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The AAT Project
Ambassador

Grace Young

Age: 23

GOALS & ACHIEVEMENTS
In June, she spent 15 days living underwater as one of six aquanauts on Mission 31.

Grace Young is an MIT mechanical and ocean engineer currently earning her PhD as a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University. A member of Oxford’s Ocean Research and Conservation Group, her passion is developing technology to explore and manage sustainably our oceans’ resources while conserving their fragile ecosystems. Her current focus is creating 3D models of coral reefs around Honduras and Indonesia to analyze how reef structure changes with depth and location and how it influences the marine ecosystems that live on or around them. The purpose is to understand more precisely the connection between structure and ecosystem health in order to aid in rebuilding reefs degraded or destroyed by climate change, acidification, overfishing, and pollution.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of her research, she works in both Oxford’s Zoology Department (for marine biology expertise) and Engineering Sciences Department (for computer vision and artificial intelligence expertise).

Her fieldwork involves extensive time underwater at depths up to 300 feet, so she is one of the world’s few scientists using rebreather technology to go deeper and work longer underwater.

The recipient of numerous academic awards, her work experiences include developing software for CERN and MIT, helping to design, build and test marine robots for NOAA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution that were deployed in the Arctic, Antarctic, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans, and living undersea for 15 days in the Aquarius habitat on the Atlantic’s floor as the youngest aquanaut on Mission 31.

An avid sailor and scuba diver, Grace is also active in the arts community, most recently helping to construct the “Ocean Pavilion” sculpture commissioned by the Thyssen- Bornemisza Art Contemporary in Vienna and receiving MIT’s Wiesner Award for contribution to the arts.

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