Oh, The People You'll Know: Alexandra Baumgart
Marching band has been an important aspect of Alexandra’s college experience. As a member of the mellophone section for three years of high school and all four of her undergraduate years, Alexandra loved the chance to meet the amazing and passionate people in the band. She also appreciated the time in marching band as an opportunity to relax from classes and projects, move around, and focus on music. She traveled with the band to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, Ireland, and enjoyed the opportunity to sightsee and meet people from across the globe in the city.
Another organization that has been a large part of Alexandra’s experience at Illinois is Pi Tau Sigma, which she joined the second semester of her freshman year. She was involved with the variety of events and projects within PTS ever since she initiated. She worked with the charity BBQ, and was also a member of one of the EOH project teams each year. First working with a sand casting demonstration, the project team later moved to create siege weapons, a list which includes a trebuchet, a catapult, and in the future a ballista. Alexandra enjoyed the opportunity to work with other mechanical engineering students on a fun project outside of a classroom setting. She traveled to Philadelphia two years ago, Miami for the previous year’s PTS conference, and will travel to Fort Collins, Colorado, this year.
Also within PTS she held the position of Secretary her sophomore year, and learned a great deal of how PTS functioned. Her junior year, she was the External Vice President, and worked to create events that would cater to the diverse interests of PTS members. This year as a senior, she is President of PTS and is in charge of overseeing the executive board and continuing to create events that will interest the entire group.
This past summer, she worked at Sandia National Laboratories, one of the Department of Energy Labs. She was in the fire sciences department and worked on computational projects. During her first time living away from home, she enjoyed exploring Albuquerque, New Mexico, and learning from the brilliant staff.
She has worked in two very different research laboratories during her time as an undergrad. One was a bio mechanics lab, and the other was in this department, under Professor Glumac. In the biomechanics lab, she modeled fish skull kinematics, and the process of how they evolved to their current stage of a linkage system that expands the volume inside their mouth when they are preparing to catch something to eat. She appreciated the challenge of explaining the function of these mechanisms in a way that makes sense to both engineers and biologists, and she presented her work at a conference for integrative and comparative biology in San Francisco. In Professor Glumac’s lab, she worked with combustion diagnostics and helped graduate students run tests and machine parts for experimental setups.
Astoundingly, Alexandra has found time to be involved with organizations outside of Marching Band, PTS, and her research. During her freshman year, she was involved with a project in the Biomedical Engineering Society’s project to create an orthotic brace for a boxer puppy named Butch. She is also a member of Women in MechSE, and has served as the group’s Publicity Chair and Internal Affairs Chair.
Her work in Professor Glumac’s lab and her studies in fluid dynamics have helped her to find a passion for future focus. Her goal is to to apply to graduate schools, and hopes to eventually pursue a PhD, where she will no doubt continue the incredible work she has already started.