Undergraduate Research Program

Our department has a longstanding history of including our undergraduates in our laboratory research.  The Undergraduate Research Program was founded to provide students with invaluable research experience to prepare them for their transition into their future careers.  Students who are interested in this program can talk directly to the faculty members that they would like to work with about potentially obtaining one of these paid positions.  

Continue to check out our News for a different Undergraduate Research Profile each month and learn more about these driven young engineers!

Current undergraduate researchers (listed from left to right)
Front Row:Jaron Wallace, Daniel Azbill, Hyrum Lefler, Ben Thompson, Lauryn Hansen
Middle Row: Somnaang Rou, Taylor Smith, Jeshua Barnett, Matt Dunstan, Andrew Laroche
Back Row: Colton Allred, James Samual, Brandon Anglesey, Travis Willhard, Michael Englert

hyrum   hyrum

Casey Elliott

Who do you work for?

I work for Dr. Mano Misra under the direction of Dr. Krista Carlson and Dr. Swomitra Mohanty.

What do you do in the lab?

I research the use of titanium dioxide nanotubes for water purification which will benefit many without clean drinking water. I also work with students ranging from incoming freshman to the 4th graders in our outreach program which aims at teaching students about science and metallurgy. Lastly, I guide tours through the College of Mines and Earth sciences and the Roger and Dawn Crus Center for Renewable Energy.

What do you like to do outside the lab?

I readily enjoy the outdoors through rock climbing, skiing, and traveling. I have visited many places with limited access to clean drinking water and day to day necessities. I like to help others and pay back my community in any way possible. I am also in the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and enjoy doing philanthropy events, spending time with my fraternity brothers, and holding leadership positions.

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Chimedyudon (Yudko) Tsogdelger

Yudko is currently a sophomore in Metallurgical Engineering. Before coming to the U, she was studying Mineral Processing at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology.

Who do you work for?

I am working with Dr. Michael Free on two projects: Removal of impurities from titanium slag through leaching and development of better technology for corrosion minimization in pipelines. These projects should help me understand different methods of leaching and corrosion mitigation.

Why did you choose the Metallurgy program at the U?

As a recipient of the Rio Tinto-Oyu Tolgoi International Scholarship, Rio Tinto chose this university since it offers a high quality metallurgy program. In addition, faculty members devote their effort and precious time for students making sure students understand all the concepts.

What do you like to do outside the lab?

Currently, my fellow engineering students and I have formed a student group called “Frontier Mets.” Our goal is to work on various projects of interest and just have fun playing with science! In our first project we are trying to adapt metallurgical technology into space exploration, or in other words into a zero gravitational environment. We are looking forward to try experiments on a Zero-Gravity flight, which is funded through NASA. We are trying to develop and grow our group, so anyone who is interested is welcome to join! Feel free to contact me at yudko.tsogdelger@utah.edu if you would like to learn more!

 

hyrum hyrum

Hyrum Lefler

Who do you work for?

I have been working for the past 17months with Rio Tinto as a Process Engineer- Intern, on a Chalcopyrite Heap Leach Project on Kennecott's Bingham Canyon Mine-site.  But just two weeks ago my title was changed to Process Engineer-Work Study, and my pay was increased!

What do you do in your Internship?

In my work with Rio Tinto I spend about 30% of my time in the lab, 50% of my time in the office, and 10% out in the plant, on the heap, or in other areas of the mine.  Even though it is only a pilot project, it is still quite large, and I have had the amazing opportunity to work on virtually every aspect of a heap leaching operation as well as an solvent extraction and electrowinning operation,  I have been very involved in collection, analysis, and reporting of the operating data.  I have also worked on multiple experiments in the lab; being involved in designing, organizing, and doing the experiment, and then analyzing and reporting on the results.   I have written memos, standard operating procedures, job hazard analyses, safety isolation matrices, and many other documents relevant to an industrial operation. 

How do you feel your research experience is helping supplement your classwork and/or preparing you for your future career?

My experience as an Intern has been invaluable.  In particular, it has helped me to recognize the relevance of the course subjects I am learning in the Metallurgical Engineering program, and it has prepared me for a successful career as a Metallurgist by exposing me to the "real world" of engineering.

Why did you choose the Metallurgy program at the U?

I chose for both practical and exciting reasons.  My practical reasoning was that it is fundamental engineering that is used to fuel and drive our economy, so there will always be a need for it, and I will be able to provide for my family over the long-term.  My more exciting reason for choosing Metallurgy has to do with my desire to make a difference in the world.  Metals play an indispensable role in our modern era, and their importance will only increase as we face ever greater challenges and opportunities.  There is so much room for advancement and new ideas... all that is needed are dedicated and skilled engineers!

What do you like to do outside the lab?

When I am not working or studying, I enjoy running, hiking, camping, reading, and traveling.  I also have a deep interest in politics and social issues, and enjoy serving others wherever I can.

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Matt Dunstan

Who do you work for?

I work for Zak Fang

What do you do in the lab?

Research titanium hydride sintering. Specifically with applying the porcess to larger parts like automotive parts and ballistic armor.

How do you feel your research experience is helping supplement your classwork and/or preparing you for the real world?

The research work I do is the link between theory and practice. I see actual applications of what i have learned in class which solidifies and broadens my understanding of metals.

Why did you choose the Metallurgy program at the U?

I have always been curious about metals and their alloys. When I was younger I did some tin smithing and black smithing and had decided to become a welder for a career. It was by chance that an acquaintance of mine mentioned the metallurgy department here at the University of Utah. I talked with the academic adviser at the time and I was hooked.

What do you like to do outside the lab?

I spend time with my wife and 1 year old daughter.

I did an internship for Williams International During the summer of 2013 in Walled Lake Michigan.

Lauryn in LabLauryn Hansen

Who do you work for?

I work for Dr. Mano Misra under the direction of Dr. Krista Carlson and Dr. Swomitra Mohanty.

What do you do in the lab?

I fabricate TiO2 nanotubes via anodization of titanium metal. These nanotubes are used in a variety of technologies from photocatalytic applications to sensors used for disease detection in the body. I also work in the Roger and Dawn Crus Center for Renewable Energy and help in outreach activities for the Metallurgy program.

How do you feel your research experience is helping supplement your classwork and/or preparing you for the real world?

My research experience has taught me how to logically develop experiments, improved my group work skills, and given me the opportunity to work towards having my research published as an undergraduate.

Lauryn in boat

Why did you choose the Metallurgy program at the U?

I chose this Metallurgy program because I am fascinated by the vast applications of metals in our world.  I initially looked at the U because I am a Utah native and wanted to stay close to home; however, I finally decided on our program as it offers a unique experience due to small class sizes, many scholarship opportunities and undergraduate research opportunities. 

What do you like to do outside the lab?

I love to spend time with my partner and family, I enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities, and am very passionate about social justice.  I work with student groups such as the Social Justice Advocates, student government, and the Queer Advocacy and Social Justice Think Tank to raise awareness, educate, and participate in direct action efforts to make change in our community.