Student Spotlight | October 2013
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Research project: I am researching the feasibility of using thermoelectric devices to cool an aluminum duct enough to condense water from air passing through the duct. This could be useful for multiple purposes (as water is a precious resource), but the inspiration for my research is water condensation as a resolution to water use by thermoelectric power plants.
Research mentor: Christopher Depcik
Q: What surprised you about doing research?
A: I discovered that when researching a very specific topic, it is sometimes possible to find answers to questions in fields somewhat unrelated to that of one’s study. For example, thermoelectric devices are often used in computer systems, where condensing water is something to be avoided. By reading about such systems, I learned a few things that have been beneficial in what I am trying to do.
Q: What do you like most about your research project or process?
A: It’s an opportunity for me to test my ideas and my problem solving skills, and to try to put to use the things I’ve been learning in class for the past three years.
Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in research?
A: Talk to professors who are doing research in the field(s) of your interest. Perhaps some of their graduate students could use an extra hand in the lab, and helping/shadowing grad students is a good way to learn about research procedures, and to get a feel for what research is like.
Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not working on your research project?
A: Working on various service projects with Engineers Without Borders, studying, and occasionally playing music.