Graduate School

Posted on 8:23 AM by Schottler

I haven't really talked about what it is I do besides riding bikes and being injured. I graduated May 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri. I took fall 2009 off to relax, train, race, and work at the bike shop full time... learning the 'life' isn't all it's cracked up to be. I will say that my first couple years in school I just wanted to be done, with a goal of passing courses and getting a job right out of school to make the big bucks. This lead to pretty bad grades and an eventual understanding of how the real world works, a big dollar job wasn't waiting for me at the end of the tunnel. So, I set a goal to take a detour around the tunnel and take the climb to eventually reach the job I want.

I got excited about the possibly of graduate school from learning through friends in school and those in the the BOCOMO peloton. Although my last couple years of dedication in classes significantly raised my GPA, it wasn't at the 'required' level for graduate school. So, I had to take the GRE. My test taking skills are some of the worst around, but somehow I left them at home that day and blew the math section of the test away, giving MU a reason to accept me. I started my Master of Science in mechanical engineering January 2010. MU offers waived tuition and a stipend through teaching assistance and research assistance. I was lucky enough to land both of them, giving me enough money to live on and getting nearly free education. Both of my advisors have taken a significant interest in what I have been doing with my research, it's as though they haven't come across many people that have a good work ethic with a tenacious personality. This will eventually lead me to graduating with my Master of Science in 1.5 years, a semester or two quicker than predicted.

My Master of Science research in mechanical engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia includes computational 3D modeling, simulation, and optimization of biomedical devices. Finite element analysis is conducted on bone screws in various loading scenarios using ABAQUS, followed by optimizing the thread profile for specific applications. Modeling ACL reconstruction in a femur with in-house synthesized hydroxyapatite nanocomposite bone cement is also research in progress. In addition to the modeling and finite element analysis, I am working on synthesizing a bioabsorbable polymer-ceramic nanocomposite to be used in various biomedical devices, including bone screws. This material is created in-house, followed by injection molding of the material to be used for ASTM 3-point bending and tensile testing.

Once completing my Masters by the end of the summer, I will be continuing on to PhD research. My advisor wants me to stay and continue what we are doing, which isn't a bad deal, but I am still interested in a school I have always wanted to attend. University of Colorado-Boulder. I just submitted my application into the mechanical engineering bioengineering PhD program. My advisor isn't very happy about the possibility of me leaving, but still supports my goals. I am happy in Columbia, I have met a lot of friends, and have some great memories. But, a change in scenery would be nice, and Boulder is at the top of the list.

But anyway, I have never liked school. I have despised exams, grades, and reading books. Yet, somehow I have taken an interest to grad school. It takes a good work ethic and dedication, which I have always had. Grades aren't important, it's all research based. I have gone from a mediocre grade school student to entering Mizzou as an engineering student starting in the lowest level math class the University had to offer, intermediate algebra. I was warned that I may not make it through the courses and to have a backup plan. I ended up graduating with a math minor and am now going to start pursuing a PhD, hopefully at the bike racing/training capital of the country. It's safe to say I am happy with the path I'm riding on.


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