Meet Katie!

Katie Hoeck, SkyTruth Intern

Katie Hoeck is SkyTruth’s newest intern. Katie is a senior at Shepherd University, majoring in mathematics and minoring in physics. She is a self-admitted 7 year senior, going through various changes in her major over the course of a few years. She started out as a biochemistry major, then switched to chemistry and physics, before deciding at last on mathematics. I asked Katie what she wants to be when she grows up, and she told me that she’d love to become a researcher, more specifically, an alternative energy researcher, concentrating on green technology.  Not a bad gig!

Katie lives in Martinsburg, WV with her two dogs Harley and Rocky and her cat, Muon. Being the Office Administrator here at SkyTruth, and having NO clue what a Muon is, I asked her to please explain the cat’s name. She said that a muon is an unstable atomic particle with the same charge as an electron, but which has 206 times the mass and a half-life of 2.2 microseconds.

For her work here at SkyTruth, Katie is clustering data such as geographic coordinates, dates, times, volumes and types of offshore-oil pollution incidents from 20 years of pollution reports acquired from the NRC. An analysis of the clustered data will determine if any interesting and pertinent information is contained therein.

She found out about SkyTruth last year through Dr. Jeffrey Groff at Shepherd after he met with SkyTruth’s Chief Technical Guru, Paul Woods. Dr. Groff had the idea of using a model Raven Drone to fly over water for pollution mapping using aerial photography, which sparked Katie’s interest. This summer, Joe Jefferson, Shepherd’s Director of Cooperative Education, sent out information regarding internships at SkyTruth. Katie came in to meet with us and then things just fell right into place.

When I asked Katie what it was the she wants to get out of SkyTruth, she quickly answered that she wants the experience of applying what she’s learned in her field to the real world. She’s taken the math and science classes and done several research projects, but has yet to apply her knowledge in a professional setting.  At SkyTruth, she is being given the opportunity to take what she’s learned in the classroom and apply it to practical matter.