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 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 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.
Abby Noll – Mechanical Engineering ‘18
What’s your project?
My project is researching the fluid dynamics of biomimetic propulsors and swimming squid. The research involves analyzing sequences of images of objects in a flow tank to determine the behavior of the water over various parts of the object. I have worked with flapping plastic strips (simulating a fish tail) and swimming squid.
What skills (technical or non-technical) have you used the most during your research experience?
Research has strengthened my problem-solving skills. The classes that I have been taking for mechanical engineering have given me a set of tools, and research is where I get to figure out how they all work and actually use them in a practical setting.
What are some benefits of doing research?
Working in the lab has given me a tangible way to apply the things I have been learning in my classes. It helps the material to stick better, and extends it far beyond a classroom setting. It has been a wonderful preparation for future internships and jobs, and I believe that getting this kind of experience early on will open up future opportunities in the research field.
Have you done research off-campus, like at a summer internship?
This past summer, I continued work on the boundary layer project, again analyzing data. I also took some new data at Harvard University.
How has doing research shaped your plans for after graduation?
I can see myself working in an area of research and development, as I have been enjoying work in the lab and would like to continue along a similar path. I love learning, and research is where new discoveries are made.