Mapping the Ocean at Woods Hole

November 30, 2017

Naklicki, BELM ’19

Naklicki, BELM ’19

Victor Naklicki’s interest in robotics began when a guest speaker showed his high school class a video of the remotely operated vehicle Jason—designed and built by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) on Cape Cod—collecting underwater samples.

The experience also first spurred Naklicki’s interest in WHOI. During the summer after his senior year of high school, he had the opportunity to work at WHOI alongside the lab’s full-time engineers.

Naklicki, BELM ’19, returned to the seaside location druing the past two summers to take on an expanding portfolio of responsibilities. Last summer, he prepared the organization’s robotic instruments for research cruises. Having earned a cache of trust during his previous posts with WHOI, this past summer was the first where Naklicki had the opportunity to work independently, instead of under the guidance of one of the organization’s senior engineers.

Now a junior at Wentworth, Naklicki recently returned to Cape Cod to build, maintain, and update robots for WHOI. As a co-op in the National Deep Submergence facility this past semester, Naklicki spent his time working with underwater robots. His department housed five different vehicles that required regular service, as well as a need for creating new ones. The deep-sea exploration vehicles ranged from the three-person Alvin to the remote-controlled Jason/Medea and autonomous Sentry.

“Each vehicle poses a different set of challenges and obstacles, and has different objectives,” says Naklicki. “It’s a new experience each time you work with them, so it never really gets old.”

On his longtime commitment with WHOI, Naklicki says, “Working on underwater robots is what I would like to do after college. It made sense to try to get my foot in the door, and make an effort to establish myself before [graduation].”

Naklicki ultimately hopes to help map the bottom of the ocean, in addition to designing a vehicle that can reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench (the deepest part of the world’s oceans).

The certainty that Naklicki has regarding his career choice, is for him, the greatest benefit of cooperative learning.

“Because I have been able to be in the industry and work,” he says, “I’m able to say, ‘Yeah, this is absolutely the right choice for me.’”

--Stephen Kim

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