Choosing Mechanical Engineering
As an undergraduate at a student-centered institution, I experienced firsthand how an engineering faculty dedicated to quality teaching can greatly benefit the next generation of engineers. This stimulated my passion to become an engineering professor and train the next generation of engineers. Engineers are problem solvers; they advance society through new technologies and innovative approaches to existing problems.
I am the instructor for the Kinematics and Dynamics of Machinery course in addition to the Manufacturing Science course. I also teach computer-aided design (CAD) as part of our first-year engineering course sequence, and am the director of the mechanical engineering senior capstone design projects.
The role of an engineering instructor is to develop students who gain technical mastery of the engineering disciplines and who are capable of thinking both critically and independently. I want my students to become motivated learners who can make connections, apply information to new students and find value and meaning in what they learn. These students become engineers who can discern the best answers, make the right decisions and act with integrity in a world that grows even more complex.
A Unique Education
Our engineering faculty’s primary function is to provide outstanding undergraduate education. Additionally, our program is innovative; it was designed to have a hands-on laboratory component in every engineering class, and our students will also participate in a global engineering experience. Not only does the liberal arts education students receive at Mount Union allow them to enter the workforce or further education with the necessary knowledge and skills; it also prepares them to be the future leaders, dreamers and achievers in their fields. Because of the excellent background they receive in communication, critical thinking and global awareness, Mount Union graduates have a strong advantage as they pursue their personal and professional goals.
Research in Engineering
At Mount Union, it is my goal to provide our undergraduate engineering students with opportunities to perform high-quality, publishable research. My research focuses on the development of specimen-specific finite element models aimed at the characterization of the mechanical environment of bone tissue, and the use of imaging techniques to evaluate bone growth and repair. Through computational modeling of microdamage in cortical bone tissue, I hope to better predict the occurrence of stress fractures resulting from new training regiments for either athletes or military recruits. Additionally, by incorporating poroelastic material properties into models of whole femur compressive loading, I investigate the effects of osteoporosis on the bone marrow stress environment. I am also interested in the design of orthopedic implants and rehabilitative devices.
Student Research Projects
As a component of the mechanical engineering curriculum, senior students engage in year-long, industry-focused design projects, and I have the privilege of working directly with each project team. During the 2015-2016 academic year, our seniors built Mount Union’s first robots to compete in the intercollegiate robotic football competition. These students traveled to the University of Notre Dame to test their robots against those of other academic institutions in a skills combine (similar to the NFL draft combine). Other students worked with faculty from the physical therapy department to design an interim prosthetic leg that could be adjusted to fit different patients. The students submitted their design to an undergraduate design competition and were selected as one of six finalists to present at a national conference. A third project worked directly with a Mount Union alum to design and test a filter-less vacuum system. These projects were in addition to our SAE Baja race team, which builds an off-road vehicle to compete in a four-hour endurance race.