Almost an entire year has passed since I officially started conducting research under Dr. Hong, and both of the fellowship programs I have received are continuously changing my perception of research. When I first began my research experience, I saw research as a STEM-dominated practice that involved experimentation in the physical sciences; however, the opportunity to interact with other researchers through my fellowships showed me that research is the pursuit of new knowledge for the benefit of society. As a result, research can not only involve any area of study but also transcend one area of study and become interdisciplinary at its core. The opportunity to interact with other researchers in different disciplines in a seminar discussion with the UHCRF and to read numerous blogs written by fellow researchers in different fields have shown me how students in various fields take a wide variety of approaches to advancing knowledge for the betterment of society in countless academic disciplines.
Since research is about the discovery of new information and conducting novel experiments that have never been attempted, it can often be difficult because there are no resources online that can show the researcher exactly what to do. After all, the researcher is the first person to ever attempt that particular experiment. Therefore, a researcher’s team and mentor are the researcher’s most invaluable assets because they are the only people who have a general idea of what the researcher should be doing and can therefore guide the researcher through the process and provide him/her with as much knowledge about the project as possible to help the researcher succeed. Additionally, existing research projects similar to the researcher’s current research topic could be a useful resource to explore. These sources can typically be found by searching for keywords relevant to the researcher’s current project in a search browser or database for research papers.
Overall, the CURF has facilitated a research experience that not only reinforced my knowledge of concepts in electrical and computer engineering but also taught me about engineering to solve problems in the real world. Therefore, the experience has made me a stronger engineer before I begin my co-op with Bayer over the summer, and after my co-op, I will have experienced both a career in industry and a research experience before my junior year of college. Experiencing both will give me a better idea of whether I want to move toward industry or research after my undergraduate degree, but regardless of which path I take, my research will have made me a better engineer.
If you would like to see what my research currently looks like, the Youtube video below outlines my work on the project.