ENSTA Bretagne : une expérience d'hivernage avec l'Institut polaire français
© melissa2760, Pixabay

Théophile: en route for the Kerguelen Islands

Student Life
Théophile is an ENSTA Bretagne apprentice engineer. Drawn to the maritime world from an early age, he holds a bachelor’s degree in oceanography and is currently working on oceanographic measurement instrument development in a CNRS laboratory. He has just been accepted by the IPEV French polar institute to spend a year overwintering as an electrical engineer in the Indian Ocean's Kerguelen Islands: a dream come true!

Tell us about your academic career.

I began with a scientific baccalauréat specializing in earth and life sciences.
Next, I did a 3-year bachelor's degree in explorative oceanography at Intechmer (Institut National des Sciences et Techniques de la Mer) during which I studied general oceanography (physical oceanography, hydrography, marine geology and meteorology), marine environment measurement techniques and data processing. I completed my program with a 5-month internship in the marine operations department at Comex in Marseille.

From there, I went on to do a 5-month civic service contract at the CIP (international diving center) on Saint-Nicolas Island in the Glenan archipelago.

It was during that time that I applied to the Embedded Systems major in ENSTA Bretagne’s co-op program. I did my work placements at the CNRS LOCEAN oceanography and climate lab, where I’m working on developing oceanographic measurement instruments.

Why did you apply to overwinter in a polar region?

Because of the breadth of the assignments on offer, from as much a scientific as a social point of view. It’s also another experience to add to my resume as I advance in the field of environmental research.

What will be your role on site?

I’ll be responsible for monitoring and maintaining the measurement equipment for very diverse research programs on subjects ranging from terrestrial magnetism to wildlife to the upper atmosphere. I’ll also be managing some of the scientific logistics on site.

How are you feeling as your departure date approaches?

I’m really excited: I’ve been waiting so long for this! I still have to wrap up a few logistic details, then it’ll be non-stop: I’ll need to pack for more than a year’s stay, do the necessary training courses and attend seminars before leaving from La Réunion.