Friday, September 22, 2017

OSCAR Student Daniel Bentley Gains Technical Experience in Water Resource Engineering

I became interested in Water Resources Engineering in Fall 2016 when I took Dr. Binning’s Hydraulics course and lab. I became further interested when I took Dr. Ferreira’s Water Resources Engineering Course in Spring 2017. At the end of the semester with Dr. Ferreira I sat down to discuss with him what career paths Water Resources Engineering Could lead me down. Shortly after this conversation he gave me a job in his research. After three years of Civil Engineering prerequisities and coursework I have finally decided to pursue a subset of the field on a more long-term basis.
Over the summer, in the lab, I have been working to maintain and deploy all equipment in the lab. A lot of my work is assisting the graduate students with their research. Although I do not conduct any concrete research myself I have witnessed first hand the full process of data gathering and processing. Through my work I have been to Magothy Bay on the Eastern Shore twice this summer to program and deploy two Aquadopp velocity sensors, twelve HOBO water level loggers, TruBlue wave sensors, and a real time meteorological weather station. I did research on weather stations and ordered, programmed, and built the one that we have. I also organized a scouting trip down the Potomac to view field sites for potential locations. I obtained permits for three different sites then organized a trip down the Potomac to install water level loggers with the graduate students. Mostly what I have learned this Summer is project management skills in the Water Resources Research arena. 
My main takeaway from this summer was that I gained a large amount of technical experience in the field of sensors. Prior to graduating I plan to develop my own sensor units complete with microcontroller, battery, solar panel, satellite modem, and sensors. I will make these at a fraction of the cost that we pay a company to make them. This will allow me to communicate more effectively with technical engineers as I further pursue my career in Water Resources Engineering