Chapter 9: Working with a Faculty Mentor

One of the main things about Research Rookies is the opportunity to work with a faculty mentor. This chance is by far one of the more unique aspects of the program because it is so helpful for the student. By working with a faculty mentor, you get the opportunity to work alongside someone distinguished in their field, which is something you would not find at other universities.My favorite thing about working with my mentor is that he is there to help me when I need it but still gives me the opportunity to try to solve a problem by myself. My progress is going alright, I am not as far along as I would like but that is because of time constraints. I am going to be putting more of my free time into catching up on my project along with the time I had allocated to it originally.

My first semester as a peer leader was an interesting experience. I had not had the opportunity to guide a small group of highly motivated students before and it has helped me realize some things about myself. I felt like I was able to help them through issues they were having with their research and assorted other tasks, like the proposal, but I tended to come up short on trying to find engaging things for the small group meetings. This semester I’m going to try to be more proactive with small group meetings.


Ch. 8: The Ups and Downs of Research

Some of the easier things I have done include things like coloring and solving basic derivatives and integrals. In this list, research is not to be found. I feel this is good because research has its challenging moments and from those moments come a rewarding experience and feeling. The most difficult thing I have found about research rookies is the amount of extra work that goes into it and the time commitment that goes with this work.

Research is what you make of it. When large amounts of effort is placed, the amount of learning is also increased. Unfortunately, with more involvement comes conflicts with time and I have found that becoming better at time management has been a struggle for me personally. My most rewarding feeling though for research has been reaching the end point of my first year of research. Getting to present at URAD not only felt great but was a rare opportunity that is not presented to all undergraduates.

Ch. 7 – The Research Rookie Reception

We had the Research Rookie Reception at the end of the semester and everything went quite well. This year went much smoother than last year and that could be attributed to the change in format. This was probably my favorite part of it because not only did it look more professional but it made it easier on the all the research rookies. I was not too nervous about my speech because I had time to practice it and I find it easier when talking to someone than giving it in front of an audience.

Ch. 6 The Small Group

   Working as a small group mentor has been a rewarding experience. At first I was nervous about the extra responsibility of helping new research rookies with any issues they were having. Thankfully it wasn’t as difficult as I expected. All of the members of my small group are highly motivated and this does help a lot for me.
   My favorite part is just the opportunity to help the new research rookies make a  good foundation in the field of research.
   The most difficult part was trying to find a good time for our small group meetings. Because everyone is involved in multiple groups, finding an overlapping time was not the easiest. Besides that all of my initial worries were for naught.

Ch. 5 – Smooth

     Everything is going well now in my research. I had a couple hiccups early but I’ve sorted those out. It started off as I wad trying to get a command line program to run with the simulation software (g4beamline) on my windows operating system. It turns out that the command line program is a nightmare to use so we moved to using a virtual linux system. I’ve been able to get g4beamline to work and I have been learning how to use an analysis software along with learn more about linux.

     The first group meeting went extremely well. We decided to go to Ollie’s over in Sycamore. On an aside, I highly recommended going. But we discusses how everyone’s research was going and how classes are. I think the only thing different I’d like to change for the next group meeting would be to change the activity because I thought it went quite well and an indoor activity might be preferred because of the cooling weather.

Chapter 4: Here We Go Again

Research Rookies is up and going once again and this year is looking to be more rewarding than last year. My project changed a bit since what I thought I would be doing  last year. I will be making a computer simulation for a test beam at FermiLab this first semester. Next semester I will hopefully be able to get to go to Fermi and be apart of the straw tube testing.

I also have the pleasure of being a peer mentor this year. It’s a lot different than last year because I’m now responsible in helping 4 other students meet theor deadlines in conjunction with doing my project. I look forward to this because it is a grwat leadership opportunity. I am a little worried with my time management as my project is more invested and I have other responsibilities

Chapter 3.1: The Research Process Continued

I am currently finishing optimizing the equipment for the cosmic rays and will soon be taking cosmic ray data from around Faraday Hall and La Tourette. I’ll be taking data from around the building because the amount of cosmic rays that hits the sensors depends on the surroundings, e.g. near windows will increase cosmic ray hits. Thankfully, the test stand has wheels which will allow it to be easy to cart around. I am still learning more about what will be done next and how discrepencies will be applied such as energy loss through matter and how to account for noise probability for the cosmic rays. (Noise is when the equipment will read out a cosmic ray hit when it actually isn’t. This happens at a certain probability and this probability can be calculated for the chance that it occurs in every sensor.

Working with my faculty mentor has been extremely helpful to me and luckily I also have the opportunity to work with Dr. Eads, another professor who works in high energy physics. This is beneficial because it gives me multiple people to seek help from and guide me in the research process. They are also both up to date on current data analysis techniques and programs that will help with the analysis.

Chapter 3: The Research Experience

My research opportunity has been a very interesting experience so far. I thought it would be difficult learning about the equipment but I started my research by testing the equipment. This gave me the opportunity to learn what each piece of the equipment does. The most challenging part of the research process has been learning about the different aspects of the muon and how each piece of equipment helps in the muon detection process. The most rewarding feeling is when the equipment being testedworks as planned.

Chapter 2: The Research Project

With the research rookie program in full swing, I will be spending my first year of Research Rookies working on the construction of a cosmic ray stand to assist in the testing of straw tubes for the “g-2” experiment at Fermilab. My project is part of a larger portion of research and development that Dr. Hedin is working on in conjunction of with the experiment at Fermilab. This project excites me because it allows me to contribute to an experiment at a national laboratory and will introduce me into research in experimental physics with a project that I will be able to understand. I was initially worried that I would not be able to comprehend the project but as I continue to meet with Dr. Hedin, I am understanding more of the specifics of the project.

Chapter 1.2: Completing the Selection Process

Although I had a tough decision, I decided to work with Dr. Hedin on his project concerning muons.