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Intern of the Week: Lucas McCullum for Engineering

Learn about his research experience right here at UMBC!

May 11, 2017 11:37 AM

Name:Lucas McCullum

Internship, Co-op or Research Site:University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Position Title: Undergraduate Research Assistant

Major/Minors:Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics, Financial Economics

Tell us about your internship, co-op, or research opportunity, including your day-to-day responsibilities.

I am conducting an Undergraduate Research Experience with Dr. Soobum Lee and Dr. Laing Zhu with the Mechanical Engineering department in the Energy Harvesting and Design Optimization Lab on investigating the feasibility of PZT (Lead Zirconate Titanate) plates towards developing a transducer for tumor detection. The purpose of this research is to develop a product that can be used to detect tumors at a lower than average cost as compared to the standard prices on the market today. Successful completion and fulfillment of this project would assist in providing patients in poor financial positions access to medical care at a reduced price while still guaranteeing its effectiveness. My day-to-day responsibilities on this project include developing and testing PZT sheets in various conditions to determine its effectiveness at defect detection and tumor screening. The project is currently being funded through an Undergraduate Research Award (URA) grant.

Describe the process of obtaining your internship, research, or co-op opportunity.

I obtained my position by focusing on finding my research interests and narrowing down the professors that I thought worked closely to those interests. I researched specific projects conducted by those professors extensively to determine the one that I wanted to contribute to the most. Finally, I requested a formal meeting with this professor to discuss the project and potential positions open to work on the project.

What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization/company?

The part that I have enjoyed the most about this position is the level of interaction and communication that is developed between myself and faculty, doctoral students, and master's students. I also enjoy the level of challenge that is confronted while conducting graduate level research as an undergraduate. It is my passion to pursue graduate school in the future, and this opportunity provides a premier introductory experience.

What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?

The most important piece of advice that can be given to another student who is seeking an undergraduate research experience or similar would be to not be afraid to reach out to your professors. In most cases, professors welcome undergraduate researchers due to their passion and willingness to learn, and one will never know the opportunities that may await if they do not seek them.

Please provide a short reflection or quote about what you liked most about your position.

I believe that when we open ourselves up to new experiences, we allow new doors to open and new lights to shine.

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