Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My summer at Northeastern University

This summer I had the opportunity to work with Professor Hashemi in the mechanical engineering department at Northeastern University. Our research was focused on the study of failure modes of thin lightweight sandwich structures. Even though I found various aspects of the project to be time consuming/tedious manual labor, I had a great time using different machines within the engineering laboratory. Some of the machines were so big and powerful that one felt empowered when using them. Between my research project, a long commute from Nashua, NH, the weekly assigned readings, and the Google postings, I found myself overwhelmed at times. Although it was a very intense six week commitment for the summer, at the end I felt it was well worth it. This experience has been enlightening and rejuvenating in many ways. Will I do it again? Absolutely!

I have done several other RET programs in the past, but I consider my experience at Northeastern one of the best opportunities I have had throughout my teaching career. What made this program so enlightening was the blend of authentic research experience with professional development. Previous to this program I have not had formal education classes, so I certainly learned valuable education theory in the professional development sessions. I remember how excited I felt when reading the assigned chapters of How Students Think. As I read, a pool of ideas came to me on how to develop more inquiry-based learning experiences for my students.

As I reflect back on my experience this summer, I am grateful I had the opportunity. I look forward to exposing my students to my research experience during this summer and enlightening their minds with more inquiry based lessons.

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