Blog & Events

My GLUE Experience

December 10, 2013

By Miriam Laleye, Sophomore Aerospace Engineering Student

Headshot of Miriam LalayeWhen I decided to apply for the Graduates Linked with Undergraduates in Engineering (GLUE) Program, at first it was to learn more about the scope of my major, Aerospace Engineering. I chose my major because I developed a high interest in aircrafts when I was in high school; however, I never had the opportunity to compare my expectations with the reality of the field. I hoped that the GLUE experience would grant me the opportunity to learn more about my major, and be able to judge whether or not it was actually what I thought, what I wanted, and what was best for me.

I also believed that experiencing research at this early stage of my studies would help me to know better how I felt about research and about graduate school. In sum, I hoped that at the end of this experience in the GLUE program, I would be more knowledgeable about my career goals. At the end of the course, I could definitely say that my expectations were met.

We were asked to complete a certain set of tasks that I found very interesting or somewhat challenging. We had to design and present a poster, interview a faculty member and present our research projects in class. The most challenging but also the most exciting assignment was the conception and the presentation of the poster. It was my very first time designing a research poster, and I enjoyed every piece of it. I also had the opportunity to interview a faculty. During the interview, Dr. Lightsey told me a lot of facts about his career as a professor and also encouraged me to remain very enthusiastic about learning.

Learning from my graduate mentor Katharine Brumbaugh and experiencing research was very rewarding. I use the Fault Tree Analysis to draw a chart that would illustrate the relations between different types of failures within a spacecraft. I felt useful when I realized that it was going to be part of her project. I learned a lot about some of my flaws and how to deal with them. I discovered the importance of keeping track of everything continuously and consistently in research. It is also very important to have a plan and start early. Another huge benefit of the Program is the proximity to a graduate student, which helps to have a clearer picture of what graduate school entails. Now, I know how challenging graduate school can be. I still want to go to graduate school, even more than before. I do know that it will require a lot of effort and that one has to start preparing very early but I am already highly motivated and inspired to work hard.

We had to give presentations many times throughout the semester. At the beginning, I used to get very intimidated and nervous. I am now a lot more familiar with public speaking. Also, it was very interesting to learn about other peoples' research projects. I want to believe that it all made us more aware of what is happening in the departments of the Cockrell School of Engineering. We were encouraged to give each other comments for our final presentations. Peer critique was definitely very useful in those circumstances. We also had panels and invited guest sections of the seminar, which were one of my very favorite activities of the class. I enjoyed them a lot because it was always very interactive and entertaining.

I am glad that I got to participate in the GLUE Program. I think that it is a valuable opportunity given to undergraduate students. I learned a lot while taking the course, about research, about graduate school, about the academic profession, about classes I will have to take in the future, and even about myself. Obviously, this has been an irreplaceable experience.