This semester I worked as a research assistant for Dr. Oscar Barton, the Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department. My project was to develop a computer program that assists in modeling physical systems, as both a research and educational tool. Each week I worked on one of two parts of the project. First, I devoted the greater majority of my time to developing and refining the program, generally consisting of either fixing errors in the code or adding additional features. Over the course of the semester, the program has accumulated a significant number of new features and improved dramatically in reliability. Second, I spent the remainder of the time preparing a paper for submission to several conferences in the coming year. Writing the paper has involved effectively summarizing my own activities as well as performing a literature review to provide context for my own activities. Together, these two areas of effort have challenged and motivated me to improve as an engineer this semester.
My time spent working on this project has provided excellent training for my long term goals. After graduation I intend to apply to graduate school, and developing the ability to work in a research environment provides useful preparation. My experience working on this project has proven a particularly satisfying experience in light of this relevance for the future. Furthermore, I have enjoyed working on this project immensely and I look forward to continuing my work in the coming semester.