Union junior Gabriel Hyde said his recent tour of the OSU-Tulsa Helmerich Research Center has revealed new opportunities for pursuing his goal of becoming an engineer.
“This has definitely been intriguing, especially when I saw all the research they are doing here. I have decided I want to get my degree here after seeing everything,” he said. “I love the people too. They are very nice and very smart.”
He was among a large group of Tulsa Tech pre-engineering students from high schools throughout the Tulsa area who got to see the laboratories and meet faculty and students last Friday at the home of the OSU School of Materials Science and Engineering. Previous Tulsa Tech groups toured the HRC last fall.
Tulsa Tech instructors Elaine Clark and Denise Kimblern accompanied the students on the tour.
“All of our students have expressed great interest in engineering,” Clark said. “As part of the national engineering program, Project Lead the Way, we want to ensure that our students know about the educational opportunities here in Tulsa that can help prepare them for careers.”
Ron Knight, academic coordinator for the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology at OSU-Tulsa, said outreach to high school students who have already shown an interest in engineering is important so they know their educational options and the path to reaching their goals.
“The tours of the Helmerich Research Center help high school students understand that some pretty impressive research is taking place right in their own back yard,” he said. “The tours also give high school students the opportunity to become comfortable interacting with faculty and graduate students and to imagine themselves pursuing a degree here.”
While at the HRC, students learned about several educational options, including taking basic college courses at Tulsa Community College then completing a bachelor’s degree program and pursuing graduate studies in the materials science and engineering program at OSU-Tulsa.
OSU-Tulsa engineering degrees include an undergraduate program in mechanical engineering and graduate programs in environmental, industrial, materials science, mechanical and aerospace engineering.
During the students’ visit, Dr. Feng Lu, research scientist and manager of the HRC’s Advanced Materials Characterization Center or Core Labs, took students on a tour of the secured labs at the Helmerich Research Center that few get to see.
He showed them the physical property measurement system that contains the ‘strongest magnet in the state’ and can generate a magnetic field 14,000 times stronger than that of the Earth. Lu also pointed out the scanning electron microscope that uses an electron beam for magnifications of up to a million times.
“It was fun to go through and learn about all the things you can do in engineering,” said Jenks High School junior Hayden Hilst.
Jonathan Gonzales, an HRC research manager who showed students the silicon lab where computer chip research is conducted, said it is probably the “cleanest clean room in the state.”
“It has to be clean because even the slightest bit of dust can destroy the construction of a silicon computer chip,” he said.
Michael Segnar, a senior from Bixby High School, said he was impressed with the research at the HRC.
“This is pretty interesting,” said Michael Segnar, a senior from Bixby High School. “It just tells me I am on the right track to becoming an engineer.”