Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

August 26, 2016

Student Blog Update: Week One in Australia

UW student Viviana Castillo is currently in Brisbane, Australia with the OMA&D-affiliated exploration seminar studying how autonomous robotic systems can be used for biological monitoring purposes. During the group’s time “down under,” Viviana will be sharing regular blog updates started with her first entry below.

By Viviana Castillo

Viviana CastilloHey there!
My name is Viviana Castillo, I am an Oceanography major at the University of Washington.

I am extremely excited to be a part of this incredible program in which I will get an opportunity to learn, explore and research at the Queensland University of Technology along with 20 other of my peers. All 20 of us come from different backgrounds but we have all come on an exploration seminar because we share one thing in common, research!

Just arrived to Brisbane after a long 14 hour flight and ready to go to our apartment for the month.

Just arrived to Brisbane after a long 14 hour flight and ready to go to our apartment for the month.

This early fall start study abroad program is titled Aeronautics & Astronautics Australia: Autonomous Systems and Robotics for Biological Research & Monitoring. In these busy past few days we have been learning from Rick Rupan who is a research scientist in the School of Oceanography, working with underwater robotics at the University of Washington. The past few days of class have been intense ones, from learning about various types of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, to practicing going out into the field by creating an experimental plan and measuring bamboo shoots to prove or disprove a hypothesis, to learning about sea grass and beginning our individual work with our own research!

With the help of Dr. Matthew Dunbabin from the Queensland University of Technology we have been able to discuss various research projects individually that we will be conducting out on Moreton Bay in just a few more days. Because we will only be able to be in Brisbane, Australia for four short weeks, we have to work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

First two days in Brisbane. Starting to get acquainted with the campus.

First two days in Brisbane. Starting to get acquainted with the campus.

Nate, Jingyang, Chris and Richard hard at work measuring bamboo shoots and conducting their experiment to prove or disprove their hypothesis.

Nate, Jingyang, Chris and Richard hard at work measuring bamboo shoots and conducting their experiment to prove or disprove their hypothesis.

I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to conduct research away from home and get a chance to see what a different environment is like when conducting this research. I hope to learn more about the oceans as a whole and better understand the technology that we use in order to tell us more about our oceans.

Although it has been an extremely busy week, we have also found some time to explore Brisbane and have a little fun. We have gone out in Brisbane as a group trying to get acquainted with the city.

We are starting to get our bearings and are excited to keep exploring together! We also took a tour of the QUT campus and we are really enjoying it. We had our first “family” dinner this Thursday in which we went to chinatown and went to Wagaya: Japanese Restaurant. The food was great and the company was even better!

First family dinner out at Wagaya’s!

First family dinner out at Wagaya’s!

There’s a crash course on our last four days here!

Until next time.