Jessica Sandoval
On-deck maintenance of ROVs Author: Erin Ranney
2022

Jessica Sandoval

TM’2o – Oceanographer

Engineering new paths forward

meet jessica

Known as Dr. ROV, Jessica Sandoval is an avid ocean explorer, engineer and scientist. As a pilot of remotely operated vehicles (ROV), she pushes to advance technology in the fields of bio-inspired robotics and deep-sea exploration by designing new adhesives and grippers for use in subsea manipulations. Jessica finds adventure in every aspect of her work. Inspired by her adventures, she writes poetry books for children to inspire the curiosity of the next generation of explorers. She has an undergraduate degree from MIT, a masters degree and PhD from the University of California, San Diego, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard.

Engineering new paths forward
Nominated by: Dr. Tim Radke MN'13
Class of 2022 Location USA
Ignacio at Summit Station on the 2016 Greenland Ice Summit Expedition, 2016
Ignacio at Summit Station on the 2016 Greenland Ice Summit Expedition, 2016 Author: Emil Petruncio

As an ROV pilot, engineer, and scientist, I strive to push boundaries and ultimately to transform the face of exploration. Working in the heavily male-dominated field of ROV piloting, I became one of a small handful of lead female pilots. With the support of the Ocean Exploration Trust, I have grown as a leader at sea. I have taken on additional roles on the ship, including working as a 15-ton certified crane operator during deck operations for launch and recovery of the vehicles.

“As a storyteller and poet, I strive to share the experiences and lessons from my adventures to spark the interest of the reader in the deep sea, and in science and exploration in general.”

- Jessica Sandoval
Repairing electronics for ROV Argus in the field
Repairing electronics for ROV Argus in the field Author: Marley Parker

As a researcher and engineer, I also work in other male-dominated fields between the intersection of robotics and materials engineering. Through my experiences, it became clear to me that representation and advocacy is crucial to broadening these fields to be more inclusive. I strive to encourage the participation of young women to join these fields. I frequently give guest lectures and presentations to young students and help to proctor workshops to encourage young women in STEM fields. I hope to lead by example and show that a Latina woman can push past barriers of representation and change the notion of what it means to be an explorer. As a storyteller and poet, I strive to share the experiences and lessons from my adventures to spark the interest of the reader in the deep sea, and in science and exploration in general.

I hope that in the future, individuals from all walks of life and disciplines find interest in our oceans. Such awareness would foster a sense of collective care and community with regards to our oceans and, ideally, urgency for its conservation.

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