Valuable research experience
By Jared Wofford
This summer I had the privilege of being able to attend a Research Experience for Undergraduates, or REU, at the University of Texas at Brownsville. I researched artificial intelligence and how it may be implemented in a scientific research setting.
I made numerous connections that summer with people all over the United States. My adviser was a postdoc at Cal Tech, and a few of my peers were from “big” physics schools such as the University of Texas at Austin and University of Chicago. I met a professor who has written a book with the famous Stephen Hawking, and his doctoral adviser was Kip Thorne, who helped add scientific fact to the movie “Interstellar.”
I was able to travel and see new parts of the world I had never seen and experience new things. I learned a tremendous amount while performing research as well. My rigorous “9 to 5 routine” consisted of constant reading and work with only an hour break. It’s easy to see that I had the time to learn so much. I was able to print my research onto a poster for presentation [as] many scientists do. I got to see the inner workings of how research is conducted and presented. I also made some free time to help out the local Society of Physics Students chapter. I helped perform demonstration shows. I was frequently the person who would lie on the bed of nails to demonstrate pressure being distributed throughout a surface.
I’ve connected with others in my field and experienced new aspects of science. The REU was an amazing experience, and I would recommend anyone in STEM to apply and experience it.