MIT Sea Grant UROP Student Maps the Charles – Madonna Yoder
By Nicole MisThis summer Madonna Yoder is working with MIT Sea Grant research engineer Mike Sacarny to create a chart of the lower Charles River. This project is the result of a partnership between MIT Sea Grant and the Charles River Alliance of Boaters (CRAB). Madonna just finished her third year at MIT, where she is majoring in earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. She grew up around technology and early on developed a fascination with math and science. As a child, her dad likes to tell stories about how she used a digitizer before she used a mouse. She continued pursuing her passion by taking extra math and science classes in high school. When she visited the MIT campus it immediately felt like she belonged there. The lower Charles River is one of the most heavily used by recreational boaters in the world. Sediment deposition, however, threatens this resource. While there have been numerous river surveys over the past hundred years, no current map addresses the needs of this community. The Chart Project will provide critical information so that the rowing, sailing, yacht clubs, university centers, government organizations, and other stakeholders can better plan for the vitality of the Charles.To chart river depth, they are using commercially available fish-finder sonar alongside sidescan sonar. Madonna¡s favorite part of the project is going out on the boat and deploying the sonar probe to gather the data. While back in the office, she figures out how to best display the charts of the collected data. They have have already mapped from the New Charles River Dam through the Museum of Science and working on mapping the area between the Museum of Science and Longfellow Bridge. Ultimately, they will create both digital and print products that display the depth for each section of the Charles. This data will be given to various state and local govenment agencies so they can make more informed decision about river accessibility. Duck Boat tours are particularly interested in the project and are a major sponsor because they take tourists out on the Charles River.Madonna is a part of the Women¡s Independent Living Group where she is the house manager in charge of repairing the house. She is a part of the Women¡s Volleyball Club at MIT, which she finds is a great support group, and participates in wrestling club open mats at MIT¡s gym. She plays alto sax in the marching band, and in her spare time she likes to make modular origami.
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