PASCAL: Physics and Aerospace Student-Centered Acoustics Laboratory
Brigham Young University emphasizes creating a world-class undergraduate educational experience. The Department of Physics and Astronomy couples rigorous classroom instruction with an in-depth research experience culminating in a senior thesis or capstone report. Within the Acoustics Research Group, we have emphasized the creation of student teams: faculty working with both graduate and undergraduate students, and the graduate students serving as peer mentors for the undergraduate students. (You can find some of my thoughts on research mentoring here and here.)
The name of our research group emphasizes the student experience and I strive to make it student-centered. Student development is at least as important as the knowledge we discover and I emphasize student connections with faculty colleagues and external collaborators.
Much of the research fits under the broad umbrellas of physical acoustics and noise, two of the technical areas of the Acoustical Society of America. I'm also involved in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Institute of Noise Control Engineering. In addition to external research funds, PASCAL has been supported by multiple mentoring grants from the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, made possible by generous donors.
PASCAL typically consists of 3-6 graduate students and around 10 undergraduate students.
The PASCAL framework has resulted in significant scholarship by undergraduate students. At last count (Feb 2022), undergraduate students appear on at least 80 publications (many first-authored) and have given well over 100 presentations at regional, national, and international conferences. Graduate student opportunities for scholarship also increase as they assist in mentoring undergraduate students.
Undergraduates interested in being a part of PASCAL research should attend weekly Acoustics Research Group meetings (Thursdays at 4 pm in C261 ESC during F/W semesters), and then speak to Dr. Gee about getting involved.