Alyssa Snyder

Alyssa Snyder

Seafloor Mapping Intern
Recent Graduate
Slippery Rock University

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

While pursuing my bachelor’s degree my work mostly focused on geospatial analysis and mapping. I worked on a research project to distinguish how spatial patterns of Alaskan wildfires have changed over the past 20 years. Geospatial research is an extremely interesting area because you are easily able to map and analyze large data sets and visualize how different factors relate to one another. I also collected mapping data for areas around Slippery Rock University with small unmanned aircraft systems.

What sparked your initial interest n your career?

Ever since I was young, I have had a passion for learning about the ocean and the physical earth around us. After taking an oceanography course I found myself drawn to marine geology, which led me to the STEMSEAS program and the opportunity to experience life on board the RV Sikuliaq. I was intrigued by how the multibeam system mapped the seafloor and enjoyed working with the oceanographic instruments. The ocean floor is full of so many wonders and so much knowledge we have yet to discover.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

I have been lucky enough to have a close relationship with multiple professors from my department who have helped guide me to find my interests and opportunities to pursue them.

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

I think the most interesting element of my work and study was finding and understanding how different factors interconnect to cause the patterns we see in a particular data set. When you start working with a data set you may not see any patterns at all, but with analysis, you can find patterns that you couldn’t see. By using different analyses and combining data sets you can come to a better understanding of the causes, effects, or circumstances of the phenomena you are seeing.

What other jobs led to your current career?

Although not directly related to my goal, I've had many opportunities to polish skills that will further grow my professional development in the field of science. Working as a waitress has allowed me to better social and teamwork skills, including working with large or small groups of people from different backgrounds. As the secretary of the Geography, Geology, and the Environment Club, I learned the importance of organization as I am responsible for keeping members, faculty, and speakers aware of the schedule and upcoming events. It also required me to frequently send out professional correspondence, which will be a very practical experience as I further my career.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geoscience with a Minor in Geographic Information Technology – Slippery Rock University 2021
Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate

What are your hobbies?

I love to go biking, hiking, and fishing around the beautiful areas in my state. I also love to bake delicious pies!

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

As I was searching for internships aboard ships, I came across the Science and Engineering Internship Program which provides the chance for Seafloor Mapping interns to work for hands-on with collecting multibeam data and visualizing it. When I came across Nautilus Live and watched videos of past expeditions, I became even more interested in joining the mapping team.

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

As a recent graduate my career has still yet to be established, however for anyone thinking about pursuing marine geology or seafloor mapping the best advice I can give right now is to put yourself out there. Even if you come from a place that does not have immediate access to the ocean, if you work hard for opportunities to get out on the ocean without getting discouraged then you are going to be successful. Getting the chance to work with professionals and the technology in the field of your choice is vital to the growth of your chosen career. Many geologists use the phrase "get in the van", in this case, I would suggest getting on the boat, whenever and however you can.


Alyssa participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: