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Department News

The Many Faces of IMMERSE-X

IMMERSE-X Students

IMMERSE-X is an undergraduate research program at BYU designed for students from other institutions. This year we have seventeen researchers in the program, and they hail from as far as India, China, or Taiwan or as close as Utah, California, or Arizona.

The student researchers work as teaching assistants and lab assistants for various professors in the department. The experience they gain during their time here at BYU sets them up for graduate school and future research opportunities.

Sierra King, a student from Utah State University said, “IMMERSE-X made sense for my career development. I wanted real experience that would both serve my engineering thinking well as well as open up future employment opportunities. Wherever my career or life may take me, I want skills that I can use in any season to bless me, my family, and the teams I am a part of. I hope to develop capacities now that can always be called upon.” King is working in the Smart Antenna Systems Lab on a project that involves sending antennas to the far side of the moon to detect deep space signals. Her task involves designing circuits that enhance signals without distortion, making them easier to study.

Another student researcher from BYU Idaho, Caleb Hall, chose IMMERSE-X because of his interest in biomedical engineering. “I wanted to work on medical devices, but I was having difficulties finding related internships. In one of my classes the professor mentioned IMMERSE, which I decided to look into and saw that there were biomedical engineering opportunities available. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for me, and one I didn't want to miss out on.” Hall is working on a reclining chair that will study the effects of whole-body vibration on people who are in chronic pain. The system will move the vibration across the body, track the subject’s level of focus using eye tracking, and integrate it in a way that a lab assistant could easily operate.

Other students are working on projects ranging from underwater robotics and sonar mapping to designing circuit boards that will be used to transmit radio waves. Each student brings a unique perspective and set of skills to their research projects. Many of the students also co-author research papers based on their work.

IMMERSE-X students seek out the program not only because of the opportunity for research, but also for the community and support that it provides. Over the course of the summer, there are activities for the students to meet one another, such as the recent hike to the Y.

Carson Coleman, a student in the program, shared, “I am still trying to figure out exactly what branch I want to study, but I hope wherever I decide to go, it will make a difference in the world.” Many of Coleman’s fellow researchers share the desire to use their engineering skills to benefit the community around them, and look forward to accomplishing future goals, such as attending graduate school or working on specific research and development projects. Whether they will spend their careers developing new medical devices or new computer chips, we are certain that they will make a difference wherever they are.