Montana State University Team - "Red Haze"
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Wm. Randall Babbitt, Physics Department
My name is Jacob McDonald, and I am a Physics major in my second year at Montana State University. Throughout high school, I enjoyed many different scientific competitions, from the FIRST Robotics Competition which I was a programmer for, to the Science Olympiads also hosted at MSU-Bozeman. I was very active in these sorts of competitions, and it only seemed natural to continue on with it, when Tim Basta asked me if I was interested last fall.
I have always enjoyed learning new things, and applying my knowledge in ways that the class room doesn't always call you to do. For instance, in both my high school, and college physics courses, I learned about optics, and some basic equations, but it's a whole new ballgame when you are called on to create the optics for a spectrograph from scratch. It took every ounce of knowledge that I had on the subject, and a lot of hard work relearning, and learning new things to accomplish that goal, but it's the challenge that makes it all worth it in the end.
Hometown: Great Falls MT
Interests: Paintball, Disk golf, outdoors
I am from Moore, Montana, and am 22 years old. I am currently a senior in the Computer Engineering program at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. I joined a spectrograph team because it was an opportunity to use the knowledge that I have gained in school and apply it to solve a real world problem. This project will give me valuable engineering problem solving and design experience that I will be able to use after I graduate from college. I also joined a team for the opportunity to learn more about optics and the science of spectroscopy. My goal on this team is to design and implement the detection system, and to gather and analyze data on the computer. I will also design any control systems that need to be designed for any movement needed for calibration of optics.
I am a junior in the MSU Bioengineering department and minor in mathematics. I am a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers MSU chapter and founded the Society of Biological Engineers MSU chapter (and current president). I am planning on going in to genetic engineering after I graduate from MSU, but am interested in all aspects of engineering.