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Engineering | Undergraduate Research

Noah Wilson, Travel Grant

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Noah Wilson, Travel Grant

Mechanical engineering student Noah Wilson has been working under the mentorship of Dr. Patrick Phelan on his research titled, “Thermogalvanic Waste Heat Utilization from Automobiles.” He traveled to Houston, Texas to present his research poster at the ASME 2015 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. We asked him to give us the details of his experience.

In layman terms, what was the conference about?

This conference aims to stimulate innovation and growth within the engineering research community. By bringing together so many engineers, from academia as well as national laboratories, industry, and other research settings, this innovation is achieved.

What motivated you to present at this conference?

One of my mentors, Andrey Gunawan, a PhD student at the time motivated me to seek out opportunities to present at conferences by recounting the conferences he had attended and the inspiration they imparted to him.

Tell us about some of the presentations you attended!

One interesting presentation that I attended was given by Dr. Bruno Barthelemy, Chief Engineer of Global Automotive Body Structures at the Ford Motor Company. The topic of his presentation was “The First Mass-Produced Aluminum Vehicle”. Dr. Barthelemy was a charismatic speaker and spoke to the benefits of using aluminum as the primary structural material in cars, as well as the challenges they had overcome. A very interesting presentation!

The Undergraduate Student Expo was another interesting presentation I attended, and participated in. Here, I presented a poster summarizing my research progress and future research goals, alongside 30 other undergraduate researchers selected to present. This was an incredible experience as I had so much in common with all of the other student presenters. It provided an excellent opportunity to learn from my peer’s research experiences as well as provide my own.

What would you say was the best part of the conference?

Being surrounded by so many like-minded students from whom I could learn and connect.

What did you wish you knew prior to the conference?

How much fun it would be. I attended the conference for only three of the five days the conference ran, but I wish I had stayed longer. There were so many interesting presentations and people as well as lots of free food! It was a great experience.

Any suggestions for other students regarding conferences?

Applying is the toughest part of attending conferences, once you’re past that hurdle attending the conference is very fun and provides an excellent opportunity to meet and learn from like-minded students and professors from all over the world. If you’re considering applying to a conference, it is definitely worth it!

Going to a conference? Have research-related travel needs? Apply for the Undergraduate Research Travel Grant!

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