I am a 3rd year graduate student in the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) joint program in biological oceanography. I work in Peter Tyack's laboratory studying marine mammal acoustics and foraging ecology. I have a page on the WHOI website if you want to know a bit more (and even see a picture).
I am an almost-complete novice, although I am not dangerous with a hammer, soldering iron, or any power tool one might use on wood (my dad's business is a woodworking shop). I have built a hydrophone (underwater microphone) and volunteered in Paul McGuinness' marine science class at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, which included helping the students build tethered ROVs for class projects.
In my field, almost everyone uses complicated electronic devices (commercial or custom-made tags and recording/detection devices, mostly), but it's rare to find a biologist who knows enough about how they are designed and made even to have an intelligent conversation with the engineers who make them. I think that if more of us were somewhat competent in acoustics and design/fabrication, we would be able to come up with much more useful, innovative, and probably cheaper tools to study the animals - especially since there aren't enough of us to encourage many companies to make products specially for us. I am trying to take advantage of MIT's resources to get the knowledge and experience I need to help design and engineer my own tools, which will hopefully one day include an acoustic- and position-recording tag for harbor porpoises. This class seems like not only a fabulous introduction to digital design and fabrication, but also a chance to meet the FAB group group and the rest of the class, dream up and build some wild things (porpoise related or not), and learn to think about my own design/engineering problems in a new creative way.