Learning actively through undergraduate research
The School of Engineering grants undergraduate students the possibility to conduct research alongside faculty members.
To promote a smooth transition from passive to active learning, undergraduate students at LAU’s Department of Industrial and Mechanical Engineering are being initiated into professional research through collaboration with faculty members.
“Research experience teaches you to ask yourself the right questions,” says Hussein Bassma, a graduating student at LAU who has been working alongside assistant professor Charbel Mansour. Their research, entitled ‘Adaptive Energy Management Strategy for Hybrid Vehicles Using Energetic Macroscopic Representation,’ is successfully formulating a new hybrid vehicle that consumes 20 percent less fuel than the ones currently on the market.
“I had to learn to be very accurate, because the results will be published,” says Bassma. His goal is to enrol in a master’s degree program in automotive engineering at the University of Birmingham. “The publication will kick off my career and could make all the difference on my CV,” he says.
This is what happened to his former colleague Walid Baroud, who was accepted for a master’s in powertrain engineering. “If it hadn’t been for the research I conducted at LAU, I would probably not have gotten into one of the top schools in France,” says Baroud, who also received a scholarship to continue his studies.
According to Baroud, hands-on research taught him that information which might seem irrelevant at first glance could prove valuable later on. Delving deeper into the complexities of different kinds of engines also honed his knowledge of the field he would later specialize in.
“Research is a fundamental aspect of education,” says Michel Khoury, associate professor at and chairman of the department and is himself a tutor in undergraduate research. “I believe we are among the few, if not the only ones in Lebanon, to engage our students in such endeavors, giving those who are interested in pursuing a master’s degree a head start over their peers.”
Among the topics researched at LAU are wind turbines, ambulation methods for patients with spinal injuries, dynamic programming and others. Each final year student with a minimum GPA of 3.0 has the opportunity to be considered for collaboration with a professor conducting a study of interest, and who will be responsible for one-on-one tutoring and distributing assignments.
“I believe this is why LAU is excelling in research,” says Bassma, “because faculty members and the student body join forces to produce the best possible outcome.”
Click here for more information about the undergraduate student research topics.