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Cup o' Joe

Profile Evaluation, Masters in Materials

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Cross Posting from the Engineering subforum so more people may see.

"

Hello Everyone,

I'm new here and of course the first post I make has to be about "How competitive am I as an applicant?" 

My basic problem is that I don't know what range of schools I should even be looking at. I am looking into Materials engineering programs and related research at places like UC San Diego, Ohio State, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Penn State etc. I have heard from my fatigue analysis prof that they have very good programs and he has personally worked with several professors from those schools. Or if I should focus on schools further down on rankings with less diverse research going on such as University of Colorado Boulder. 

I'm not sure 100% what I want to research to be honest. I'm generally interested in Materials engineering and improving materials manufacturing and processing for better designs. Research on fatigue in composites is interesting currently. I suppose i'm more excited about research that directly relates to design decisions and methods, but I guess everyone would say that about their own research. 

I'm graduating this spring with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from George Mason University. Current GPA: (3.27/4.0), That will certainly be better over the next two semesters, but not when applications are sent out in December.

GRE: 159V 162Q 4.5W

LORs:

  • Professor who does fatigue research at University of Maryland, taught two of my materials related tech electives. Is helping me with this search, I participate a lot in his classes as they are the most interesting ones i've taken. Great guy.
  • Professor who has been by advisor all throughout undergrad. Have been in his Thermo 2 and heat transfer classes. We've talked a lot through the years.
  • Former Boss from Williams Notaro if 3 LoRs are needed. I was well liked at that job, did good work and made sure I knew what I was doing and asked questions before making mistakes (if possible).

Engineering Work Experience:

  • If you count FIRST Robotics at all, I did that for 4 years in high school. Was one of a small team of primary designers for the robots and the main person putting that design into CAD iterating on it.
  • Two years at a Home Care Robotics Startup (INF Robotics). Was in charge of designing all mechanical systems for the prototype, and fabricating many of them. The Beta models were outsourced for manufacturing under my coordination. There were many advantages to working here, but the issue of having no mentor was a large one. I could mostly go off of what I previously had done or research into the field. I wanted to stop doing robotics for a while, and not wanting to work for a startup, and got my next job.
  • 7 Months at a 12 person MEP consulting firm doing many large and many smaller projects. Williams Notaro worked on a few larger scale projects like the new Navy Federal Credit Union and Boat USA's new building. Each of these projects I helped with drafting in AutoCAD as well as checking everything was okay from a technical standpoint while drafting. While I wasn't a PE of any sorts, the team made sure to educate me, and I read up on my own about how all of these systems worked. So it was my job not just to draft markups or existing conditions, but also understand what everything represents and if it makes sense. It certainly wasn't the most cutting edge technology, but the methodology behind it was very interesting and I learned a lot by reading up on why all of these systems are designed how they are. There was a lot that I didn't know that I didn't know, it was a great time.

Research Experience: 

  • Senior Design this year is in progress. Design of a UAV protection cage of minimal weight and minimum aerodynamic detriment. Will be using a lot of FEA and CFD in design and testing to validate.
  • Undergrad Research Assistant this semester. The work is generally on developing models to describe the deformation and "failure" of Lithium Ion Batteries under various conditions. This current line of research is on modeling the deformation specifically of the Anode/Cathode polymer separator. The current work I am doing is related to image processing from a SEM and seeing if I can track deformation of certain voids as they grow. Still very early in the process 

If anyone can give me some clue of where to look, I'd appreciate it greatly.

Thanks so much. Glad I discovered this forum. There is plenty of great information here on living in different cities and the whole process of graduate school. 

-Joe"

Edited by Cup o' Joe

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