Tell us about your work / research. What kinds of things do you do?
I'm going to school to learn more about marine robotic systems, and how they can be used to gather water quality data about our rivers and lakes. We operate an autonomous kayak that can collect a lot of information over a relatively short period of time. I've integrated sensors, planned and run surveys, and performed the post processing needed to look at the data after the fact.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
I got into ocean engineering because of the environment. The ocean has always fascinated me, and I knew that whatever field I got into had to be by the water. Robotics has played a part in my life since high school. After transferring to URI from community college I got involved with the Autonomous Surface Vehicle club, and it was all downhill from there.
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
Definitely the teachers who got me to love problem solving. If I didn't love what I was doing, I probably wouldn't have made it this far.
What element of your work / study do you think is the most fascinating?
I think the coolest thing about the kayak is that we're collecting data that's much higher resolution than what's been previously collected. It's like going from a blurry, hard to see image, to one that's much more crisp and clear. The more we are able to see, the more we can potentially learn about each site.
What other jobs led you to your current career?
I primarily held positions doing information technology work because I felt it would increase my ability to work with computers on a daily basis. My current job working with the autonomous kayak will hopefully lead me towards further multidisciplinary jobs in the future.
What are your degrees and certifications?
Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering -- University of Rhode Island 2014
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy playing with a micro quadcopter, video games, books, biking, running, swimming, rock climbing (particularly bouldering), cooking, and card games.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career like yours?
Understanding how a robot will operate in an environment requires knowledge about both the robot and the environment. A robot flying through the air faces a different set of challenges compared to those floating through the sea or orbiting around the Earth in space. Understanding the environment doesn't take any robotic knowledge at all, but it can provide a blueprint for your robot once you really understand the constraints you're working under.
How did you get involved in the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?
I've known about the NEP through my lab. I wanted to get involved before I got too far into my thesis, reached out, and found out about this opportunity.