Wednesday, November 19, 2014

URSP Student Nathan Jordan Learns a Redundant Ultrasound-computer Interface Task

As a student researcher at George Mason I usually begin my day at 8:00am in the morning from Monday to Friday.  When I first come in to the lab I take a seat at my desk and check on the labs email to see if I can schedule any new subjects that have voluntary signed up to participate in my experiment.  After I have responded to the email it is generally time to run my first subject for the day.  I bring them in to the lab and sit them down so they can read and sign a consent form so that they are able to participate in the study, in order to know that they understand the study I will answer any questions they have initially.  After answering their questions I will then bring them back to the experiment room where they sit in front of the labs robot and begin the experiment.  The experiment generally takes one hour to complete during which I provide instruction on the task and give encouragement so that they stay task oriented.  

Throughout any day I generally run 1-3 subjects and occasionally I get to run subjects on the weekend. In between subjects I have time to read various literature related to my field, most of the time I research journal articles, and find different kind of analytical theories and algorithms that I can apply to the data that we collect during the experiments. The other third of the time that I’m in the lab is spend doing the data crunch in order to create charts that can be used to better understand the data.   All of the data analysis that we do for our experiment is done using MATLAB which the bioengineering department at GMU has taught since our freshmen year.  I find that it is easy to work with and a very valuable tool to analyses large data sets.  In addition to my usual day in the lab we have a lab meeting and journal club meeting once a week in which the undergraduate students, graduate students, and mentors get together to discuss where everyone is in their research and provide peer input.  During the journal club a journal article is chosen and discussed by everyone in the lab.

I initially got interested in working in a research lab when I took class provided my mentor Dr. Joiner.  During the class he would provide examples of what they did in his lab and gave the class an assignment on it.  I thought that it was really interested and approached him the following semester about possibly working with him through the OSCAR USRP program.  We worked together to come up with a project and submitted an application.  Working as a graduate researcher has taught me very important lessons that I will carry on with me throughout my career as a researcher.  I am blessed to have such an opportunity and will continue to take the knowledge that I have learned as I progress in my career.  I would like to thank Dr. Joiner for being my mentor and my peers in the sensorimotor for giving me support during my undergraduate experience.