Undergraduate Research Explorer
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Ainsley Ross-Howe

Ainsley is a third-year Mechanical Engineering student in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. She participated in a summer research assistantship with Professor Alison Olechowski’s Ready Lab in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. For her main project, Ainsley used data from a high school design competition to explore different patterns of behaviors among computer-aided design users and how these patterns might relate to a team’s success.

Through her extensive reading and by interacting with graduate students, Ainsley was introduced to ideas and topics she was previously unfamiliar with. She also learned more about qualitative and quantitative research methods and improved her technical understanding of data processing and statistical analysis.

Importantly, Ainsley shared that she gained independent learning strategies, as she “learned how to approach open-ended problems more effectively, and how to leverage the different resources available to me such as academic literature more effectively.” She attributes her improvement in this area specifically to her experience as a research assistant:

“I think learning how to solve problems independently is something unique to research experience. It can be quite challenging approaching a new problem without a structured understanding of how to find a solution, but it really pushes you to think critically about the topics you’re studying and get creative.”

Ainsley thoroughly enjoyed her time doing research; she especially appreciates the impact that community-engaged research can have on the engineering community and education. She is interested in continuing her research journey and completing an undergraduate thesis in her fourth year, and then continuing onto graduate studies. Ainsley is particularly interested in exploring new and potentially interdisciplinary areas of research.

Research Type(s): Research Assistantships