Colleen Peters headshot photo

Colleen Peters

Mapping Coordinator
Marketing and Operations Specialist
Inner Space Center, University of Rhode Island

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

I provide support for telepresence operations at the Inner Space Center, the live streaming partner of the E/V Nautilus. I recently graduated from the Blue MBA program at the University of Rhode Island. The previous 10 years were spent mapping the seafloor on both the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and the Research Vessel Falkor. Mapping is particularly rewarding because you instantaneously see results--new features are frequently unveiled when surveying previously unexplored regions of the ocean.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I've worked on boats since high school. While attending Maine Maritime Academy, working at sea seemed to be a natural fit for my interests in both science and being on the water. 

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

Making 4D visualizations of the mapping data is my favorite part of the process because this is one of the best tools to engage the public about how interesting the seafloor features can be. I enjoy making maps and posters--anything that can be used to visually display the survey results.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

When I was a marine tech intern with the MATE program, I realized that working as a marine technician on a research vessel would be an excellent combination of my interests and skills--field work without having to write papers! I the sailed on board the NOAA Ships Oscar Dyson and Okeanos Explorer as the Senior Survey Technician and Lead Technician aboard RV Falkor for a decade. I then left Falkor to pursue graduate studies at URI. Working for the Inner Space Center, while attending grad school, was a natural fit due to my shipboard and technical experience working with telepresence, scientific operations, and scientific data management. 

What are your degrees and certifications?

B.S. Marine Science, A.S. Small Vessel Operations from Maine Maritime Academy 2005; Master of Oceanography, Master of Business Administration and Certificate in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing from the University of Rhode Island 2019; USCG 200-ton Master's license and unlimited AB; plus a long list of multibeam and survey system training certifications.

What are your hobbies?

Travel is my most favorite hobby. I love to cook and try new recipes. Hiking, biking, tennis, kickboxing, yoga... anything active. Photography and tying knots! (I usually know more knots than the deck crew)

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

No matter what field you are in, the best advice I can give is to find internships and job opportunities while you are still in college. It is important to not only learn more about what you think you want to do--but to also figure out what you do not want to do. It is much easier to change gears before taking a full-time position or deciding on a specific career path. If you think you would like to go to sea, try it--it's not for everyone. Also, always smile and be polite. You never know when the person you smiled at will turn out to be your professor, colleague or boss!

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

I have worked on similar ships and know a lot of the folks who work for OET and onboard the E/V Nautilus. It's a small community!


Colleen participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: