“Typically, when we talk about research we think about graduate students, but that is changing,” says Sastry Pamidi, a professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Pamidi wants students to know about the undergraduate research opportunities available at the college, which is located close to several affiliated world-renowned research centers.
“Right now we have 20 paid undergraduates from the college at the Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS),” Pamidi says. “There are numerous benefits for undergraduates who engage in research. They can learn valuable skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and have the opportunity to work within research teams. They also develop the soft skills of communication, being part of team and networking.”
Taylor Stamm, an undergraduate electrical engineering student at the college, now entering his third year at CAPS. His research involves high-power density electrical devices that are cryogenically cooled by gaseous helium. He has collaborated on several related research topics and co-authored several international conference and journal publications during his time there.
Stamm recently was invited to present his research at a recent CAPS Industry Advisory Board meeting. The board, made up of senior executives and industry leaders from large companies, works with the center to advise on industry needs and research projects. For Stamm, presenting his research to industry leaders was exactly the type of experience that can help him succeed.
“When I used to interview for jobs, companies would ask me what separates me from everyone else,” Stamm said. “Ever since I started my research at CAPS, suddenly employers are really showing an interest in me. This kind of experience has made me stand out. My experience at CAPS has been completely different from what I get in the classroom. Instead of studying how things work in classes, everything is hands-on at CAPS. I get to see the physical changes firsthand. My grades have skyrocketed since starting at CAPS.”
Stamm plans to pursue a master’s degree and hopes to further develop his understanding of power systems. He is well underway to do that with the experience of two internships on his resume. Stamm works with Pamidi and other research group members Peter Cheetham, Ph.D. and Chul Han Kim, Ph.D., both research faculty at CAPS, as well as graduate students and several fellow undergraduates at the facility.
There are several research centers near the college that offer undergraduate access to advanced research facilities. Students have the backing of a strong, diverse college and the support of research faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students. This impressive resume is just what industry is looking for and is part of what sets FAMU-FSU Engineering undergraduate students apart from the field—offering many options after graduation.