With winter break past us, it is finally time to start preparing for URAD this spring. I’ve been having steady progress on my project over the course of this past semester. The compressor model that I was previously having trouble with is now working and spitting out the correct values. Of course, this is just one fourth of the entire model, so there is still a lot of work to get done. My current focus will be on the expander model which should be fairly simple to modify due to its similarities with the compressor. I am definitely learning a lot about how to incorporate math and physics with engineering in this hands-on project. I sometimes surprise myself at the amount of work I put into this project when I see the entire PHES model. It took small steps one at a time, but I am finally making progress towards a completed model which will contain realistic values.
Apart from my progress, it’s hard to believe that this will be my last semester participating in the Research Rookies Program. I have received a lot of support from the program starting from my first year. I still remember coming to college for the first time and worrying about balancing my activities, covering learning gaps, and just trying to survive my first year. Having the chance to give back to the program as a peer mentor this year has been very fulfilling for me. I know what it was like during the first year, so that knowledge motivates me to provide the best possible experience for the current first-year students. One piece of advice I would give for all the first-year students is to continue exploring different options. It’s really easy to just get your project done and over with if when URAD passes, but it would be really awesome if you could continue your involvement in research either as a second-year research rookie or as a student funded by another research program. There are so many different types of research projects out there that you never know what you’re truly interested in if you don’t take the time to try out some of them. For me, I thought I was just interested in microelectronics and robotics which made up most of my research during my first year. However, after trying my hand at my current project, I realized that energy is also very interesting to me. You just never know what will happen until you try it. Being a first-year student means you have lots of time to explore different opportunities, so don’t be afraid to jump out of you comfort zone. There are many programs out there willing and able to support you through you academic and future career success. All you have to do is look for them.