Jaya Roperez headshot photo

Jaya Roperez

Seafloor Mapper, Navigator
Graduate Student
Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping / Joint Hydrographic Center

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

I am a hydrographer by heart and by training. Currently, I am pursuing MS in Ocean Engineering with the interest in uncertainty models for grids made from sparse and high-resolution data and ways to integrate uncertainty values to the grid. I am always interested in making use of publicly available data and turn it into useful information. I’ve been volunteering for cleaning multibeam data for the Indian Ocean Bathymetric Compilation since 2015.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

It was during my review for the licensure examination for civil engineers when my eyes lit upon reading the job posting from the national hydrographic office of the Philippines. I enjoyed doing fieldwork and making maps during my undergrad. So the idea of being able to map the seafloor is even better and more interesting! I love learning about the water column with CTDs and revealing that landscape. 

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

The people I work with always encourage me one way or another.

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

The ocean is an endless opportunity for discoveries and learning. It never fails to amaze me. To be the person to see the wonders of the ocean and its complexities is more than I could ask for.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

I landed on my first job as hydrographer and I loved it since the beginning that being not exposed to a reasonable amount of fieldwork opportunities or vessel assignment did not hinder me to grow as I taught myself. Then I was one of the very fortunate individuals to be accepted to the Nippon Foundation - GEBCO Training Program and studied ocean mapping in one of the bests in this field.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering - Southern Luzon State University
Licensed Civil Engineer (Philippines)
Graduate Certificate in Ocean Mapping (IHO/FIG/ICA Cat A for Hydrographic Surveying) - University of New Hampshire 

What are your hobbies?

I love mountain climbing, gardening, baking and volunteering for kids’ education, indigenous community, and the environment.

How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program?

I applied to the SEIP-Seafloor Mapping Internship and thankfully, I got an offer to join a cruise as a mapper and navigator.

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

Just make sure that you care for science and the planet. Keep in mind that there’s always more than one valid ways to do things. If someone is doing something that you don’t think is possible or if what you are trying to do isn’t working, keep an open mind and never panic. It can be a great learning opportunity waiting for you! And teach yourself at least two right ways of doing things.



Jaya participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: