Ersen'S Joseph '22: Intertwining mechanical engineering & oceanography

Ersen'S discusses working on research at SMAST, interning with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, & coiling his mechanical engineering background with marine science as part of his career trajectory.

ErsenS Joseph
Ersen’S is concurrently completing UMassD's accelerated mechanical engineering program, and will earn his master's degree in 2023.

“I chose to attend UMass Dartmouth because of its mechanical engineering program,” says Ersen’S Joseph, who earns his BS degree next month. “I always knew that I wanted to be a mechanical engineer; I am just following my dreams.”

Now that Ersen’S undergraduate studies have almost concluded, he has had time to reflect on his academic journey. And he says it's been exactly what he expected and much more. “Participating in research exposed me to opportunities beyond my area of study, and I’ve been shown it is a versatile field for a career.”

During the spring ‘22 semester, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) offered internships to undergraduate students at UMassD. Ersen’S is one of four selected UMassD students accepted for this internship as well as a guess student. “During the program, I spent a few weeks at WHOI where I took classes in the morning on oceanographic related topics and marine engineering and participated in different practice activities related to what I am working on for my research project.”

This semester, he is continuing his relationship with WHOI by working alongside faculty members to conduct remote sensing work using Python to understand the dynamics in the Bay of Bengal (India) and other regions. “Since my junior year, I have had the opportunity to conduct research with Dr. Amit Tandon from the Mechanical Engineering department and Siddhant Kerhalkar, a PhD student at UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) as my mentors. During my research experiment, I developed an ocean particle tracking numerical model using MATLAB, a model that uses ocean currents measured from satellite altimetry as input to follow particles in the ocean, based on the forward Euler method integrations.” 

ErsenS Joseph with capstone teammates
Ersen'S conducting research in the lab with his mechanical engineering capstone project teammates.

Ersen’S is also working on using cloud computing tools to obtain high-resolution satellite imagery of sea surface temperature, sea surface salinity, and chlorophyll. “I am working on detecting regions of high near-surface variations in such variables, called ocean fronts. These ocean fronts are important for ocean dynamics as well as ecosystem,” he explains. 

He also had the opportunity to present his research at the Intercampus Marine Science Research Symposium, which took place at SMAST this past March, and presented a poster at the Sigma Xi Research Exhibit as well as the Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Conference earlier this month. What impact have the research-related opportunities at SMAST, UMassD, and WHOI had on Ersen’s career outlook?

“My goal is to work in the field of marine engineering. Conducting research helped me realize that oceanography is a vast and exciting field. Understanding some of the challenges that our world faces as related to the ocean interested me as a future engineer to apply my knowledge and bring my contribution. Furthermore, attending UMassD gave me a better understanding of how I can apply engineering in everyday life.”

As for advice for incoming students, Ersen’S says, “I would encourage students to use all the resources the university offers to help guide academic success.” He also suggests participating in a research program. “It’s a great way to learn outside of the classroom and gain practical experience.”


Photographer: Karl Dominey

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