Tabor is in a fortunate position to have recently made important relationships with local and national universities and scientific institutes in order to open opportunities for our students to engage in real research, graduate-level coursework, and engineering opportunities within marine science and marine technology.
Last year, Sophie Banas ’19 completed her senior project working with an ocean currents researcher from SMAST (School of Marine Science and Technology at UMASS) analyzing his data sets. Other students participated in summer internships at Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, as well as enjoying the newly offered High School Discovery Course over spring break. As news travels about our students and their capabilities, as well as our facilities along Sippican Harbor, more opportunities are opening up.
This past spring, Tabor’s marine science director, Jay Cassista, initiated a new partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI). WHOI Senior Engineers, Mike Jakuba and Jim Partan are working on a new marine tech device they call the TideRider Shallow Water Profiler. A prototype of the device has been given to Dr. Karl Kistler and three seniors in our Advanced Engineering class, Oscar Hernandez, Cat Barry, and Sam Monaghan, to continue to develop. The instrument will assist researchers with water quality surveys in sensitive areas as well as across broad stretches of the ocean. Because of our assistance, we hope to be able to test and utilize the instrument in our research here in Sippican Harbor, sharing our data with researchers at WHOI.
The student team, supervised by Dr. Kistler, has so far deconstructed the prototype device to understand its electronics and mechanics. Sam shared, “It has been a lot of fun working on the TideRider project as I have been able to work on real problems that engineers face when designing a product. Dividing the workload with my peers has proved challenging, but has helped me build key skills needed for working in teams. I am now able to work effectively on larger projects that require more work.”
Oscar, Cat, and Sam are taking on different parts of the challenge. Cat is working on calibrating the GPS system, setting up the device to store data, as well as overall function. Sam is working on enabling the device to communicate via text message and has also done some modeling with buoyancy calculations so that we can make the TideRider float when it should float and sink when it should sink. And Oscar has worked on a solar charger for the device’s battery and is now programming and wiring the sensors that will collect data such as pH, salinity, and dissolved oxygen. Oscar shared, “Throughout my time working on the TideRider, my coding skills, as well as my problem-solving ability, has improved infinitely. Working on the water sensors helped me realize that not everything is written out and there are other ways to go about my problems in coding. I was also able to work on some skills that I hadn’t already used in the Makerlab before. Without this project, I wouldn’t be the engineer I am today.”