For engineering students interested in research, there are many opportunities to get involved, both on and off campus! In fact, nearly 25% of engineering students at Grove City College are involved in some type of research or independent study. Many of these students work in ‘Anderson Lab’ with Dr. Anderson, one of Grove City College’s mechanical engineering professors. Every school year, he has approximately 10-15 students doing research for him for 1-3 credits. He also has students working with him at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts each summer. This year, there are 12 students working in Anderson Lab on seven different projects.
Below is an interview with one of the female mechanical engineering students currently doing research with Dr. Anderson. She shares more information on her research project and some benefits of doing research. For another interview with a student doing research with Dr. Anderson, check out this post.
Ellen Turner – Mechanical Engineering ‘17
What’s your project?
In the Anderson Lab, I am working on resonance in the swimming of striped bass, largemouth bass, and bluefish. I process data representing the motion of the fish’s tail while it was swimming at different speeds and record the amplitude and frequency of the tail beat as well as speed and acceleration of the fish. All the processed data is then plotted to show trends in the relationships between amplitude, frequency and speed.
How did you get involved in this research?
I was invited to join the lab by Dr. Anderson when I applied to work with him over the summer doing similar research.
What skills (technical or non-technical) have you used the most during your research experience?
The ability and willingness to learn a lot of new things is a huge part of it. I knew how to code in MATLAB (a computing language mechanical engineering students learn) from my classes, but the other programs used in the lab I had to learn, but it’s not difficult. Dr. Anderson and all the other students in the lab are willing to help out anyone who has questions. My presentation skills have also improved dramatically from presenting my work done in the lab.
What are some benefits of doing research?
Anderson Lab has been an amazing opportunity for me and has opened my eyes to other paths I can take with a mechanical engineering degree beyond manufacturing. I’ve reevaluated my plan for the future to include the potential of further schooling because of how much I have enjoyed conducting research in my short time with the lab.
Have you done research off-campus, like at a summer internship?
Last summer, I continued doing research with Dr. Anderson at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). I worked on trailing edge analysis and fish frequency while also assisting with other research projects. This coming summer, I’ll be doing research at Vanderbilt University as part of an REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) program.
How has doing research shaped your plans for after graduation?
In the future I could see myself continuing with research of any kind either working for an institution or moving on to grad school and conducting research there. Working in Anderson Lab has shown me that I really enjoy putting my efforts into research.