The Team

Ship Location

Papahānaumokuākea MNM, USA

Scott Hara

Photo of Scott Hara
Navigator
Graduate Student
University of Rhode Island

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

My thesis work focuses on testing a water quality monitoring payload for an autonomous kayak. The payload uses a peristaltic pump to sample water flushing it past several optical sensors. Readings from the sensors can tell us about important water properties like oxygen concentration or chlorophyll density. My job was confirming that the system measurements were representative of where it sampled in the water column. I identified how the system operates, why certain sensors responded differently than others and used that information to carry out autonomous profiling operations.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

Being near the water was always a large part of my childhood, and my interest in engineering came about when I was in high school. I was fortunate to have teachers along the way who encouraged me towards engineering, and I decided to focus on Ocean Engineering after transferring from community college. It was a natural combination of the environment I love and the work I want to do.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My teachers, professors, and adviser influenced me to always continue working towards the next goal even when it seemed insurmountable at the time.

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

Discovering new features in the water column fascinates me the most. We know so little about the water covering most of this Earth that even the smallest discoveries can help re-write what we knew entirely.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

My focus has been on school so far, but I held IT technician positions throughout college that helped me learn how to troubleshoot. A semester-long internship doing software development taught me a lot about large-scale software projects. These led me to the work I've done in the Roman Lab maintaining and deploying the autonomous kayak.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering -- University of Rhode Island 2015
Associates of Science in Engineering Science -- Norwalk Community College 2012

What are your hobbies?

I'm slowly getting into photography, and generally, love to be outdoors. When stuck inside though it's always fun to play a board game or two.

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

Never stop asking questions, and be positive when things aren't quite going your way. It's been a difficult habit to instill in myself, but the work only gets easier when you don't beat yourself up over something breaking.

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

I worked alongside students managing the high-resolution imaging system deployed on Hercules and had an opportunity 3 years ago to be a mapping intern.