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Trevor Avant

Level: Graduate

Trevor Avant

How did you become interested in engineering and of UW A&A in particular? Tell us more about your pathways leading you here. 

My favorite subjects in school were always math, physics, and computer science, so I naturally gravitated towards engineering. As an undergrad, I had the opportunity to do undergraduate research, which I really enjoyed and led me to pursue grad school. When researching potential grad schools online, I came across Professor Kristi Morgansen's lab. I was really drawn to the lab's work with bio-inspired robotics and use of advanced mathematical methods. These areas seemed to combine many of the topics I was most interested in. Additionally, I was drawn to the Seattle area due to its natural surroundings.

Tell us about your research lab experience. 

I've had the opportunity to work on a few different research projects during my time here as a grad student. The first project I worked on was a theoretical study which considered how to position multiple vehicles for environmental monitoring of a large area. To approach this problem, we used algebraic geometry, which is a more abstract field of math. After that, I worked on a project with a startup company that was building a quadrotor with movable arms. For that project I did a lot of modeling and simulation. Currently, I'm working on a project where we're using deep learning for image processing. This project has given me a lot of exposure to the current world of computer science and code. I've enjoyed having these diverse experiences because they've made me feel more well-rounded as an engineer.

What do you enjoy most about A&A?

There's a lot I enjoy about the department, but one thing in particular is the breadth of research that's going on. Even just in the area of controls, there are many different sub-areas which use very different approaches and mathematical tools. Being exposed to this variety of research has been a great opportunity for me to learn new things and broaden my horizons. I have also been able to learn about other areas that I don't work in myself. For example, I've enjoyed learning about the area of plasmas, which involves some very unique tools and applications. It's been great to learn about these research areas just by virtue of being in the same department.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

I think a good piece of advice is to try to follow your interests. In my experience, I have been more motivated and have better enjoyed myself when working on things that I'm interested in.