The Team

Ship Location

San Pedro, USA

Mallory Ringham

Photo of Mallory Ringham
Science/Data Team
Graduate Student
MIT/WHOI Joint Program

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

Recently, I completed an MS in Earth Sciences at Syracuse University, where I worked on pedogenic carbonate in desert soils of the central Andes in Argentina and Chile. My thesis project involved environmental ground-truthing of the clumped isotope geothermometer, which is a proxy for estimating near-surface temperatures used in paleoenvironmental and paleoaltitudinal studies. Soon, I will be trading in mountains and deserts for coastal and marine environments. I am beginning my Ph.D. studies in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program this fall, where I will work on carbonate chemistry and the inorganic carbon cycle in marine systems.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I started out in physics and chemical engineering as an undergraduate, but after a few courses in oceanography and biogeochemistry, I decided to put both of my majors to use on highly interdisciplinary earth sciences projects in graduate school. My Master's project up in the Andes mountain range was a great excuse to get outside and travel while contributing to interesting paleoenvironmental science. Joining a Ph.D. program in oceanography will allow me to continue exploring the Earth while putting my science and engineering background to great use. 

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

I have been fortunate to connect with excellent mentors at every step of my career, from family members to high school science teachers, to academic and research advisors throughout my undergraduate and graduate programs.

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

It's incredible to see that scientific research can take us far outside of our laboratories. I have worked with scientists, engineers and educators from around the world while conducting field work in the Andes and while sailing around on the E/V Nautilus. The connections and knowledge that we share with others both in and outside of our scientific fields are invaluable.

How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program?  

I thought about stowing away on a research cruise for quite some time before I found out that the Nautilus Exploration Program takes on ocean science and engineering interns. I sailed on the Nautilus in August/September 2015 during our first cruise with Ocean Networks Canada, and I'm excited to return this year.

What other jobs led you to your current career? 

I have worked in a wide variety of research labs. As an undergraduate at Syracuse University, I volunteered in a biomedical engineering lab where I worked on a project meant to encapsulate attenuated strains of virus in oral vaccinations. I later worked in a nanochemistry lab, running electrochemical experiments on gold and silver nanoparticle alloys. I was a summer student at Woods Hole Oceanographic, where I worked on building and testing a prototype autonomous river sampler, and I joined the Earth Sciences department in my senior year to work on a project identifying precipitation sources by stable isotope analysis during winter storms. Finally, I stayed on at Syracuse as a Master's student using clumped and conventional stable isotopes on desert soil carbonates.

What are your degrees and certifications?

The degrees I hold are a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Chemical Engineering -- Syracuse University 2013; Master of Science in Earth Sciences -- Syracuse University 2015.

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies include running and hiking (both of which are unfortunately difficult to replicate on a research vessel), and I am a swing, salsa, and ballroom dancer. My favorite hobby on board the Nautilus is stargazing. 

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours? 

My advice for someone who is interested in my field of study is to talk to everyone and take full advantage of any opportunity that comes your way. I wandered into a wide variety of incredible projects by talking to professors after classes and asking about upcoming research opportunities. 

"I was extremely excited to discover the internship opportunities for students and recent graduates offered by the Ocean Exploration Trust, and I can't wait to step on board to join the Nautilus team. I believe that ocean exploration is vitally important in understanding our resources and our planet at large, and I am thrilled to be able to participate in this research."