2022 Award Recipients

The diverse field of individual recipients—students, young professionals, career professionals, international programs—have distinguished themselves in their work, through technological accomplishment, volunteer service, and mentorship. In addition, MTS honored a company for its outstanding contribution to the advancement of a marine technology and a MTS Student Section who are foundational to the advancement of the MTS mission. Our awardees work with unfailing commitment to tackle problems that impact our globally connected society in real and tangible. The awards were presented at OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads.

The 2022 recipients include:

Compass Distinguished Achievement Award: Presented to an individual whose career includes achievements that have had a significant impact on the fields of marine science and technology.

Recipient – Dr. Deidre M. Gibson, University Endowed Professor and Chair of Marine and Environmental Science, Hampton University

  • Dr. Gibson is a stalwart and unparalleled leader in the pursuit of preparing the next generation of African American marine scientists. While at Hampton University, she has served as Primary Investigator on several National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grants that continue to train the next generation of diverse marine scientists.  These included efforts to improve student outcomes, provide student research opportunities, outreach to the community, work with public school teachers, curriculum development, sustainability, and her own research on zooplankton and oysters.

Compass International Award: Presented to an individual, company, or organization (outside the United States) for outstanding contributions to the advancement of marine science and technology.

Recipient – Oceans Network Canada 

  • Oceans Network Canada (ONC) is being recognized for their outstanding advances in research, development, design, education, and public understanding that have benefited Canada and the world through ONC’s vast network of collaborators ranging from engineers and technologists through to businesses and communities that they support. Their infrastructure has provided a profound impact on the world’s cabled observatories. ONC has not only advanced ocean engineering for more than 15 years to bring cutting-edge real-time ocean monitoring technologies to operational status, but it has also enabled research and education in ocean sciences based on data thereby generated. This holistic approach has contributed to a new information-based blue economy and demonstrates the benefits of public and private investments in our marine technology enterprise.

Compass Industrial Award: Presented to any industrial firm (excluding government and non-profit organizations) that has demonstrated outstanding contributions to marine science and technology.

Recipient – RPS North America

  • RPS North America is a leading developer in the integration of ocean, coastal and Great lakes data and is revolutionizing the application and use of marine data within North America. Their systems and technology overlayed with real-time data have increased safety and awareness through partnerships in the public and private sector to address societal challenges.  The organizations that have leveraged RPS’ visualization and data products are able to effectively carry out mission-critical services, including search and rescue operations, and public access to model predictions for research and operations.

Lockheed Martin Award for Ocean Science and Engineering: Presented to an individual who has demonstrated the highest degree of technical accomplishment in the field of marine science, engineering, or technology. 

Recipient – Dr. Jan Newton, Executive Director, Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS), Senior Principal Oceanographer and Affiliate Professor, University of Washington

  • Dr. Newton has made significant contributions to the design and development of sustained ocean observing, data analysis and forecasting. She has developed forecast models that help communities adapt to and plan for variable and changing ocean conditions increasing resilience. Dr. Newton led the coordination between IOOS, NOAA and the shellfish growers to research and mitigate ocean acidification that nearly devastated a $5 billion dollar industry within the United States. She is globally recognized as an expert in this field and is a co-founder and co-chair of the Global Ocean Acidification Network.

John P. Craven Mentor Award: Recognizing the long and impactful career of John Piña Craven, the award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding and sustained service to the field of marine technology through mentoring.

Recipient – Dr. J. Preetha Roselyn, Faculty Advisor, MTS SRM Student Section, Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, India

  • Dr. Roselyn is a dedicated teacher with over 20 years of experience and is an active researcher in the field of renewable energy and Smart Grid technology. Under her guidance, many of her students have received scholarships, project funding and internships. She has organized 30 technical training programs, workshops, seminars for the undergraduate and post graduate students through the SRM MTS Student Section.

Ocean News & Technology Young Professional Award: Presented to an MTS member, 35 years of age or younger, who has demonstrated leadership in the Society and works in a professional capacity in management, engineering, or research and development in a marine technology field. 

Recipient – Ms. Cassidy Gonzalez-Morabito, Systems Test and Integration Engineer, L3Harris

  • Ms. Gonzalez-Morabito is being recognized for her work in the test and integration of software to support naval operations. She supports the continuous advancement of test software used within L3Harris. She has led and supported the updated release of multiple test software packages, which have improved test reliability, reduced false failure rates, increased test speed, updated instrumentation, and simplified operations. These test software packages are used to provide confidence to engine control module (ECM) units before they are deployed in naval aircraft.

