Unforgettable. This is my first research experience outside of D.C. since coming to America. But coming to Seattle and meeting the Acoustics department – everybody’s so nice. Everyone just wants to help you. So, I think this is an unforgettable experience.”
Originally from Jamaica, Justin An is currently a Master’s student at UDC. He’s going into his second year this fall, pursuing his M.S. in mechanical engineering with his concentration on advanced manufacturing.
As a child, Justin did not always want to be an engineer. Instead, he dreamed of being a myriad of things – astronaut, farmer, pilot, doctor. With both of his parents in business, Justin’s father encouraged him to do something “better.” Throughout his childhood, he realized that he loved seeing how things worked by taking them apart and doing hands-on activities, such as working with cars and electronics.
I wanted to go into the STEM field, maybe a doctor or engineer or mathematician. But holding a scalpel over someone’s body? That’s kind of a tense moment for me. So, I thought engineering would be the best thing where I can have a bunch of stuff that are taken apart and put them back together, or build something from scratch.”
When he came to the U.S. as an undergrad, he was exposed to 3D printing and was amazed. Through his natural interest in mechanics and intrigue with 3D printing and simulations, Justin dove headfirst into the world of mechanical engineering.
Justin initially learned about the APL-UW in 2022 through his mentor Dr. Max Denis of UDC. He later was introduced to APL’s Executive Director Dr. Kevin Williams, along with Director, Human Resources Maria Card and Recruitment & Employee Development Manager Lowell Jones.
After learning about APL and the capstone project opportunity, Justin assisted the senior undergrads – including his fellow CHARGE summer program colleague Javar Dougall – during the academic year. Justin helped them get familiar with the equipment and field experiments. Through the capstone project, Justin learned about the summer internship opportunity and was interested in joining the APL during the summer.
I’ve grown a passion for research here.”
Meet Justin An
M.S. Mechanical Engineering
How I came to APL-UW
Who helped me along the way
Along with my UDC mentor, I’d have to say my internship mentor Dr. Aubrey Espana really helped me every step of the way. I’d also include Dr. Steve Kargl, Evelena Burunova, and the whole Acoustics department. Lowell Jones and Amanda Labrado helped me get accustomed to Seattle too. I felt very welcome throughout my experience here.
What I worked on
I worked on computing and simulating the acoustic scattering from a cylindrical object underwater using software called COMSOL Multiphysics. This will help in researching the detection of underwater unexploded ordnance, like World War II munitions.
Where I see myself after CHARGE and in five years
I will first complete my master’s. After my master’s, I see myself earning my Ph.D.
Before this internship, I imagined myself going into the industrial field. But now, in the next five years, I’m interested in going into the research field, like joining APL-UW or another Applied Physics Laboratory. I see myself conducting research, writing papers. I’ve grown a passion for research through this opportunity!
We asked Justin what advice he would give to high school students wanting to attend college and aspire to get into the world of STEM. His advice:
The advice I’d give to high school students is to take the step forward and go into STEM. The opportunities through STEM will only benefit you and open so many doors for you and your future. There are so many opportunities in STEM. Just take the leap, and I don’t think you’ll find yourself looking back.”