IN MEREDITH’S OWN WORDS
Recent grad Meredith Meyers’ summer internship on the research vessel Okeanos Explorer affirmed the life’s direction she chose as a 5-year-old playing with Inky, a pygmy sperm whale being rehabilitated at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
“My dad used to take me with him when he volunteered with the Marine Animal Rescue Program at the aquarium,” says Meyers, who earned a degree in Biology in May. “I still remember sitting there playing with Inky and thinking ‘Yep, this is what I’m going to do with my life.’”
With the help of her faculty mentors, the Manchester, Md., native navigated a course to a career that involves exploring the sea. Last summer she collaborated with Biology professor Molly Jacobs researching the swimming behavior of baby lobsters at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Her resulting paper won McDaniel’s top writing award, the Ridington Phi Beta Kappa Writing Award.
All that experience helped her land a coveted spot aboard the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s 224-foot long converted U.S. Navy ship. As they traveled along the East Coast between Virginia and Rhode Island, she worked and learned alongside a team of engineers, geologists and other scientists. Meyers spent her daily shifts in a scientific control room that looks like a miniature version of NASA’s mission control in Houston. She quickly learned how to monitor data collected through multibeam sonar mapping technology.
“I’m a big-picture person. I need to know that my work is impacting the big world,” says Meyers, who is currently considering graduate school programs. “Mapping the ocean floor on board the Okeanos left no question about that.”
(Photos courtesy of NOAA.)