Provost's Fellow Michael Stehnach
Mechanical engineering Ph.D. candidate Michael Stehnach has been named a 2016 Provost's Fellow.
How did you become interested in fluid mechanics and microfluidics?
I took my first fluid dynamics class during the spring semester of my sophomore year at Merrimack College. During the class, I was very fascinated with how fluids behaved and I realized this is the concentration I wanted to focus on. I found myself reading and watching videos on different topics related to fluid dynamics in my spare time because it fascinated me. To be honest, I did not know much about microfluidics before meeting Dr. Guasto. When I was contacted by Dr. Guasto in the spring semester, he told me about his research and it seemed very interesting so I looked into it and I knew this would be a very interesting topic to do research in.
What kind of research have you worked on in this area? What are the broader implications of your research?
What research topics do you think you might pursue?
I am not sure exactly what research topics I might pursue, though I am sure whatever I end up working on will be very interesting and I will love doing it. I think it would be very interesting if I can work with either the School of Medicine or the School of Veterinary Medicine. If I could help people or animals in any way, that would be awesome. Whatever research I conduct, I want it to help people and make the world a better place.
What made Tufts the right choice for you?
Tufts made me feel wanted. I completed my undergraduate degree at Merrimack College, which is a small school in North Andover, MA. At Merrimack, all the professors really cared about making sure the students understood the material, which allowed me to get a solid fundamental base in the field of mechanical engineering. When I was applying to graduate schools, I knew I wanted to attend a larger research school. When I say larger, Merrimack had just under 3,000 students, so I just wanted a school with more people. Also, I wanted to make sure the school I was attending had interesting research. When I visited Tufts for admitted students’ day, I got a good feeling when I was walking around and I knew it was the school I wanted to attend.
Once you finish your degree program, what would you ultimately like to be doing with your time?
I am not sure if I will want to work in industry or academia when I finish my degree. However, when I get older, I would like to work in academia. When I get my degree, I would be very happy working in a national lab or at a university conducting research.
What does having this fellowship and the financial support mean to your ability to pursue a graduate education?
I knew I wanted to pursue a career in research so I knew I wanted to go to graduate school. However, having this fellowship and the financial support means I do not have to have take out any more loans and I will be able to live in the Medford area on my stipend. It is a good feeling knowing I am financially stable and do not have to live off my parents anymore.