Research & Relationships
Faculty Mentor Students In The Lab And The Field
By Joy Hart
Planting The Seed Of Research
(PICTURE) Sophomore Jason Stegall (center) provides
lab support to David Willis (left) and Paul Krueger.
Sophomore Jason Stegall spent last summer in the SMU School
of Engineering’s Laser Micromachining Laboratory using a laser
process called micromachining to cut tiny channels on material
that can be used to make artificial bones. “I was testing to see how
strong the laser needed to be and how many pulses were required
per task,” he says.
A National Science Foundation grant awarded to David Willis
and Paul Krueger, associate professors of mechanical engineering,
supported Stegall’s research. The three-year grant funds summer research
opportunities for nine undergraduate students through 2009.
Through such grants the federal government is trying to encourage more students to conduct research and go to graduate
school in engineering and the sciences, Willis says. “Part of the reason more students don’t go to graduate school is that
they don’t know what researchers do and don’t understand all the opportunities that are available to researchers.” Stegall
says he eventually wants to become a college professor and do research and development for the automotive or aerospace industries.
Collaboration In Print
(PICTURE) Torrey Rick (right) collaborates with
Ph.D. students Amanda Aland and Christopher Wolff.
Torrey Rick’s research involves excavating sites as old as 10,000 years on the Channel Islands off the California coast. “The work I do is extremely collaborative,” says Rick, assistant professor of anthropology. “Students are an important part of this work, helping to complete field and laboratory analysis and often providing fresh ideas and perspectives. Conducting research also benefits students by showing them how to navigate the world of scholarly publication. Ultimately, doing research and publishing papers can help them secure an academic position.” christopher Wolff will earn his Ph.D. in anthropology with a focus on archaeology this summer and begin a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution in the fall. He studies the houses and social organization of a group of people whose cultural tradition, found in
Newfoundland and Labrador, is known as Maritime Archaic. They occupied the region around 8,000 to 3,200 years ago.
He recently collaborated with Rick and Amanda Aland, another Ph.D. student, on an article that was published in the Journal of California and the Great Basin Anthropology. Wolff, the lead author, says, “Torrey is really good about getting students involved and thinking about publication.” Another Ph.D. student in anthropology, Lauren Willis, published a paper with Rick in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Willis, who came to SMU because of the research
Rick is doing, says that “I can learn from reading, but talking to Torrey helps clarify what I’ve read.”
For more information: www.smu.edu/graduate