September 2023 OES Beacon

Where My Research Has Taken Me

Jared McFadden, OCEANS 2023 Limerick SPC Second Prize winner   

Figure 1. Enjoying the views at the Cliffs of Moher

I originally had no plans of attending the OCEANS 2023 Limerick Conference – in fact I had never even heard of it until my research advisor suggested I apply to a conference. After doing some research on upcoming conferences, I applied to compete in the Student Poster Competition at OCEANS 2023 Limerick and was lucky enough to be accepted. It turned out to be the most beneficial experience throughout my college career for academic and professional development and satisfying the desire for international travel.

As this was the first conference I had ever attended, I had no idea what to expect. I had always thought conferences were a very formal, business only type of setting but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was just the opposite. Between the events hosted by OCEANS and the overall layout and schedule of the conference, it allowed casual conversation to flow freely with brainstorming about research and great connections to be made (especially with getting those LinkedIn connection numbers up). I was able to not only present my research, but also receive feedback from industry professionals coming from all over the world. One interaction gave me the opportunity to share my research with an industry leading company working on a mooring line project for an ocean current turbine. Brainstorming with another fellow conference attendee pushed me to dive deeper into the impacts of mooring line strumming on marine life echolocation.

Getting accepted to compete in the Student Poster Competition was an added bonus and an opportunity I never thought I would have. After being stuck in my own bubble of research for the past year, I really enjoyed seeing the research paths that other students had taken, especially those with topics I was unfamiliar with. The competition made us all have a friendly yet competitive nature throughout the week. Manning our posters every day felt like we were all just hanging out, having some good laughs, but there to compete. By the end of the week, we were exploring Limerick together and felt as though a new group of friends was formed. I know these are connections that will last a lifetime.

Aside from the business part of my trip to Ireland, the conference gave me a good reason to make a vacation out of the experience. With the conference only being 4 days, I extended the trip to 8 days with a range of adventures before the conference. The fun started in Dublin, where I spent a day there before travelling to Galway for a day and finishing in Limerick. Along the way, I saw the rolling hills and beautiful green landscape of Ireland, stood on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher (they should be the 8th wonder of the world in my opinion), and stopped by the Caherconnell Stone Fort and Sheepdog Farm. Heading across the pond to Europe was not on

my to-do list this year, but thanks to the OCEANS Conference I was able to experience the beauty of Ireland.

None of this would have been possible without the support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society (OES), so I would like to formally thank them for allowing me this opportunity.