Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?
I am pursuing a B.S. in Marine Transportation and a minor in Oceanography at California Maritime Academy. I will leave college with a Third Mates license from the U.S Coast Guard. The license will allow me to work on all the large vessels you see in ports all around the world. Additionally, I started my own film business in 2013 when I was in high school and have been doing weddings, commercials, event, and other videography and photography since. Starting in March 2021, I’ve worked on a research buoy for the Oceanography Dept, taking lead on the code, sensors, and other design and manufacturing jobs we need to have done before deployment.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
I grew up on my family’s charter yacht on San Francisco Bay and when I was old enough I began working at Chef and First Mate. As a senior in high school, I took, and passed, a 6-pack license course, leading to me getting more interested in the maritime field. For my photo/video artistic side, I thank my grandma. She is an artist who handed me her camera when I was a kid and I haven't stopped taking photos since.
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
I’ve been blessed throughout my schooling to have amazing teachers. The faculty at Cal Maritime are phenomenal and have helped and encouraged me so much, to just be me and that I can in fact go where I want to see my life go. My 6-pack license course teacher who had known me for many years is a big reason I am at California Maritime Academy – he sadly passed away right around when I started at college, but I’ll never forget him. And of course my grandma. She has never stopped encouraging me to create art, supporting me however she can.
What element of your work/research do you think is the most fascinating?
I've worked quite a few jobs and I feel as if they have all led to my current place in life. I have worked for a high-end catering company in Mill Valley CA, a wholesale bakery for restaurants, a different catering company, two different charter yachts, and have my own film business, all roughly concurrently. My current and former jobs have taught me what it is like to work hard and get work done in a team atmosphere, which has helped me everywhere I go.
What other jobs led you to your current career?
I've worked quite a few jobs and I feel as if they have all led to my current place in life. I have worked for a high-end catering company, wholesale bakery for restaurants, a different catering company, charter yacht, and have my own film business, all at the same time. My current and former jobs have taught me what it is like to work hard and get work done in a team atmosphere, which helps anywhere you go.
What are your degrees and certifications?
Currently, a college student working on a B.S. in Marine Transportation, Oceanography Minor and Third Mates license
What are your hobbies?
I love photography and video. I love being in nature. Whether that's on the water, backpacking, or hiking it is always a good time and can be some fun adventures. After college when I have more time I plan on writing more. I love writing – everything from short stories, poems, and novels – so when I can I’d love to finish the few book projects I got going on.
How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program?
I first heard about the Nautilus program quite a few years ago, so when someone at my school sent out an email saying the 2019 applications were open I figured I should apply. The video engineering internship sounded like the perfect mix of the things I love to do in this world – film/photo, art, science – so I just had to apply.
What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?
If you want to become a merchant mariner there are a few things to think about. As a field of work, it isn't the largest and it is a lifestyle decision, as being away at sea for half/a lot of the year is definitely a choice you need to think about. That being said, one can make a good living and have plenty of time to travel and have time off. Think about it, talk to people who have/are doing it, visit a few of the state maritime academies if you can, and decide if it is right for you.
Sophie participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: