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Spotlight on Students: Lucy Wang, B.S., Mechanical Engineering '17

1. Why did you choose to study Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell?

When I first got to Cornell, I had no idea what I wanted to study because I wanted to study everything. As the spring semester approached, I turned to my hallmate for advice, and she suggested that I study Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with her. Looking back, that might not have been the best way to choose my major, but I don’t regret it. I gained a strong foundation in problem solving skills, but I still had the freedom to explore a wide range of fields within mechanical engineering. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell ended up being a great fit for me. When I decided I wanted to get involved in biomechanics research, I found several professors in areas I was interested in. In addition, Cornell’s relationship with the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York City opened up interesting project possibilities.

 

2. What research are you working on?

I’m working with a PhD student in Professor Hernandez’s lab to study bacteria mechanics. We are currently using microfluidic devices with tapered channels to trap single bacteria cells. By changing the pressure applied to the device, we can control the mechanical load experienced by each cell. Using this method, we can examine the mechanical properties of the cell and investigate the effect of mechanical load on processes in the cell wall.

 

3. Do you have any advice for other students considering research in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering?

I would advise students to get started early. If you start in freshmen year, you will have more time to dedicate to a more significant project. This could lead to more opportunities like attending conferences that you might not get to experience if you start later on. I would also encourage students considering research to not be shy about reaching out to professors. If you do not receive a reply to your first email, do not be afraid to send a follow up. Sometimes emails get lost.

 

4. What do you do for fun?

In my free time, I train in martial arts. I practice mainly taekwondo but also some grappling and boxing. I have been an active member of Sport Taekwondo at Cornell since the beginning of freshmen year. After starting at Cornell as a white belt, I earned my black belt at the end of junior year and currently serve as the president of the club.

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