Research is a bit of a special subject in engineering. We graduate from high school often with little experience in our chosen discipline but wild dreams about building robots or mixing explosive compounds. Then, when we get into our introduction classes as freshmen, we can be a little underwhelmed by the lack of lab coats. Obviously, we college students want to jump into the cutting edge!
Fortunately, my professors also wanted to help me get in on the cutting edge. At the beginning of this year, I had the pleasure of meeting a computer science professor that had a project with a spot open on it. I jumped on it, and have been rewarded with the most valuable experience of my college career. Research give you a goal, something to be proud of, and often requires you to pick up skills you don’t learn in class.
When it got close to being summer, the professor who oversees my project came to me with an idea I really liked: why not stay here over the summer, do research, and get paid? Turns out there are numerous grants specifically for USC undergraduates that will pay students to do full time research over the summer. I applied through a very simple process and –voila!- got a grant.
So, I will be spending my furthering my knowledge of computer science at the school I love. There’s even a distinct possibility I will be able to author my first technical paper, likely to be taken to a workshop to get peer criticism. While in no way do I expect this process to be smooth the first time, I do expect it to be one of the coolest experiences I’ve had thus far.