Special and Interdisciplinary Engineering Fields

Amy Kukulya's Dream Job

Amy helps design underwater robots that can search for shipwrecks and map the ocean floor.

Where she works
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

What she does
Amy equips underwater robots (called AUVs—autonomous underwater vehicles) so that cameras and sound detectors can be attached. The robots can then take pictures and gather information about the ocean. She is also developing an underwater garage where the robots can park for long periods of time, recharge, and download data.

Why her job makes a difference
“The technological advances that are taking place in my lab will not only help us understand the mysteries of our oceans but will allow us to understand our planet better. These underwater vehicles are expanding our knowledge of hot topics like global warming and climate change.” 

What got her interested
Amy always loved the ocean, and she thought she would become a marine biologist. While working at Woods Hole, Amy learned that she could combine biology and engineering, thereby creating the perfect job for herself. “I realized engineering offers me more opportunities than biology does.”

Important influences
“My grandparents exposed me to fishing, clamming, crabbing, boating, and a life on the water. Through these experiences, I learned to be curious and self-sufficient.”

Great travel opportunities
Amy’s work has taken her to Hawaii and Antarctica.

Advice
“Believe in yourself and realize you are capable of doing anything and everything that you put your mind and spirit into. Also, have fun along the way!”

Education
B.S. in environmental policy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. She received her engineering training at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. 

Hobbies
Surfing, SCUBA diving, fishing, shucking oysters, and hunting lobsters. Amy loves skiing, winter camping, and traveling, too.

Watch her video!
Amy has a video on the Web site of the PBS TV show Design Squad.

  • Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineer
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  • Special fields and Interdisciplinary Engineer