These people and this environment felt right to me, like I’d finally found my team.”
Finding your team
As a Field Engineer II in the Ocean Engineering Department, Jennie Mowatt dabbles in it all. A jack of all trades, Jennie not only provides support for deploying and recovering equipment in the field, but she also does work on the front and back end – building, testing, and refurbishing gear for future work.
In 2009, Jennie earned her B.S. in oceanography with a minor in geology from UW. As an undergrad, she worked in the Seaglider Fabrication Center in the Oceanography department – building, wiring and testing Seagliders (an original collaboration between UW-APL and UW School of Oceanography). This introduced her to the technical and hands on side of scientific fieldwork.
Meet Jennie Mowatt
How I came to APL-UW
I had a somewhat convoluted path to the APL. I was already familiar with the lab from undergrad. After leaving Washington, working in Hawaii, and in contract jobs in Greenland and Antarctica, I felt like I needed to come back home for a bit. I applied to APL over a crummy Zoom connection in the middle of an ice cap, and came on board a month after I got off the ice in April 2022.
Who helped me along the way
I’ve applied to the APL a few times over the years but was never picked up. I went on to work in different places to challenge myself and build new skills in the field. Thinking about moving home I applied again to APL-UW and was hired. It worked out in the end.
Standout moment (so far)
I was out on the Thompson [research vessel] summer 2022 during Ocean Observatories Initiative when they had a live video stream going. I was able to send a link to my friends and family and they could finally see and understand what it is I do onboard the vessel, and what kind of things we get to see at sea on a regular basis. Despite the endless stream of silly questions I had to answer after that, it was such a great opportunity to share what I think is one of the best parts of the job – going to sea.
After graduating, Jennie took a position at the glider lab at the University of Hawaii. Not a fan of the warm weather, she went on to work at research stations and on research vessels in colder places around the world, including Antarctica and Greenland. She then worked in New Zealand for a year and half during the Covid pandemic, but she felt too far from her home in Washington. With the need to centralize her life and be by family, Jennie applied to the APL-UW, made the move back to Seattle, and came on board in April 2022.
If there’s something you’re interested in, narrow it down, find a person to talk to, and demonstrate your interest. Chase down the people that do what you want to do. Ask questions.”