Naming every participant in a telepresence-enabled expedition, even the shakedowns, would result in a very long list! So, below you’ll find information about the members of the team physically aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer during the 2021 ROV Shakedown.
And of course, none of this work would be possible without the dedicated NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps and civilians who operate NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as part of NOAA's fleet managed by NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation.
Expedition Coordinator, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Kasey Cantwell is the operations chief for the Expeditions and Exploration Division of NOAA Ocean Exploration. Kasey has a master’s degree in marine affairs and policy and marine geology and geophysics and a bachelor’s degree in marine science and biology, both from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Kasey joined NOAA Ocean Exploration in 2012 and is responsible for overseeing the office’s operational portfolio, including telepresence-enabled expeditions conducted aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. In her previous role as an expedition coordinator for remotely operated vehicle expeditions, she coordinated over a dozen expeditions and projects, including multidisciplinary expeditions to the Atlantic submarine canyons, the Mariana region, Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, Glacier Bay National Park, and offshore the southeastern United States. Beyond deep-sea exploration, Kasey’s background includes imagery-based mapping of coral reefs throughout the Caribbean, long-term ecosystem monitoring, and evaluating resource management strategies to improve efficiency and data quality.
Expedition Coordinator in Training, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Matt Dornback is learning the craft of expedition coordination during the 2021 Technology Demonstration. He has worked for NOAA since 2011, applying his background in marine science and data science on projects related to deep-sea coral, harmful algal blooms, and oceanography. Matt sailed on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as a sample data manager in 2015, 2016, and 2017. He is always interested in adapting new technologies to aid in ocean exploration and is currently working on projects for cloud-based annotation of the biology and geology seen during dives and to harness artificial intelligence for work at sea. He holds a master’s degree in biological oceanography from the University of Southern Mississippi and a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Mapping Lead, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Shannon Hoy is a mapping lead with NOAA Ocean Exploration. She has always had a love of the ocean and pursued a degree in marine biology from the College of Charleston, where she was first introduced to seafloor mapping in 2009. During her undergraduate career, she participated in four seafloor mapping expeditions, allowing her to increase her seafloor mapping knowledge and skills, make valuable connections, and travel to exotic places such as Indonesia and Antarctica. Two of these expeditions were actually aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2010! After completing her undergraduate degree, Shannon spent the next few years gaining as much multidisciplinary ocean experience as possible. She worked for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Submarine Geohazards Group in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, as well as the University of Bristol’s Paleoceanography group in the United Kingdom. She continued to map throughout these years and began specializing in habitat mapping using high-resolution techniques (such as remotely operated vehicle-mounted multibeam sonar), seamlessly combining her three disciplines: marine biology, geology, and seafloor mapping. In 2015, Shannon began pursuing her master’s degree in ocean mapping at the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping to increase her theoretical acoustic and geodetic background. Toward the end of her graduate degree, she jumped at the opportunity to join NOAA Ocean Exploration as a mapping lead, as being a NOAA Ocean Exploration explorer-in-training nearly a decade earlier had greatly shaped her career and allowed her to pursue her passion for ocean exploration.
Software/Data Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Fernando Aragon graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. During his studies, he had experience in several fields including conceptual design, aerospace research, mechanical design, robotics and software development. From these activities he was able to intern for NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, present research at a national conference, and even co-author a technical paper in the Journal of the Astronautical Sciences. His most recent position was at the Field Robotics Laboratory (FRL), where he helped support operations, testing, and software development for two unmanned surface vehicles. From his time in FRL, he discovered a true passion for development and design of robotic systems. Originally from Colombia, Fernando enjoys outdoor activities and currently resides in State College, Pennsylvania.
Mapping Watch Lead, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
Neah Baechler is a contract hydrographer and marine geologist specializing in deep-sea exploration mapping. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in geology from the College of Charleston in 2015, NOAA Ocean Exploration’s Explorer-In-Training Program brought Neah aboard as an intern, and she’s been mapping aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer ever since. Now the owner and operator of Abyss Hydrographic Mapping, Neah works with a variety of science-focused exploration vessels worldwide to grow the collective understanding of oceanographic processes and expand existing bathymetric maps. Discovery-driven mapping like that done aboard Okeanos Explorer is not only Neah’s bread and butter, it’s her reason for getting up in the morning (those sunsets over the open ocean don’t hurt either). She’s passionate about the environment and believes that through studying the ocean, we can broaden and deepen our understanding of the planet as a whole. Supporting NOAA Ocean Exploration’s mission, particularly on remotely operated vehicle (ROV) expeditions when a bathymetric map collected and processed overnight can lead to incredible discoveries during an ROV dive the next day, is truly exhilarating for Neah. When she’s not at sea, Neah is sipping tea and working on various art projects in her Portland, Oregon, home.
