Hometown: Chandler, Arizona, United States
Graduation date: Fall 2021
FURI | Spring 2021
The Effectiveness of Hands-On Demonstrations on Understanding Statics Principles
This project seeks to determine whether 3D demonstrations can effectively increase the comprehension of fundamental engineering principles for sophomore students. A physical demonstration was fabricated using acrylic plastic in which an integrated force sensor allows students to visualize the output force generated from a specific force input. The demonstration will be deployed in future statics course to aid student understanding in how forces are transmitted in machines.
Mentor: Jay Oswald
Featured project | Spring 2021
Jesus Pena is a mechanical engineering senior conducting research in the FURI program. His research with Associate Professor Jay Oswald is exploring how 3D models and presentations help engineering students gain higher comprehension of fundamental concepts.
What made you want to get involved in FURI?
I wanted to get involved in this program because it provides financial support, which is always very much appreciated, but also because it provides a great experience for any college student trying to apply what they’re learning in class to things outside of class.
I failed the first time I took statics (the study of quantifying forces between two bodies), and it was due to my lack of being able to visualize concepts based on what I was exposed to in class alone. By being a part of this project, my goal is to potentially help students who are in the same position as I once was by giving them something to see in person.
How will your engineering research project impact the world?
By showing 3D models of static principles to sophomores, it will help them develop the methodology and thinking of an engineer early on in their career. The earlier students are able to understand the fundamentals, the more time they will have to grow their understanding or interests in more complex principles. This will help teach engineers to have better fundamentals, leading to a deeper and more comprehensive understanding, which can in turn benefit society.
How do you see this experience helping with your career goals?
I think this experience will help me grow professionally because I will be able to think on my own. The classes you take set a path that everyone takes together, whereas FURI allows you to create your own path with the help of your mentor. It also gives me a great conversation starter during interviews and something that sets me apart on job applications.
What is the best advice you’ve gotten from your faculty mentor?
Do not get too caught up with certain tasks. There have been some instances when I spent more time than I should have trying to perfect something when I could have stopped the previous day and it would have been more than enough. Especially when you are dealing with a project that involves multiple disciplines working together, you need to know when to move on with that specific task to focus on others. Time is something you cannot get more of, so using the limited time you have is crucial to anything you do.
Why should other students get involved in FURI?
FURI takes the knowledge and materials from your courses and applies them to real-life applications. Having this experience before you start working in industry or continuing your education is invaluable because it keeps you ahead. Being able to apply what you learned in class to real-life projects before you graduate will help you improve your professional career.