Mikayla Drost headshot

Mikayla Drost

Seafloor Mapping Intern
College of Charleston

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

My primary research focus is on deep-sea coral habitats. Using a combination of remote and in situ data, things like bathymetry, backscatter, slope, and HD dive footage, I characterize locations where certain cold-water corals are found. From these characterizations, I use the software in an attempt to predict additional locations these corals may be found.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I started college as a Marine Biology major and became interested in seafloor mapping when I took a Marine Geology course. I declared a second major (in Geology) and took foundational courses that allowed me to become a member of the Benthic Acoustic Mapping and Surveying research group. I found the research to be a fascinating combination of my fields of study and one that I would be able to contribute to, even as an undergraduate student.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My research adviser, who taught that monumental marine geology course, has always inspired me and pushed me to be the best student, and scientist, I can be. I don't know what I would be doing without her advice, expertise, and high expectations!

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

We are always learning something new about the seafloor! It's incredible to me that we can be the first to discover something on our planet, even today.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

As a student, I don't have a career yet! My passion for science and education has led me to become a Teacher's Assistant for both introductory geology labs and upper-level courses and to work as an on-campus tutor.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Geology and Marine Biology - College of Charleston 2020

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy hiking and like to cross-stitch!

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

I applied for SEIP after learning about the program from a former OET intern at the AGU Fall Meeting! A few of my classmates have previously sailed on the Nautilus and spoke highly of the experience.

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

Be curious and don't be afraid to ask people questions! If you want to have a job like someone's, ask them how they got to where they are and what advice they can give you.