Lance Parson

Why did you choose to attend Oregon State University?

My decision to come to Oregon State University came at time when I wanted to change my major and I was ready for a move. I decided I wanted to go to the Pacific Northwest for engineering and found that Oregon State is one of the best engineering universities in the country.

How did you become interested in structural engineering research?

I first became interested in structures through my wife, who is an architect. From there, I talked to my professors, Dr. Trejo and Dr. Barbosa, who helped me find a job at the O. H. Hinsdale Wave Research Lab. While working at the lab, my interest in learning how materials behave and how they are applied to structures has grown deeper.

Describe your research with Andre Barbosa, assistant professor of structural engineering.

My research this summer is in shear friction theory. I am looking at 3D scans of broken specimens to see what the topography and coefficient of friction may tell us about their resistance to shear.

What are you plans after earning your degree?

I have a few options. I would love to get a master’s degree but I may go straight to work. I am also looking forward to travelling abroad with my wife and may get my master’s wherever we decide to go.

How has Oregon State helped you prepare for your future career?

At Oregon State I have enjoyed many opportunities, most importantly I have found the faculty and staff in our department to often go above and beyond to help me. This includes but is not limited to getting a job and internships, fine-tuning my resume, and helping me get into pro-school. They have been extremely supportive. Oregon State has also done a lot to promote a professional environment. They want engineering students to not look at this as getting a degree but as preparing for a career.

What have you liked about your time at Oregon State and in Corvallis?

I have liked exploring my degree field the most. I have also enjoyed gaining hands-on experience in a professional environment. For me, understanding something is far more important than knowing it, and my instructors have been more than willing to help me understand why or how something works.

As for what I liked about my time in Corvallis, it has been the people. I enjoy making friends with other veterans and the international community and especially with people in my degree field. I have also been fortunate to meet my wife here!

Do you have any advice for incoming students?

It may be common knowledge that the hardest thing anyone has to learn is time management and how not to procrastinate, but I think that conducting oneself professionally is equally important. I have found that my professors are much more willing to be helpful and understanding if I have worked hard in their class and conducted myself professionally when meeting with them and especially when writing emails.

If you are going into an engineering field remember that practice makes permanent. You have to first understand what you’re doing and how to do it before you make it second nature and for engineers critical thinking is everything. No one wants an engineer that cannot solve a problem that has never been solved before. 

– July 2018