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 between 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 semester, Dr. Anderson has 12 students working in his lab on 7 different project.
Below is an interview with one of the female engineering students who has done 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.
Kimberly Schlabach – Electrical Engineering and Mathematics ‘16
What’s your project?
Spring semester of 2015, I was involved in the ant research project – automatic tracking and monitoring ant behavior through video. My job has been to improve the particle identification portion of the ant tracking code. In other words, I have written filters to help distinguish ants from other moving particles, such as grass.
How did you get involved in this research?
In the fall, I was looking for a one credit engineering elective. I received an email from Dr. Anderson that had been sent to all the engineering students. The email was looking for students who wanted to investigate biology through engineering-based research. I thought independent research would be a fascinating way to earn a one-credit engineering elective, so I responded to the email. After the interview process, Dr. Anderson found a good fit for me in the image processing side of ant research project.
What skills (technical or non-technical) have you used the most during your research experience?
I had a basic knowledge of image analysis and programming which both served me well in my research. However, Dr. Anderson was extremely helpful and patient in teaching me the additional information I needed to know for the first part of the semester. He was also very accessible throughout the semester if I ever had questions or problems.
What are some benefits of doing research?
Before joining the Anderson Lab, I had no serious interest in research. However, working on a project that other scientists are also investigating has inspired me, and I could see myself doing research after graduation.
My favorite part of working in the lab has been brainstorming with Dr. Anderson and Dr. Mohr. Working in the lab has been very beneficial because it has helped me think outside the box, build my self-confidence and open my mind to the idea of research as a future job interest.
How has doing research shaped your plans for after graduation?
I have already accepted a non-research related job when I graduate in May. However, my research at Grove City was great experience. In just one semester, we had very positive results. I was inspired by how simple and prevalent it was to apply my engineering skills to study God’s creation. If I have the opportunity to do research in the future, I will seriously consider it.