In my REU experience at CIRP, I gained many valuable hard and soft skills that I can carry with me back to the classroom and into my future career. I had the honor of working with Jalaj Maheshwari, MSE on a computational engineering project analyzing pediatric occupants in car crashes using finite element models.
My work looked at various postures and seating conditions in a full-frontal crash and how the presence of submarining—a phenomenon that occurs when the lap belt slides over the pelvis and loads the abdomen—affects the kinetics and kinematics of the occupant. This work allowed me to learn and work with LS-PrePost software and Python scripts to extract data from the simulations. I also had the chance to improve my MatLab skills by writing scripts to compile and plot the data.
In addition to these hard skills, I gained many interpersonal skills. I had the chance to present my work multiple times to the engineering team for feedback, building confidence in presenting scientific findings to a group. Being at CIRP also gave me plenty of opportunities to network and gain exposure to other aspects of engineering in the healthcare field.
Currently, I am entering my senior year at Louisiana Tech University, where I study biomedical engineering. My time at CIRP has allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and grow both as a person and a student. In addition, I was honored to be awarded as one of two winners at the 17th annual CIRP Student Research Day for my presentation. I hope to use this experience as I move forward with my career and finish my education.