Video Producer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Caitlin Bailey became a member of the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration video team and started sailing aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2016. She is a “bi-polar” explorer, having been to both the Arctic and Antarctica, as well as a National Geographic Explorer. Caitlin is passionate about wildlife and sharing the deep sea and polar regions with a wide variety of audiences. She has a Master of Fine Arts in science and natural history filmmaking from Montana State University and a Bachelor of Science in animal biology from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. When not at sea, Caitlin resides in San Antonio, Texas, where she enjoys SCUBA diving, hiking, and entertaining her labradoodle, Camie.
Electronic Systems Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Roland Brian brings 29 years of experience and a keen eye for precision high-definition video to the program as a video/satellite and telepresence engineer. Roland began his career in the U.S. Air Force where he worked as a satellite communications engineering technician with visions of working on the U.S. Space Station. He traded in that quest for one of deep-ocean exploration and sharing beautiful imagery with the world. He has worked with NOAA Ocean Exploration since 2009 and has been engaged in every telepresence-enabled remotely operated vehicle (ROV) expedition. He has also provided services for other projects using NOAA Ocean Exploration’s mobile telepresence system, including the 2012 Ring of Fire Expedition. His duties aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer include operation and maintenance of the ship's telepresence and video systems, including on ROVs Deep Discoverer and Seirios. Again, Roland’s experience embodies the breadth and depth of knowledge NOAA Ocean Exploration encourages. When not fine-tuning the video and telepresence systems or training and mentoring new team members, he's actively involved in the editing process of our ever-expanding ocean exploration video library. While not at sea, Roland enjoys life with his wife and family in sunny Sarasota, Florida.
Video Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Brian Doros is a television broadcast engineer who was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. Active in sports throughout high school, Brian moved to Southern California and spent the next few years traveling the world surfing and then exploring his technical interests at college in San Diego, California. After changing his course of study to electronics, he focused on broadcast electronics and technical maintenance in broadcasting. His career path first led him to employment at IBM/MCA Video Laser Disc Company in Costa Mesa, California, doing research and development in the early days of optical laser disc, then to Los Angeles, where he specialized in film for television post-production. The next several years were spent working in the Hollywood post-production industry at Paramount Pictures, MGM/Lorimar Telepictures, 20th Century Fox, NFL Films, and Sony Broadcast Company North America, contributing to his 25 years of experience in television post-production and broadcast systems integration. After Hollywood, Brian worked in the field, traveling and upgrading network television facilities to digital broadcasting capabilities during the analog to digital conversion. He now has moved on to less broadcast traditional applications of his background working in his current position.
Network Systems Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in information technology and a master’s in computer information systems from Tarleton State University, where he focused on network security solutions. Mark has over 28 years of experience designing, testing, and supporting numerous variations of voice/data wired/wireless telecommunications networking solutions and security solutions, services, and products. During his career at MCI/Verizon, he held several engineering, research and development, and management positions and was with the company a combined total of over 23 years. During this time, he worked on key network projects and initiatives, including federal security solutions, access solutions, security services, virtualization, and many other large network solutions. In addition, he received four patents for networking and security solutions. Mark is married to his wife of 32 years, Laura, and has three kids and five grandkids. Some of Mark's hobbies and interests include car, truck, and boat repair/restoration; hiking, biking; running; camping; hunting; fishing; boating; amateur radio; storm chasing; home automation/security systems; fitness instruction; and scuba diving.
Remotely Operated Vehicle Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Anya Jensen received a Bachelor of Science in robotics engineering from Olin College. In the past, she has worked on autonomous vehicles and packaging automation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she spent time working on an off-the-grid power system while living in a tent in the Appalachian Mountains. She also lived in Mexico, where she studied endemic endangered animals. Anya is currently living in Rhode Island where she spends her free time photographing wildlife, backpacking, and surfing.
