The undergraduate engineering students of Northeastern University are offered an opportunity to participate in paid and volunteer research experiences. These experiences are regulated by training and mentoring conducted by faculty members and engineering industry leaders. One such student is Kassi Stein who also had a long passion for research. It is due to her participation in the Gordon Scholars Program that she started pursuing this passion seriously.
The work of Gordon Scholars involves participating in leadership council meetings and attending workshops held by the Bernard M. Gordon Centre for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging System. Kassi’s first research-based task was given by an associate director of Gordon-CenSSIS. She was asked to investigate how thousands of trees are destroyed when Asian longhorn beetles bore deep inside them. She had to refer to many books to bring out information on it.
About the goal of the research, Kassi said that she wished to develop a radar with sensors, which when wrapped around the tree would display the inside of the trunk. This leads to determining the existence of beetle infestation holes. She wanted to find the best sensor configuration that would identify the holes so that she could test the device into the field.
The infestation of a particular infested tree leads to uprooting other trees surrounding it because of the mere guess that even they could be infested. Rappaport said that this tool could help to save trees by giving foresters a non-invasive tool to detect an infestation. Hence, Kassi’s work was really appreciated. Though it was difficult for a freshman to involve in such a difficult project, Kassi says that the experience she had was incredible and was also rewarding. Research works exactly in this way. It is not just about taking a topic and going into the depths of it but also venturing out into finding something unique and new.
“I feel drawn to researching and taking something that there’s not much knowledge about and trying to solve a problem,” said Kassi.