REU Experiences

SRP Week 9

Blog 9: Week of 8/3/18

Andrew Brown reporting in once again and this time for the last time. This week was the wrapping up week. It has been relaxing as stressful all at the same time.

On Monday I worked all day putting the final touches on my poster. It was due at 5:00 p.m., and I turned it in around 4:50. I was relieved to have finished and felt like I did a pretty good job, but I could not shake the feeling that I had missed something. On Tuesday I came in and examined the copy I had submitted. It was then that I noticed that I had subtracted two values in my central equation in the wrong order.

I spent the rest of Tuesday writing documentation for the work I did this summer and trying to write my paper due next Tuesday. On Wednesday we went to a group seminar in the morning. On the way back from the seminar Jason pointed out to me that Dr. Duncan had emailed us the week before letting us know that we had to present our posters to each other on Wednesday. I spent the hour left to me in the morning preparing for the presentation. I think it turned out pretty well. My presentation went a little bit over time, but I showed that I knew what I was talking about, which was good.

The rest of Wednesday and most of Thursday I finished my documentation (8 pages in all!). On Thursday afternoon I started working on my paper in earnest. I had tried to make some headway in the evenings, but the words just would not come. To add to this frustration, it took me two and a half hours on Thursday afternoon to figure out how to make my LateX document compile with the BibTeX included. After hours of banging my head against this wall it turned out that my problem was that I had white space in the document’s title – very frustrating.

Today I have spent all day working on my paper, and I have actually made some headway! Chandima has been helping me to wrap my head around exactly what I want to say and exactly how our distributed controller differs from a normal distributed controller.

This weekend I have to finish the paper, pack, and prepare for the poster presentations on Monday and Tuesday. The summer has been a great experience. I have learned a lot about what I am looking for in a research lab based off of the positive things I have seen here. The people in the lab make for a great work atmosphere, and the subject matter, drones, makes time spent in the lab interesting and rewarding. I was loath to leave home for the summer, but after living through my time at UNL, I do not regret leaving one bit.

I have no idea what my future holds, but I know this summer has been instrumental in preparing me for it, and I am excited to see what comes next!

REU Experiences

REU Ninth Week

The poster sessions are approaching as we near the tenth and final week. I put the finishing touches on my poster on Monday and sent it off to print at the Pixel Lab on campus. Then it was time to start my first research paper. It was tough getting started and finding the motivation to write, but once I read a few papers and started writing it became easier. I continued to work on the paper for the entire week and was able to finish a rough draft by the time Friday came around. On Wednesday all five of us REU students gave a presentation of our poster to Dr. Duncan to get some feedback on our poster along with our description of the data that our poster portrays. We now set out to the final week where we have a poster session on Monday for the engineering department and a poster session on Tuesday for the entire Summer Research Program.

REU Experiences

A nifty nine

This is my last week at Nimbus and I’m pretty bummed I won’t be working with a lot of the people I met here again. We gave practice presentations earlier this week and I was pretty impressed by all the work the other REU students got done and how nice their presentations are. The people who worked in the field, Amy and Jason, got some pretty nice work done and their presentations were super cool to hear about, especially since I’ve only been chatting with them about their work casually all summer. It’s pretty exciting to be going home so soon, too; I miss the mountains, blue lakes, and Oregon. But, I know when I get back home I’ll miss the students in my lab as well as the friends I made here. Tonight, we’re going on a bike ride to this forested area about 30 or 45 minutes away. It’s the same one from week two or three and the few of us who went then want to share the pretty bridge and canopied trails with the students who didn’t make it last time. We’re all trying to shove as much social time as possible into these last four days in Nebraska.

I got to learn so much this summer. Foremost, I learned about being my own advocate as I work on a project that I don’t know much about. The hardest part for me is knowing when something is big enough or complicated enough to ask someone about, and then figuring just who I should go and ask. Beyond the different tech I got to work with (ROS, C++, etc.), I also got to become a more independent researcher, knowing which online forums I should go to searching for information about my project, from the ACM library to Google Scholar to Stack Overflow. I also got some helpful take aways for what work environments I will enjoy in the future, easing the process of narrowing down grad school in the next two years. I’m happy to have the extra bullet points on my resume but am more excited about the experience I’ve gained and the friends I’ve made.

It’ll be a bittersweet goodbye to Nebraska and NIMBUS at the going-away coffee event the professors organized for us. Lucky me; I’ll have the opportunity to stay in touch and continue writing about the research this summer after I leave Nebraska. I really look forward to seeing where this interesting research goes.