Ocean Sciences and Engineering Celebrates First Graduate

Minda Monteagudo is a one-of-a-kind student, literally. She is the first student to ever graduate with a Ph.D. in ocean sciences and engineering from Georgia Tech. This program was established in 2014 as an interdisciplinary study integrating biology, civil engineering, and earth and atmospheric sciences. Monteagudo was approached due to her interest in climate change and how it affects the ocean.  

“It is a home that brings together people who work on ocean science,” Monteagudo said. There are many events with students in the program that have made it feel like a home for Monteagudo on campus that extends beyond the classroom. She has found close friends during her time in the program while receiving support from her faculty mentors.  

“Tech was defined by the people in my department,” she said. That is why she is excited to see what future cohorts will accomplish. Next year will be the first full group of students graduating, and many are already writing their dissertations. Monteagudo recently finished hers on fossil shells in ocean sediment. She used chemistry to reconstruct ocean temperatures from the geological past. These findings can be used to bolster current models of future temperature changes by seeing if they match past records. During Monteagudo’s time at Tech, she was a teaching assistant for EAS 2600, which enabled her to use her love of teaching while interacting with undergraduate students. 

“Students saw connections from earth and atmospheric sciences to their own majors, so I was able to learn many things from their personal experiences,” Monteagudo said. She was also asked to join a task force for racial equality with 12 other students. This was a rare opportunity that she did not take lightly. Over her short few years at Tech, Minda Monteagudo has blazed many trails and helped shape a better future for all students. Currently, she is seeking jobs and will likely start working in the coming months.