Check Out Florida Tech’s Intro to Ocean Engineering

One of the coolest and most entertaining Florida Tech departments is the Department of Marine and Environmental Systems in the College of Engineering. If you have not figured out where the department is located, look for the crimson and white colored building between Gleason Performing Arts Center and Evans Library. I spent a good portion of my undergraduate and graduate days taking classes, doing research, writing a thesis, cleaning aquariums, counting plankton, building autonomous underwater vehicles, designing boats and figuring out wave patterns at DMES. Much like a child at Chuck E. Cheese’s, I was entertained for several hours in that building.

I remember the day I walked into my first class. Back in 1999, Dr. Stephen Wood introduced me to Ocean Engineering. Dr. Wood was new to the school and it was obvious that he was as excited to be there as I was. The class was “Introduction to Ocean Engineering.”  He explained that 3-4 professors over the next 16 weeks would teach us a little bit of what ocean engineering was all about.

After 14 weeks, we have gotten a crash course in navigation and chart reading by Dr. Maul, an introduction to how beaches, waves and currents work by Dr. Harris, a basic understanding of ship building by Dr. Zboroski and a brief explanation of marine materials and corrosion by Dr. Swain. It was great! During the last two weeks, we had a final project to do. It involved creating an AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) that could  travel the Southgate Pool in a straight line and go through a hula hoop that was suspended halfway into the water column. My project miserably failed to achieve the goal of traveling through the hula hoop, but it was the coolest thing ever, at least in my opinion.

So to all those general engineers that have not decided on what type of engineering to pursue, if you have the chance to take an elective before you make your decision, check out “Introduction to Ocean Engineering.”

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