As the semester finishes up we get an update from Alexandra Bayles and Matthew Sinnott on their senior theses.
Alexandra Bayles: “Morphological Responsiveness of Anisotropic Partially Crystalline Emulsion Colloids”
The thing that I find most exciting about the research I’m doing for my thesis is that the work has relevant, practical implications outside of the academic world. I’ve been incredibly fortunate over the past 1.5 years to collaborate with researchers in industry throughout my work. Throughout the collaboration, we have drawn from one another’s results to advance both the physical understanding of the PCE phenomena and ultimately utilize this understanding to engineer products.
The most challenging part about the research I’m doing is finding the time to go into lab and conduct experiments. The fall semester of senior year is particularly busy for many seniors–not only do we have difficult capstone classes within our major, but many of us are also applying for graduate fellowships and research programs. There are many days where I wish I could forgo doing coursework and writing applications and instead spend the entire day in lab. By writing a thesis, I expect to learn how to better communicate my experimental results to audiences both familiar and unfamiliar with my field of research.
After graduating, I intend to go to graduate school to complete a PhD. Writing this senior research thesis not only improves my chance at being accepted into top graduate programs, but has also given me a preview of the work that I will do while in graduate school.
Matthew Sinnott: “Damage sensing in composite structures for the development of a health monitoring system and sensing self-healing capabilities”
I am excited to continually learn more about my research by reading articles and discovering what is done as other universities. Because the field is emerging into an area where there are new projects being explored everyday the scope of my project is constantly changing. The most challenging part of the research that I am doing is organizing all of my data and information nicely. There is a lot of different data that I am collecting with every test that needs to be evaluated and interpreted.
I am hoping to have a better understanding of how a final report should look before submitting it for publication. Writing a thesis should help me improve my technical writing skills and be better prepared for graduate school After graduation I am hoping to get a job in industry and work towards my master’s degree as a part time student. During interviews a lot of potential employers question me about my experience as an undergraduate researcher. After writing a thesis I have a better understanding of the small details of my project and feel comfortable explaining these details in a professional setting.