PORTLAND, Ore. -- Dr. Jane Lubchenco often jokes with her students that her experience as a marine biologist set up her for working in politics. After all, she already knew how to swim with sharks.

Lubchenco brought that humor to Washington, D.C. when President Barack Obama appointed her to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, known as NOAA. She was the first woman ever named to that position.

The Oregon State University professor has since moved back west and can still be often found with her students along the Oregon Coast.

KGW environmental reporter Keely Chalmers and video journalist Ken McCormick reflected on the life and work of Oregon History Maker medal recipient Dr. Jane Lubchenco.

The Oregon Historical Society has been awarding the Oregon History Makers medal annually since 2009. The award honors people and organizations that positively shape the history, culture and landscape of Oregon.