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Alumni Spotlight

Manny Byas '19

Meet Emanuel (Manny) Byas, who graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in May 2019. 

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Manny originally started at CofC as a biology major but switched to geology at the end of his sophomore year. He has always been fascinated by maps, as well as the study of the earth in general, leading him to make the change to geology. During his time in college, Manny was part of a freshwater research project at CofC where he collaborated with Dr. Vulava Vijay and other colleagues to chemically analyze storm water pollutants within Charleston-area lakes.  

After graduating from the College of Charleston this past May, Manny was hired by Fugro, an international Geo-data specialist firm, in Houston, Texas. Thanks to his involvement in the CofC BEAMS program, Manny, along with several other CofC Geology alumni, were hired by Fugro for their skills and knowledge of the hydrographic field. Manny was also accepted into a summer internship program with the Ocean Exploration Trust, a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Robert Ballard, the discoverer of the RMS Titanic. Manny was allowed time off from his job at Fugro to participate in this unique internship experience this past June. The primary mission of the Ocean Exploration Trust is the scientific exploration of the seafloor; during his internship, Manny was part of a team that mapped the ocean floor from San Francisco to Honolulu.

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Manny on board the E/V Nautilus as part of his internship with the Ocean Exploration Trust in June 2019.

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Maps of the ocean floor Manny helped produce while on board the E/V Nautilus.

Manny credits Dr. Leslie Sautter (“Doc”) as the professor who had the greatest influence on his undergraduate career. Dr. Sautter is the founder of the BEAMS (BEnthic Acoustic Mapping and Survey) Program that provides undergraduate students with coursework, research, an at-sea field experience, and an internship or volunteer opportunity. Manny attributes the BEAMS Program with teaching him professional development and allowing him to find a job directly out of college. (Check out the BEAMS poster he presented at the 2019 U.S. Hydro conference in Biloxi, MS here.)

His greatest memory from his time as a Geology major at CofC is the field studies course. Prior to the trip, Manny had never flown on a plane, let alone traveled past the Mississippi. In his classes, Manny had studied and interpreted various geologic features that are present in the southwestern United States, so he found it extremely helpful to see them in person. Being out west drastically changed his perspective on the world and has influenced his newfound love of hiking.

Manny doesn’t know what the future holds for him, but whatever happens, he is planning on staying in the hydrography field for the foreseeable future because there is so much to do and see. His goal is to travel and gain as much experience in the field of oceanography as possible. He acknowledges that graduate school is probably on the horizon, but he is currently in no rush to go back to school anytime soon!

To learn more about Manny, check out this interview he sat for with the Ocean Exploration Trust prior to his trip on the E/V Nautilus in June 2019.

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Manny completing hydrography work in the lab aboard the E/V Nautilus.

Past Alumni Spotlights:

Mike Passarello '08

Karen Black '10

Izzy Kratchman '14

Contact us if you would like to tell us what you've been up to and maybe be our next Alumni Spotlight!