Coralie standing on deck of Nautilus

Coralie Rodriguez

Science/Data Team
Graduate Student
University of Rhode Island-- Graduate School of Oceanography

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

I am currently looking into the origins and conditions of ferromanganese (Fe-Mn) crust formation on Pacific seamounts. These kinds of crusts are widely distributed throughout Earth's ocean basins, yet the conditions by which they form and the factors controlling their composition remain elusive. In addition, these crusts are potentially large reservoirs of economically valuable elements, which motivates a broader interest in their geochemistry. I am currently looking at the concentrations of transition metals and rare earth elements in samples collected aboard two E/V Nautilus cruises (NA110 and NA114) using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). I will use these sample-derived data along with vehicle data of water properties at each collection point to test hypotheses relating to the factors that govern Fe-Mn crust formation and composition.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

Growing up hiking and backpacking, I gravitated toward the natural world so geology fit as my perfect major. During my undergraduate career, I worked both in a lab setting and in the field and really enjoyed combining math and science in my classes. After taking courses in volcanology and igneous petrology, my interest was piqued, and I knew I wanted to further study geochemistry. I am grateful to be at URI's Graduate School of Oceanography, because I've always had an appreciation for the ocean, and now I get a chance to study and learn about it in conjunction with my graduate degree.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

I had some amazing teachers in high school who gave me the science and math foundation needed, and they inspired me to pursue a degree in STEM. At university, I had a few really amazing professors who continued to encourage me in class, lab, and in the field!

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

I have a good time looking at all of the different rocks and seeing where in the ocean basin they are from. I also really like using the rock saw to cut my samples, it makes me feel strong to break rocks apart!

What other jobs led to your current career?

I worked in a commercial lab as a polarized light microscopist for a couple of years after I graduated from college. While I loved the experience, I knew that I wanted to do lab work where I was conducting original research, and I wanted more opportunities to go into the field. In my undergraduate career, I was a tutor for an introductory oceanography class through a program for students that came from marginalized backgrounds in higher education. In doing that, I found a passion for science communication, which is something I would like to pursue more in my time at graduate school and beyond.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Geology -- University of California, Los Angeles

Currently in graduate school at the University of Rhode Island

What are your hobbies?

I like anything active, such as rock climbing, soccer, swimming, and tennis. I also spend time being creative through photography, ceramics, painting etc., or by playing and learning different instruments (I am currently learning to play the kalimba).

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

I would start with a good foundation in math and science, I even took extra math classes in undergrad than I needed for my major. I also think it's good to have some coding knowledge. It is important to read papers about topics that interest you. Finally, I believe a good attitude and a disposition for learning and exploring are most useful!


Coralie participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: