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PI Anna PM Michel 

      Associate Scientist without Tenure

Anna Michel is an Associate Scientist in the Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering.  Her research focuses on the development of new in situ sensors and sensing platforms for advancing our understanding of ocean chemistry.  Michel primarily utilizes laser spectroscopy for in situ analysis of gases, such as methane, in locations ranging from deep-sea hydrothermal vents to methane seeps. Committed to educating the next generation of ocean engineers,  Michel teaches in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program and runs a 4 day summer program for middle school girls, GOES: Girls in Ocean Engineering and Science. Michel received BS degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biology and an MS in Ocean Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  She has a PhD in Mechanical and Oceanographic Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program.  Michel completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University as the MIRTHE Center Research and Teaching Fellow. Michel was a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award, the Arons Award, and a National Academies Gulf Research Fellowship.


Beckett Colson

Joint Program Student – MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

2020-2021 MIT Martins Fellowship

Beckett is from Massachusetts and received his S.B. in Mechanical and Ocean Engineering from MIT in 2016. While at MIT, Beckett engaged in many design projects, including: a bio-inspired robotic fish, an aluminum-gallium fuel based underwater power pack, and a buoyancy engine-driven underwater glider. Beckett enjoys interdisciplinary complex system design and learning new skills. His current interests include: ocean engineering, low cost instrument design, precision engineering, fluid dynamics, and systems design. In his current position, Beckett is developing a deep sea total dissolved inorganic carbon instrument for in situ measurements of the ocean carbon system. Laser spectroscopy is used to make precision measurements of CO2extracted from acidified seawater via a deep sea membrane inlet. Beckett is also developing automated instrumentation for detecting microplastics in waterways. Beckett is the recipient of a Link Fellowship for Ocean Engineering and Instrumentation and an MIT Martins Fellowship.


Victoria Preston

Joint Program Student – MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Victoria is originally from Maryland and received her B.S. in Robotics Engineering from Olin College (Needham, MA) in 2016 and S.M. from MIT in 2019. While at Olin, she worked on “SnotBot” — a drone to track and non-invasively collect samples from whales. That project kick-started the pursuit of a career in environmental robotics, and today she’s particularly keen on thinking about ways in which robotic technologies, autonomy, and artificial intelligence can be practically applied towards in-situ adaptive sampling regimes. Her Master’s work investigated novel ways for mobile platforms to seek and densely sample scientifically relevant areas in a priori unknown environments. Victoria’s current research lies at the intersection of numerical modeling and simulation, machine learning, and embedded intelligence as she develops novel ways of representing spatiotemporal phenomena for robotic systems to subsequently exploit for sample collection (in the name of science). When not at a computer, she can be found deploying the ChemYak in rivers near and far, or flying drones over volcanic fumarole sites. Victoria was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to perform independent research with the Centre for Biorobotics at Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia prior to joining CSL. Victoria is a 2017 NDSEG Fellow and is co-advised by Professor Nicholas Roy at MIT.


Alexandra Morrison

Research Assistant II

Alexandra is originally from Fairfield, CT and received her B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Environmental Studies from Haverford College in 2018.  While at Haverford, Alexandra’s course work emphasized organic chemistry and her research centered on oil chemistry in the Gulf of Mexico.  In 2017, she was a Summer Guest Student at WHOI where she used X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) to distinguish between oil types.  Her undergraduate research culminated in a thesis titled “Rapid Identification and Characterization of Oil Residues in the Coastal Marine Environment.”  In her current position, Alexandra is characterizing plastics using XRF, laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), and reflectance near infrared spectroscopy (NIR). She also continues her work with oil, working with samples from the Valdez oil spill to analyze metal content and continue the use of XRF to distinguish oil source.


Morgan Blevins

Joint Program Student – MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Morgan is from Bainbridge Island, WA and received her B.S. in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College in 2019. She is interested in optical sensing techniques and creating in-situ sensing instruments for the ocean and arctic with the hope to help us get to know our world’s climate and chemical cycling better. Currently, Morgan is working on developing a nanophotonic dissolved methane sensor chip that can be implemented as a low cost, miniaturized, and portable instrument. Beyond the ocean and artic, Morgan is very excited about “alien oceans” on moons like Europa and Enceladus. She is also excited about running and exploring the Northeast. Morgan is a Draper fellow and is collaborating with Draper labs on microplastic sensing.


Stacey Strong

NSF RET Teacher Fellow

Stacey grew up in Weymouth MA, and began an engineering degree in college.  She changed majors and earned her BA in Public Policy from Stanford University and an M. Ed. in Math Education from Harvard Graduate School.  Although she left engineering, she has never lost her passion for the field, strongly promoting the benefits of an engineering degree to her students.  She’s taught in Boston, NYC, Puerto Rico, Sturgis Charter School, and now in Falmouth. Currently, Stacey is a math instructional coach for elementary teachers in the Falmouth Public Schools, and a member of the FPS/Woods Hole Partnership committee.  For the past three years, Stacey has been a Research Experience for Teachers Fellow in the CSL lab where she develops new, in-depth curriculums in marine science for use in the classroom.  With Michel, she co-leads the Girls in Ocean Engineering and Science (GOES) program — a one-week summer institute that exposes a diverse group of 6th grade girls to role models in the field, hands-on engineering projects, and local excursions. In 2019, Stacey coordinated ship time on the R/V Thomas G Thompson where she and Ari Mendez, another RET fellow, led two recently graduated high school students as a part of the Underrepresented Populations (UP) and GOES programs on an eight day research cruise along the continental shelf.



Jessica Horowitz

MIT UROP, MIT Class of 2021