Mechanical Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Sean Kennison first joined the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration in 2014 while earning his undergraduate degree at the Pennsylvania State University. He sailed on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as part of the engineering team and assisted with various design projects throughout his senior year. Upon graduating at the top of his class with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in engineering mechanics, he joined the team full time. Sean regularly maintains the vehicles and continually works on improvements to keep them up-to-date with technological advances. He has gained invaluable experience and knowledge through the seasons, onshore and offshore, that has turned him into a versatile engineer. Initially starting as a passionate navigator, Sean has grown to become a skilled pilot and is a proven lead for the remotely operated vehicle expedition team.
Electrical Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Jeff Laning holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Vermont. He started his career as an intern with Greensea Systems, Inc., where he worked on the design, development, and integration of components and software associated with remotely operated vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicle systems. Jeff came to the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration with a desire to learn new and complex electrical systems. He was a key member of the team that built remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer and has become a skilled pilot, co-pilot, and navigator. Jeff currently resides in Vermont.
Mechanical Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Andy Lister graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in ocean engineering. He went on to study at Embry-Riddle, focusing on artificial intelligence systems and obtaining a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. After school, he worked in the oilfield before starting his own business in 2014. He has currently joined the team as a mechanical engineer with additional interests in the data management side. He enjoys coding, electronics, and working aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to bring the public to unexplored places across the globe.
Ocean/Mechanical Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Karl McLetchie is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ocean and mechanical engineering. After graduating, he worked as an engineer on the development of autonomous underwater vehicles and as a naval architect on the design of high-speed aluminum vessels. After a brief, two-year stint of delivering sailboats around the Caribbean, he started his own contracting company, SeaKnowledge, in 2008. Through SeaKnowledge, Karl works on the mechanical design and operation of underwater vehicles. Karl has worked on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer for eleven seasons, in all positions on the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) team from winch operator to ROV team lead. When not on assignment, Karl resides in Pemaquid, Maine.
Mechanical Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Jon Mefford holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Hawai‘i. He began his career working as a software test engineer on the Space Shuttle program for several years before moving to Hawai‘i to pursue his master's degree. During his time as a graduate student, he participated in a number of research expeditions aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as a member of the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) team. This experience was invaluable to him as he worked on his degree, which focused on the design, development, and implementation of control systems for marine robotics. Since that time, Jon has spent more than eight years working as a test and integration engineer on the Orion Space Program, occasionally returning to support expeditions with the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration. He remains passionate about both space and deep-sea exploration and appreciates the many parallels that can be drawn between them. Jon currently resides in Denver, Colorado.
Systems/Robotics Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Bobby Mohr is a systems/robotics engineer specializing in autonomous and remotely operated underwater vehicles. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and graduated cum laude from Davidson College in 2009. Bobby started his career as an engineering technician with Greensea Systems where he was responsible for the design, development, and testing of autonomous underwater vehicle control systems. Bobby realized that he would enjoy the design-build process more if he was able to also pursue the challenges of making vehicles work successfully at sea. After serving on several projects at Greensea, where he specialized in electrical and software systems support, Bobby joined the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE) as an electrical systems engineer. During his time at Greensea and now with GFOE, he has been one of the key electrical engineers on the development of the 6,000-meter-rated remotely operated vehicle system of Deep Discoverer and Seirios.
Ocean/Mechanical Engineer, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Lars Murphy holds a bachelor’s degree in ocean engineering and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Rhode Island. Growing up on the coast of Maine, he developed a constant pull toward the unknown, the unexplored, and chaotic environments and acquired a drive to bring meaning, understanding, and order to these areas. Lars has a professional background working with autonomous underwater vehicles and other subsea robotics systems both internationally and nationally and now supports remotely operated vehicles Deep Discoverer and Seirios as an ocean/mechanical engineer.
Systems Administrator, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration
Chris Wright holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Mary Washington and a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College. After graduation, he worked as a network and systems administrator and engineer in the hospitality industry in the Northeast and Mountain West for more than 15 years. Recently relocating back to the East Coast, Chris joined the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE) data team in early 2019. In 2019, he completed his first expedition aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. He is extremely excited about continuing the journey to explore the ocean around the world. When he isn't sailing on Okeanos Explorer, he’s busy working in GFOE’s Quonset, Rhode Island, office, planning, designing, and implementing data solutions to help refine and mature its base of operations for ocean exploration. Chris and his family currently reside in Newport, Rhode Island.