Justin Shiffler headshot photo.

Justin Shiffler

Seafloor Mapping Intern
Recent Graduate
University of Portland

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

As a recent college graduate, it's hard for me to say I've begun any work or started a career. I have a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Portland and hope to pursue a career that will have a positive impact on the cost, availability, and environmental impact on electricity and power in Hawai'i.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

My initial interest in electrical engineering begins with a tenth-grade trip to a power station. I had performed well in all aspects of school but hadn't felt a specific drive or passion for a particular subject. Seeing the marvel of engineering that goes into a power plant inspired me to learn and study how power is provided to people. Since then, I've developed a strong affinity for math-heavy subjects which led me to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My siblings have always been my biggest inspiration. As the oldest of six, I always took it upon myself to care for them as best as I can. This drive expanded and developed to all the youth of Hawaii, living close to the Hawaiian proverb - He ali'i ka 'aina, he kauwa ke kanaka. I interpret this as understanding that the land will always belong to the next generation, so the strides and steps I take for this land are going to be for Hawaii's youth, especially my siblings.

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

The most fascinating element of my studies is the sheer simplicity of electricity. It's essentially some electrons running into other electrons, generating something like a water current but on an elemental level. The advancements since then are simply astronomical and to a trained eye can be found in every aspect of our lives.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

Many of my jobs have developed a wide variety of technical and professional skills, but none serve as a career or as something I feel has the impact I strive for. My technical studies led me to work well with data analysis, my position as a shift leader for an ice cream store led me to work well with others, and my position on my capstone team has proven I can be a leader. These jobs all provided the necessary tools and experience that led me to my next experience, as a Seafloor Mapping Intern for OET.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering - University of Portland 2022

What are your hobbies?

I have many hobbies. In no particular order here are some of my passions: listening to and playing music, golfing, fishing, baseball, reading, baking/cooking, and spending time with friends and families. My favorite element of each of these hobbies is the relationships I build with friends and members of the community whenever I engage in these hobbies. It's always my goal to be as inclusive as possible and to continually learn

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

If anything that has to do with electricity sparks your interest, then search and find the relevance electricity has to your passion. Do you love fishing? The equipment used on boats to determine your exact location, speed, and fish are all powered by electricity. Do you love books? Millions of transistors packed into computer chips make it possible to access the internet, the world's largest library. There is so much relevance in electrical engineering to everyday life, you can find it everywhere you look.

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

A friend of mine while interning with OET reached out to me regarding an amazing opportunity as a seafloor mapping intern. Seeing the relevance to my studies and my passion for the ocean, I knew immediately this was something I wanted to explore.  After that experience, I knew I wanted to pursue this work and could bring my academic background in engineering to help support the team.


Justin participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: