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Talaina with her research poster

Telaina Henry

Fort Lewis College

Project: Annotation of Thermal and Color Imagery of Ice-Associated Seals

Ya’a’teeh (Hello). My name is Telaina Henry. I am from the Navajo Nation on the New Mexico side, I am from a small community called Dzilth-Na-O-Dith-Hle. My clans are Taneeszhanii (Tangle Clan) on my mother’s side, Hooghanlani (Many Hogan Clan) on my father’s side, Hooghanlani (Many Hogan Clan) on my maternal grandfather’s side and Honaghaanii (One Who Walks Around Clan) on my paternal grandfather’s side. Being a first-generation educator from my immediate family it was truly a blessing to receive the confirmation that I was accepted such a big opportunity.  I was accepted for a summer research internship with JISAO at the University of Washington located here in Seattle. Here is a brief video about what my project was about:

The Bering Sea, a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean which compromises a deep-water basin. The ecosystem includes resources within the jurisdiction of the U.S and Russia.  Due to the recent warming of the Arctic and population change ice-associated seals include bearded, ringed, spotted and ribbon are being observed closely by researchers to get a better understanding of overall abundance. My research focuses on instrument-based surveys that require the use of algorithms to detect animals on the sea ice.

The Bering Okhotsk Seal Survey or BOSS was done by an aircraft and a total of 6 cameras are attached to the under-belly of the aircraft.  3 thermal cameras and 3 color cameras. Over a certain altitude and ground swath, thousands of photos of sea ice can be taken over a course of a 10-hour work day.

My job is to create bounding boxes around a hot spot ID and the hot spot source that is shown in a pair of thermal and color images. The outcome is that we want to have a greater accuracy of detecting and classifying animals on the sea ice. These bounding boxes are crucial because the machine that we are training will read everything that is inside of the boxes that are created. An estimate of 3,000 images from the 2012 BOSS survey were successfully completed.

Thank you to my mentors Erin Richmond and Erin Moreland for helping me out from the Polar Ecosystem Program at the NOAA center based in Seattle. To JISAO for providing a great research program for undergrad students and to participants of the 2018 Microsoft Hackathon and my family and friends for the support!

Telaina's research poster