The Team

Ship Location

Channel Islands, USA

Dwight Coleman

Photo of Dwight Coleman
Science/Data Team
Director, Inner Space Center
University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography

Tell us about your work / research. What kinds of things do you do?

I frequently participate onboard the Nautilus as an Expedition Leader. I am a Marine Geologist who specializes in Ocean Exploration, Seafloor Mapping, Seabed Characterization, and Tectonics/Structure of the Ocean Basins. I am also a telepresence technologist as Director of the URI Inner Space Center and frequently install, operate, and train users of telepresence equipment on research vessels.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I developed a love of the ocean as a kid growing up on Narragansett Bay. Sailing led to my interest in charts, maps, navigation. Curiousity and National Geographic led to my interest in the earth. I took an oceanography class in college one summer and almost immediately switched my major to Earth Sciences from Mechanical Engineering. I fell in love with geology/geophysics by conducting field work in college.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My two grandmothers taught me a great deal about life, nature, and led me to gain an appreciation for scholarly academic activities.

What element of your work / study do you think is the most fascinating?

Exploring the ocean and making new discoveries is thrilling. I enjoy solving problems, troubleshooting, team building, and making projects successful.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

I was a staff geologist at the US Geological Survey in Woods Hole, MA and began going to sea on research ships to conduct marine geophysical investigations from 1990-1995. I was a graduate student at URI-GSO and continued going to sea throughout the 1990's and early 2000's. I was employed by the US Navy in Newport, RI from 1997-1999 helping to run NUWC's high performance computing laboratory. Then hired at IFE by Dr. Ballard in mid-1999.

What are your degrees and certifications?

BS in Earth Science, UNH, 1989
MS in Geological Oceanography, URI-GSO, 2001
PhD in Geological Oceanography, URI-GSO, 2003

What are your hobbies?

Skiing, Hockey, Hiking, Boating, Beach, Tennis, Golf, Movies.

What advice would you give to someone who was interested in a career like yours?

The best advice I can give is to encourage young students and scientists to pursue their dreams and seek out academic and employment opportunities that will allow them to enjoy their work and do what they love. Though, in order to do that, it is often required to develop marketable skills outside their primary interest area, such as with computers, technology, programming, or business.

How did you get involved in the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?

I have been part of the Nautilus core team since OET was created and Nautilus was procured, was previously with the Institute for Exploration, and have been the director of the URI Inner Space Center since it opened.