United States Naval Research Laboratory, Seafloor Sciences Branch

American Society for Engineering Education Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Created a Bayesian inference platform (NSEA) for seafloor evolution modeling and sidescan sonar image
  • Designed and implemented a GPU-accelerated backend for NSEA using CUDA and Julia
  • Transitioned research projects to operational oceanographers at the Naval Oceanographic Office

University of Virginia, Department of Environmental Sciences

Postdoctoral research associate

  • Deployed hydroacoustic instruments to acquire time series of turbulence, waves and sediment resuspension data
  • Applied particle filters to assimilate data into stochastic models for resuspension
  • Supervised undergraduate researcher through an NSF-funded REU program

Boston University, Department of Earth and Environment

Graduate teaching fellow

  • Created instructional materials for a graduate-level course on Digital Image Processing
  • Taught students to use open source GIS tools (GDAL, QGIS, Orfeo Toolbox) to analyze multispectral and radar imagery on high performance computing infrastructure

Graduate research assistant

  • Deployed acoustic Doppler current profilers and turbidity sensors to measure sediment transport
  • Developed machine learning models to estimate tidal currents in salt marsh creeks


Boston University

Ph.D. in Earth Sciences, 2018

University of Pennsylvania

B.A. in Earth Science and Science, Technology and Society, 2013


  • William S. Kearney and Allison M. Penko. The Naval Seafloor Evolution Architecture: A Platform for Predicting Dynamic Seafloor Roughness. U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Formal Report, 2022. https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/AD1183343
  • Giulio Mariotti, William S. Kearney, and Sergio Fagherazzi. Soil creep in a mesotidal salt marsh channel bank: Fast, seasonal, and water table mediated. Geomorphology, 334:126 – 137, 2019. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2019.03.001
  • Sergio Fagherazzi, Shimon C. Anisfeld, Linda K. Blum, Emily V. Long, Rusty A. Feagin, Arnold Fernandes, William S. Kearney, and Kimberlyn Williams. Sea level rise and the dynamics of the marsh-upland boundary. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 7:25, 2019. https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2019.00025
  • William S. Kearney, Arnold Fernandes, and Sergio Fagherazzi. Sea-level rise and storm surges structure coastal forests into persistence and regeneration niches. PLOS ONE, 14(5):1–14, 05 2019. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0215977
  • Arnold Fernandes, Christine R. Rollinson, William S. Kearney, Michael C. Dietze, and Sergio Fagherazzi. Declining radial growth response of coastal forests to hurricanes and nor’easters. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JG004125
  • William S. Kearney, Giulio Mariotti, Linda A. Deegan, and Sergio Fagherazzi. Stage- discharge relationship in tidal channels. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 15(4):394– 407, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1002/lom3.10168
  • Giulio Mariotti, William S. Kearney, and Sergio Fagherazzi. Soil creep in salt marshes. Geology, 44(6):459–462, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1130/G37708.1
  • William S. Kearney and Sergio Fagherazzi. Salt marsh vegetation promotes efficient tidal channel networks. Nature Communications, 7, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12287