I really appreciate the opportunity to collaborate across a wide spectrum of disciplines in such a close proximity.”
Choose your own adventure
Trevor Harrison joined the APL-UW in June of 2021 as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Environmental and Information Systems Department. In his short time at APL-UW, he has already embarked on a “choose your own adventure” postdoc by working with several different Principal Investigators.
Trevor earned his B.S. in physics at the College of William and Mary in Viginia in 2009. During his undergrad, working in quantum and molecular optimum physics, Trevor realized he wanted to focus more on people and have a “bigger impact.” He took four years off from his studies between undergrad and grad school to explore what that might look like for him.
Meet Trevor Harrison
B.S. Physics, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering
How I came to APL-UW
No one pointed me to UW. After working for four years after earning my undergrad, I knew I wanted to go to grad school. I wanted to have a hands-on experience with a research and science component. I applied to different programs and eventually found Brian Polagye – formerly an Adjunct Investigator at the APL-UW, now at UW Mechanical Engineering. I applied to work with him.
Who helped me along the way
I received great recommendations from my previous employers and undergraduate advisors. When Brian Polagye was a Research Engineer at APL, he had a significant impact on my career. I wanted to work with him and after a few conversations, he believed in me and took me on.
Standout moment (so far)
Getting my first contract last year for my own project. Partnering with Pacific Northwest National Labs, we built a team of engineers at the APL. This was the next step of my career, officially managing my own project.
His first year of work, Trevor taught snowboarding. He then pivoted and worked as a research technician with Cape Abilities in Massachusetts, his home state. From there, he went on to work with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in sensor construction and development. During this time, he went on several research cruises, from Spain to Africa and beyond.
After finding his interests in hands-on building and oceanographic research, Trevor knew he wanted to move beyond the technical level and begin to conduct his own research. He applied to many different graduate programs and was accepted as a graduate student in the UW Mechanical Engineering program, where he developed an oceanographic platform called µFloat (pronounced “microFloat”).
Since earning his Ph.D. and joining APL-UW in 2021, Trevor has continued his study with µFloat and received a contract for his first project at APL. He built a team of APL engineers and partnered with Pacific Northwest National Labs. Over the last year, the study looked at designing a system to autonomously deploy and retrieve µFloats.
Dive deeper into Trevor’s work with the ME department of UW.