During her postdoctoral tenures at Stanford University (2022-2023) and UC Irvine (2020-2022), however, Arzeno Soltero expanded her research repertoire to include the development of numerical simulations. At Stanford, she began delving into the complexities of secondary circulation within kelp forest environments. Her objective was to illuminate the pivotal role played by kelp forests in the transport and dispersal of nutrients and larvae. At UC Irvine, Arzeno Soltero developed a model to estimate the global potential for seaweed cultivation, in order to assess the capacity of seaweed cultivation as a strategy for carbon dioxide removal.
Arzeno Soltero earned her doctorate in physical oceanography in 2020 from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, aided by funding from the National Defense Science and Engineering Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. Apart from being a teaching assistant at UC San Diego, she organized the Rosa Parks Tutoring Program designed to help promote diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields in communities facing economic and social challenges. She obtained both her master’s in civil and environmental engineering and bachelor’s in earth systems from Stanford University.
Since 2020, Arzeno Soltero has facilitated a community science program in Coachella Valley to study the water quality of the Salton Sea. She plans to continue research on the Salton Sea focused on the changing hydrodynamics, hydrogen sulfide emissions and the related socioeconomic impacts of this landlocked and highly saline body of water.