“It would be interesting to see the data obtained at the end of this project influence a positive change in an everyday product.”
Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa
Year: Second-year master's student
Program: Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Shaoping Xiao, associate professor of mechanical engineering
What do you do at the University?
Besides the typical coursework and research work that most graduate students do, I am an active member in the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE). Through this society, I had the opportunity to attend conferences in the past few semesters and participate in volunteer work that helps to uplift and encourage underrepresented students in STEM.
What do you work on and what do you enjoy most about your work?
The current project of interest is to create a predictive model for the analysis of material properties of a Titanium/Titanium-Diboride that accounts for randomness in the particles of the composite (i.e. small local changes in composition). The most enjoyable part of this project is that it really challenges my former view that materials simply follow the theories of deformation discussed in material science/deformable bodies/fracture mechanics. The current model's inherent randomness breaks that view because the material is no longer that conveniently uniform, continuous model that is typically considered in class. It requires a different approach in calculation, simulation, and data collection that I have truly enjoyed learning.
What are your goals for the future? What do you hope to be doing professionally in 10 years?
In 10 years, I would love to keep working on similar projects as this one but with more focus on product design. Currently, the simulations and analysis that I am assisting with are focused on the characterization of the general properties of the titanium model. It would be interesting to see the data obtained at the end of this project influence a positive change in an everyday product.