Walter Munk Award: The Walter Munk Scholar Award is jointly sponsored and awarded by the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans (WMFO) and the Marine Technology Society (MTS). The Award is presented annually to a scholar currently enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral program. Established in 2019, the Award honors Walter Munk’s legacy of daring exploration and discovery through ocean scientific and technology research, ocean education or ocean conservation; open to those from any country or territory. 

Recipient – Ms. Marta D. Palacios, PhD Candidate, Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas (CICIMAR), Mexico

  • Ms. Palacios has made outstanding contributions to the study of manta ray conservation and ecology. Ms. Palacios has assembled a diverse team, including local fishermen, to tag and track manta rays incidentally caught in the artisanal gill net fishery. In addition, she is working on understanding the large-scale seasonal movement patterns in relation to prey availability - key components for developing feasible conservation management plans. Her work will form a key piece in developing feasible strategies for reducing manta ray bycatch in Mexican waters.

MTS Outstanding Service Award: Presented to an MTS member or member organization in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in fulfilling the objectives and missions of the Society.

Recipient – CAPT Ray Toll USN (Ret), Co-chair OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads, Former Director, Old Dominion University Coastal Resilience Research.

  • Mr. Toll is a retired Navy Captain who’s career spans the fields of Meteorology and Oceanography. He chaired OCEANS 2012 Hampton Roads and is serving as the Co-Chair for OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads. In addition to his contributions to the OCEANS conference, he has served as Chair of the Hampton Roads Section, Vice President of Industry and Technology, and President of MTS. During his leadership tenure, he created and implemented the concept of a TechSurge, a program model still utilized today by MTS. He currently serves on several panels and organizations supporting and advocating for a sustained, operational ocean observing capability.

MTS Outstanding Student Section Award: Presented to an established MTS Student Section that demonstrates superior performance in the advancement of the Society’s objectives.

Recipient – Sri Sairam College of Engineering, Bangaluru, India   

  • The Sri Sairam College of Engineering Student Section is being recognized for the development and administration of innovative webinars, workshops, and activities exclusively designed by students under the guidance of academicians. Their students have participated in the MTS Nanda Student Innovation Award competition, Student Autonomous Underwater Vehicle SAVe India competition, TOGETHER 21- Entrepreneurship Bootcamp and Venture Competition with Schulich School of Business & Start-up India, and the Smart India Hackathon. The school’s Sri Leo Muthu Innovation Centre inspires students to take on challenging projects and participate in national and international events and competitions.

MTS Fellow: Since 1975, the title of MTS Fellow has been awarded to MTS members who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the Society’s objectives and who have distinguished themselves in their fields.

Recipient – Ms. Donna Kocak, Engineering Fellow, Advanced Technology Manager for Strategic Initiatives, L3Harris Technologies

  • Ms. Kocak has been a member of MTS since 1990, serving as Chair of the Underwater Imaging Committee, Vice President of Publications, President, and she founded and led the Ocean Observing Systems Committee. Ms. Kocak has been MTS Chair of the Joint OCEANS Administrative Board and the MTS Liaison to the Ocean Decade. Donna has over 30 years of experience in developing and implementing ocean technology, supporting the design, development and testing of many scientific and engineering projects involving computer vision, underwater imaging and communications and ocean observing and space satellite systems. Her contributions to the society and ocean community are immense.

Recipient – Mr. Donald Peters, Principal Engineer Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

  • Mr. Peters serves as Co-Chair of the MTS Buoy Technology Committee pushing buoy and mooring technology forward. He is a skillful mentor for MIT students and at WHOI and has authored many research articles and per-reviewed papers. His work as chief engineering for the re-design of the submersible ALVIN, new mooring technology patents, contributions for NSF’s Ocean Observing Initiative, and support to get EOM Offshore, LLC off the ground in addition to his work on the MTS Buoy workshop illustrate his commitment to the ocean sciences, technology, and the community at large.

Recipient – Dr. Fritz Stahr, Chief Technology Officer, MRV Systems, Affiliate Professor, University of Washington

  • Dr. Stahr is a long-standing MTS member who service as MTS Puget Sound Section Chair and now as Treasurer for the Section has been instrumental in maintaining an active and vibrant section. He also served as Chair for OCEANS 2019 Seattle bringing together a team of volunteers to deliver a compelling technical program, exhibition, and social events. As regional coordinator for the MATE ROV competition the past 15 years and affiliate professor at the School of Oceanology, University of Washington, Dr. Stahr has inspired countless students to pursue a career in ocean sciences and technology.

“Marine technology impacts our global society and these award recipients have made significant impacts to the facilitation, advancement and promotion of ocean sciences and technology. They represent a diverse set of talents and are an inspiration to their communities. We congratulate them and look forward to seeing their continued successes,” said MTS President Zdenka Willis.