William Agnew was eager to get the most out of his undergraduate education, so he got involved in research in his first year at UC Irvine. This experience has given him a hands-on opportunity to more deeply understand the knowledge he has gained in his classes. In addition, Williamís research has sparked an interest in pursuing further education, and he is looking forward to moving on to a Ph.D. program after he graduates. UROP is pleased to recognize William for demonstrating the many benefits research can bring to an undergraduate education.

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?

For the past four years, I worked within Dr. William Tang's Micro-biomechanics laboratory, focusing on inventing novel solutions to today's cardiovascular diseases. Currently, I am excited to say, I am investigating cardiac arrhythmias and, specifically, alternative energy generation capabilities to prolong the lifetime of current pacemaker devices.

2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I started research in my first year (2015) and met Dr. Tang at an Engineering Student Council Faculty Panel where I was able to hear about both his research interests and his involvement with his undergraduate researchers. I was thrilled to hear both! I was especially excited to learn about his research into the cardiovascular system and his dedication to helping his undergraduate students grow as researchers.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

Especially in Engineering, many times we learn about the intricate equations in physics or in math, yet often we do not see the output or potential for these classes in real-life applications. Research has helped to solidify my education learning experience by tying it to medical device design and manufacturing. Being involved in the research process has also encouraged me to look into higher education, something I originally excluded as a possibility.

4. What has been your favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

Leading my own research project. Often when you enter the research process, you are paired with a graduate student and this is a great resource for mentorship and guidance during the project. Yet the most satisfying experience has been the ability to invent my own project, pitch it to my professor, and now lead a team in completing its device design.

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

I hope to apply to graduate school: UCI's Ph.D. program, and other Ph.D. programs, to build the technical skills to translate to the medical device industry. Research has prepared me for this decision because it has allowed me the opportunity to see if I would enjoy the laboratory experience and the opportunity to investigate new ideas.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

(1) Get started as soon as possible! At least the first year will be attempting to just understand the project; however, if you invest time into a lab, there are multiple rewards, from publishing papers, creating patents, or graduate school opportunities. (2) The first steps: find out what you are interested in and find a professor doing research in that field! Then read a paper from their website and try to meet with them in person to discuss the paper. This not only shows initiative but a passion for research which will help you stand out if you are interested in the research process.

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '19 Aneesah Syeda Akbar
Nov. '19 Jennifer Fong
Oct. '19 Amanda Woodworth
Sep. '19 Yvette Sanders
Aug. '19 Amber Marie Obenshain
Jul. '19 Gurleen Samra
Jun. '19 Yiwei Gong
May. '19 William Gerald Smith
Apr. '19 Emeizmi Mandagi
Mar. '19 Whitney Zhang
Feb. '19 William Agnew
Jan. '19 Sarah Mahoney