Students & Young Professionals

OES Awards Student Scholarships

Personal statement by scholarship recipient, Xiao Liu

Liu is currently a student at Dalhousie University pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering. His current research focuses on underwater acoustic communication with a focus towards the synchronizations for acoustic receivers in high mobility underwater acoustic channels. He has recently completed his first conference publication, ‘Acoustic Doppler Compensation using Feedforward Retiming for Underwater Coherent Transmission’, which was presented at 2015 OCEANS in Washington DC. In his personal statement, Liu shared his passion for the ocean and what lead him to pursuing ocean engineering.
“When I was in high school, my family moved from a mountain city to a Pacific coastal city called Dalian. I love that city, because I can walk along the beach in the evening, taste all kinds of seafood, and watch large ships in the harbor and shipyard. That was the very beginning of deciding to study ocean engineering. Now, I am a PhD student in Halifax, an Atlantic coastal city. I will continue my research in ocean engineering and I believe ‘the very beginning mind itself is the most accomplished mind of true enlightenment’.
My current work is titled ‘Research development of synchronization techniques for digital receivers working in high mobility and multipath underwater acoustic channels’. One challenge of underwater acoustic digital receivers in high mobility and multipath channels is synchronization. The strong Doppler Effect can distort the signal in both time and frequency domain. Also, multipath channel introduces inter-symbol reference (ISI) to the signal, which makes it even hard to demodulate. This work includes both symbol timing and carrier frequency recovery to compensate the clock discrepancy. My future work on this includes a more stable frequency recovery circuit and a suitable adaptive equalizer.”
Liu looks forward to finishing his PhD and graduating in the next three years. After graduation, he hopes to find a research position in the private sector or at an academic institute to continue his work. He even is thinking about becoming a teacher or professor in the long-term to continue sharing his knowledge and passion for the exploration of the uncharted world below the ocean surface. Be sure to congratulate Liu when you see him at the next IEEE Conference!

Personal statement by scholarship recipient, Eric Ferguson
Eric is currently a doctoral student at University of Sydney Computing and Audio Research Laboratory under the supervision of Professor Craig Jin. His current research focuses sensing and processing of acoustic signals in the underwater environment, particularly with development of high-resolution passive sonar source localization methods for studying dolphin echolocation in the wild. He presented in the student poster competition at OCEANS’10 Sydney, in which he was fortunate to meet Colonel Norm Miller, who encouraged him to continue his research in marine science and ocean engineering. Eric also has a general interest in onboard systems for underwater robotic vehicles and hopes to build complete systems from the sensors, data process, display and communications to integrating all these on the vehicle itself. However, his research focuses on an entirely different complex system – a dolphin!
“Professor Whitlow Au, who is the international expert and author of “The Sonar of Dolphins”, noted: ‘Our perception of how dolphins utilize their sonar in the wild is based on extrapolation of knowledge obtained in laboratory experiments – we do not have the foggiest idea of how dolphins utilize their sonars in a natural environment’. The main focus of my thesis is the research and development of high-resolution passive sonar source localization methods for studying echolocating dolphins in the wild in order to provide new knowledge on how free-ranging dolphins use their sonars. Dolphin sonars are required to detect, localize and discriminate prey, predators, and companions, even while swimming at night or in turbid water. Preliminary results show that my technique, which I call the modified method for passive ranging by wavefront curvature, is able to locate an individual dolphin echolocating within a pod of dolphins even at long ranges (300 m).”Hopefully, my thesis will be able to clear the fog and enable us to better understand how these remarkable mammals use their sonars to survive, navigate, and avoid collisions in their natural habitats.
Eric looks forward to finishing his PhD and graduating in by March 2018. After graduation, he hopes to continue his academic career by pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship in ocean engineering followed by a career as a chartered professional engineer specializing in ocean applications either at an academic institution or private sector.
General call for scholarship applications
The IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society recognizes that the future of ocean engineering depends on the recruitment of talented, engaged young people.  To encourage advanced education in ocean engineering, OES offers up to eight awards annually for $5,000 each.  Graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to apply for these grants at any time.  Selections are made twice each year, with deadlines of 1 May and 1 September. Information on the application process is available on the OES website:
Applications for OES scholarships are reviewed.  This requires the time of volunteer members.  Thanks to the following who are presently on the OES Scholarship Committee: Liesl Hotaling, Ruth Perry, Co-Chairs; Kenneth G. Foote, Philippe Courmontagne, Mal Heron, Venugopalan Pallayil, Ye Li, Arjuna Balasuriya, Hans-Peter Plag, John Watson, Hanumant Singh, Paul Hines, Hayato Kondo, Brandy Armstrong, Frederic Maussang.