Joey Maier is a biology professor at Polk State College where he uses every possible opportunity to encourage his students to spend time in the water, play with technology, and do #CitizenScience. As an undergraduate, he did a stint as an intern for Mark Xitco and John Gory during their dolphin language experiments. He then spent the years of his M.Sc. at the University of Oklahoma thawing out and playing with bits of decaying dolphin. After discovering that computers lack that rotten-blubber smell, Joey became a UNIX sysadmin and later a CISSP security analyst.
While his pirate game is weak, he is often seen with a miniature macaw on his shoulder. His spare time is spent SCUBA diving and trying to hang out with people who have submersibles. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.
There’s a Klingon bird of prey hanging from the ceiling in my office.
I may teach biology, but at heart I’m a sci-fi nerd. Naturally, I’m interested in futurism, robots, lasers and all manner of techy paraphernalia. I’d been watching the OpenROV project for a while, but hadn’t gotten one yet. They were obviously awesome little machines that gave me a serious case of gadget envy, and I knew that some of our students would love to pilot an ROV. I needed a much better reason than that, however, to justify getting one. There’s no line item in our budget for, “Wow, that’s cool!” and I was fairly certain that the college administration would tend to favor lower cost and more familiar forms of student engagement
This tweet changed everything. When I found out that Andrew had designed a mini-Niskin bottle, the wheels in my head started turning. Assembling an OpenROV would, naturally, be a very STEM-oriented project. The times our students piloted the ROV could become water sampling field trips, and the kids could analyze their samples back at school as a laboratory activity. If students recorded the process, they could make a short film. I mulled over the possibilities and bounced ideas off of my dive buddies during the hours we spent traveling to and from the coast. (more…)