Wilmelie Cruz-Marrero: Explorer-in-Training Profile

Meet Explorer-in-Training Wilmelie Cruz-Marrero, who served as part of the mapping team during the 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas expedition. Read the full text of Wilmelie's interview below to learn more about her experiences on the ship.


About Wilmelie's Role

What were your duties as an Explorer-in-Training?

Onboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, I was a part of the mapping team, using multibeam sonar bathymetry data as it was collected and processing the data to show detailed maps of the seafloor.


Which school are you attending?

I am currently enrolled in University of Maryland Eastern Shore Ph.D. program in Marine Esturine Environmental Sciences.


Where was your work experience located? If you were working at sea, what were your impressions of living and working on a ship?

I was onboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer during Leg 2 of the Marianas expedition (Saipan, Guam). I enjoyed life at sea, and this experience reinforced that this is I want to do in the future. Also, you get to spent time with your peers and get to know people very well, and you get to see amazing sunsets all the time!


What sparked your initial interest in ocean sciences?

I grew up in a place surrounded by the ocean. During my childhood, I got to see changes in the environment, and I knew that in order to understand those changes, I had to learn more. So that is how I ended up studying marine biology at the University of Puerto Rico, to understand Puerto Rico’s dynamics.


What was the most personally rewarding part of your experience?

The Okeanos Explorer expedition is invaluable to me. Being part of this enormous expedition is a humbling experience, learning from your peers at the boat and experiencing life at sea with experts on mapping. I have been privileged to meet new people and learn their culture. This is a humbling, great experience that I will cherish for my whole life!


How do you see this experience fitting in with your future career plans?

Our work on the Okeanos Explorer is turning the unknown into new discoveries and new ways to understand the dynamics of Earth’s ocean. Being part of this mission increased my understanding of technology that I will apply to my own Ph.D. research and allowed me to be part of a multidisciplinary expedition, strengthen my networking. It is just reinforcement that I will continue doing this in the future.


For More Information

Related Ocean Explorer Content

2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas


Print and Web Resources

NOAA Education Resources
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