University of Delaware
Eric Yoder, a Delaware Tech graduate who plans to continue his studies at UD, is working with Jonathan Sharp in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. Here he analyzes water properties data on a computer spreadsheet.

Space and sea

Delaware Tech grads intern at UD through Space Grant program


10:46 a.m., Aug. 15, 2012--Three 2012 graduates of the electronics and engineering technologies departments at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown are spending the summer at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) working on projects funded through grants from the Delaware Space Grant Consortium.

The program, established in 1991, is funded by NASA in order to train students and researchers in the state of Delaware in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and geography.

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Paul Spencer, who graduated in the spring with an associate degree in mechanical design engineering technology, and Tyler Davidson, who graduated with an associate degree in electronics and computer engineering technology, are working with CEOE’s George Luther, Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor, to design a pumping and valve control system for deployment at 5,000 meters using the Jason deep sea submersible to collect water samples from a thermal vent.

Doug Hicks and Brent Mitchell, department chairs for engineering technology and electronics engineering technology at Delaware Tech in Georgetown, are also advising the students as they conduct their work.

“Paul and Tyler have had a wonderful opportunity to apply the design knowledge they developed through their studies at Delaware Tech to an exciting real world problem,” said Hicks.  “Although simple to do on land, collecting water samples by a remote control 5,000 meters under the sea presents quite a challenge. They have done a great job of coming up with a practical solution to a very difficult problem.”

Eric Yoder, an engineering and technology graduate, is working with CEOE’s Jonathan Sharp, professor of oceanography, to expand the use of a water sampling system deployed on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. 

Sharp and Yoder periodically go on board the Twin Capes ferry to check equipment, take equipment off the ferry to calibrate in the laboratory, and take discrete samples for further laboratory analysis. Hicks is also advising Yoder at Delaware Tech throughout the summer. 

“Eric has assisted in accessing and compiling the data from the ferry, as well as gathering routine monitoring data from our research vessel,” said Sharp. “In both cases, very large data streams are potentially available, but not really usable without a systematic method of acquisition. Eric has been resourceful and hard working in helping set up these systems. He has great enthusiasm and curiosity, and it has been a delight to work with him this summer.”

All three graduates will continue their education to pursue bachelor’s degrees in the fall. Spencer and Davidson will attend Old Dominion University, where Spencer will major in mechanical engineering, and Davidson will pursue a degree in electrical engineering technology. Yoder will attend UD, majoring in civil engineering.

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