Physics major from Rogers, Ark.
Undergraduate research project
Detecting and Analyzing Hurricanes with Ring Laser with Dr. Bob Dunn
Large ring lasers at Hendrix College have been monitoring the infrasound from hurricanes for several years in conjunction with NASA’s hurricane efforts. My projects have been to help build a new ring laser and to study the way infrasound couples into the device by analyzing the data that comes from the ring laser.
How did you find out about this opportunity?
I thought summer research would be a fun and fulfilling experience, so I went around and talked to the professors in my department.
How does your project fit with your interests and your professional plans for life after Hendrix?
After leaving Hendrix with a degree in physics, my goal is to also pursue a degree in engineering at Washington University. I have had research projects of both an electrical and mechanical engineering flavor. Through these experiences, I have learned that I would like to focus on electrical engineering.
What has been the most eye-opening or valuable part of your experience?
The most valuable part of my experience has been discovering the reality of doing research. What I mean by that is that most people, including myself, going into a research team for the first time, have a strangely over glorified idea of research. The truth is that you get frustrated a lot and sometimes you have to do grunt work, but sometimes you find something that makes all those struggles worth the effort. The reality is that only very few people make extraordinary discoveries and we study about those people in our classes. You cannot expect your research to be the same or you might have an experience that is not enjoyable. But just because you do not expect to make a big discovery does not mean that it will not happen! I am just a small part of a much bigger machine where each of us makes small steps to push forward the boundary of human understanding.