Rachel Simon headshot photo

Rachel Simon

Data Engineer
Marine Development Engineer
URI Inner Space Center

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

I'm a Data Engineer onboard, so my work is focused on running the network, the ship's computers and servers, and maintaining/developing OET's custom software. 

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

My initial interest came from running LAN parties in high school. Back before everyone had good Internet access at home, we'd meet up in person to play computer games with each other. Some of these were pretty big - we'd have 30 to 40 people hanging out in a high school cafeteria. 

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

In my professional life, I've had a couple good supervisors/mentors who have been really supportive. As a high school/college student, I was part of two really supportive communities - a high school robotics team that I crashed, and then a college radio station I was part of. Before that, I had some very supportive science and history teachers. 

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

Software is very abstract - you can build anything and all it takes is a keyboard and a computer. You're not limited by needing materials, tools, things like that. It's very open ended and you can take it wherever you want to go. 

How did you get involved with Ocean Exploration Trust? How did you become part of the expedition team?

I started out doing weekend coverage at the Inner Space Center in Rhode Island, keeping the shore component of the live feeds up and running.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

Before working with OET, I worked as a contract engineer maintaining radio stations. I eventually got tired of dealing with emergencies (especially in the winter) and moved over to oceanography. Before that, I had a couple of student jobs working for professors. My first technical job was working as an intern at the RI Nuclear Science Center. 

 What are your degrees and certifications?

I have a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering. 

What are your hobbies?

For hobbies, I like to work on old electronics, participate in my ham radio club, and catch shows and DJ nights in Downtown Providence, RI. 

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

I would say being able to work part time or as a contractor is really helpful. There's a ton of risk working as a part-time employee or a contractor, but it gives you much more exposure to different fields. I started out working one day a week supporting Nautilus (shoreside) and after realizing I really liked the field, I started working on the ship during port calls and sailing on short cruises.


Rachel participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: