One of my favorite Interviews

Diving, Physics, Math & Engineering - Emily Miller - 23 years - A girl's way...

Emily Miller onboard of the Oden to Antarctica, 2006

Emily was one of my favorite young graduates to interview onboard of the Oden, 2006. She is a wonderful person trying to find her place in life by doing many things like studying physics and mathematics, scuba diving, making cloths, repairing equipment, traveling and learning new skills each day including the Spanish language.

Emily is 23 years old and was born in Pennsylvania. She studied in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania and received her Bachelors of Science in physics and applied mathematics in May, 2005. She works as research technician on board of the Oden where she oversees real time data collection for plankton and environmental conditions in seawater.

"I like to write computer programs to make things work better...", Emily.

Studying physics and applied mathematics as a girl is not common. What made you select the course of study?

I like to find out how things work. I believe physics is the basic science to all scientific work. It helps to really understand things in biology and other areas. When an employer sees a degree in physics they know you can think logically and that you can figure things out.

Tell us about your work history with a degree in math/physics.

I started at Oakridge National Laboratory, Tennessee. I did not like it- too much paperwork. Next, was Scripps Institute for Oceanography. I worked on Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV). Currently, I am employed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts. The scientist I work for has a lot of home grown projects. He builds things. I like this. It makes you think and keeps my creativity alive.

Ingela, Kevin and Emily in the science lab at Oden, 12-2006


I like surfing, soccer, studying Spanish, making my own cloths, reading, traveling and scuba diving. At the moment I am learning Spanish.

Spanish is a language one should know! Emily learns! Our Chileans onboard of the Oden Sandra, Veronica and Victor inspired us to learn... Great friends and partners in international research and collaboration.

Why are you not a scientists or study for your Ph.D.? I don’t like to be a scientist. I am more an engineer. Scientists have to narrow down the subject. They need to focus on a small field. I don’t like to be limited to a small area. I think of studying electrical engineering later. My favorite class was electricity and magnetism in college. I like to keep my options open.

Studying physics and mathematics is a bit unusual for a girl. Why did you do it?

I like to run instruments, fix things, do the data collection…I like to understand how stuff works. Biology could not answer my questions. The advanced mechanics and dynamics class was for me, logical mathematical steps that resulted in explanation. Physics is the most basic science and helps to understand many processes.

Emily's own constuction- it worked!!! Much better and more reliable than the super high- tech version before...

How do you learn? Do you depend on a good teacher?

Yes, I had a wonderful professor, but most importantly I learned how to study by myself. The actual class was review time for me. I had to read before class. I depend on a good text book. That is what half of the school is - teaching your self how to learn. Learning your strengths and weaknesses and capitalize on them.

Do you like your current job and what do you do?

My boss is hard to work for but gives me lots of opportunities like instrument development. I am also a certified scientific diver. I worked at the underwater observatory out of Martha’s Vineyard and maintained and built equipment. I have been to Panama three times diving to install an underwater observatory and a fiber optic cable. Now, I am going to Antarctica.

Emily takes things apart like this temperature sensor Kevin usually droppes each hour into the ocean. Emily: ” I am interested what IS INSIDE AND HOW IT WORKS….. Ute ,I like to show it to you as physics teacher you are interested..."

Plans for your future?

You know, I am a very non-committed person. I move all three months. Everything I own fits into my car. My storage is my car in the parking lot, a mobile lifestyle. After this cruise I will go to Guatemala with an exchange program for 10 month to teach English in a middle school and to learn Spanish. Need to tell my mom about it …

*Thank you very much Emily. I will share this with my physics students. We wish you the best of luck for your future. ** *

Ute Kaden

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