Anabel Baker

Anabel Baker

Atalanta Pilot
Oregon State University

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

I am a student at Oregon State University pursuing an Ecological Engineering Degree. I am working concurrently towards my bachelors and masters degrees with a focus on ocean applications. The field of ecological engineering integrates life science and geoscience into the engineering process. I intern at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Innovations Lab in Newport, OR, where I am creating a sensor package that can be mounted on tide gates to monitor water conditions. The process of engineering this instrument includes circuitry, coding, 3-D modeling and printing, and learning to waterproof electronics.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I love the ocean and wanted to find a career where I am able to work with ocean ecosystems. Ecological engineering is an engineering discipline that centers around an ecosystem-based focus. As an ecological engineer, it will be my responsibility to work with rivers, wetlands, forests, agricultural land, cities, or coasts to create something that uses the ecology of the setting to benefit both people and the environment. It is a field that lets me solve problems in a way that is both creative and technical. I love the work and am happy I chose this field.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My family, including my Samish people, the Seattle Aquarium, and its Youth Ocean Advocate program were primary influences. I was also inspired by all the wonderful programs I participated in including Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA), Center for Wooden Boats ROV, Women in STEM, Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science (GEMS) and Coast Salish Youth Stewardship Corp.

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

Working in a marine environment makes one learn to expect the unexpected. Every time I work with the ocean, there is always something new and interesting. That keeps every aspect of the work exciting.

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

I heard about OET through a friend from the Seattle Aquarium’s Youth Ocean Advocate program. I was encouraged to apply for the expedition by my peers and mentor during my internship at Hatfield Marine Science Center. I applied for multiple positions and was thrilled to receive the ROV internship, which is the one I most wanted!

What other jobs led you to your current career?

In high school, I explored my passion for the ocean by volunteering as a Youth Ocean Advocate at the Seattle Aquarium. I also learned about my career pathways and the field of ecological engineering through my participation in the Coast Salish Youth Stewardship Corps. At an internship at the Hatfield Marine Science Center Innovation Lab through Oregon State University, I was able to learn more about electronics and the engineering design process.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Associates in Arts and Science– Everett Community College 2020. 
Bachelor’s Degree in Ecological Engineering- Oregon State University (in progress).

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy rock climbing, swimming, and gaming. Dungeons and Dragons is one of my favorite games, and lately I’ve tried other tabletop role-playing games as well. I also enjoy beachcombing, tide pooling, and looking for agates and fossils on the Oregon Coast!

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

There are many different paths to an ocean career, even one that seems specific at first (e.g. aquaculturist, ROV pilot). Engineering can seem intimidating at first, especially if you feel underrepresented in the field. As you explore the field of engineering as an option for your career, you might hear that it is extremely difficult, or that the academic load is too much. In my experience, engineering school is far more approachable than it is made out to be, is a great fit for creative minds, and is easier to tackle as you progress because more specialized courses allow you to explore your passions and invest in your work. Even if engineering seems like an academic monster, give it a try! You may be pleasantly surprised. :)


Anabel participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: