Student Profile: Eben Lenfest
Degree: BS Mechanical Engineering, PRESENT
Position: Undergraduate Research Assistant
Research Interests: Vibrations and Active/Passive Control Systems, and Wind Energy
Advisor: Professor Vincent Caccese
Eben is a mechanical engineering undergraduate senior from Smithfield, Maine. He became interested in UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (the Center) after he participated in several tours of its facilities, particularly by the projects involving wind turbines. As one of Eben’s research interests is wind energy, this motivated him to join the Center, and he began working with Chris Allen, a research engineer, and professor Andrew Goupee. Near the end of the spring 2018 semester, Goupee was contacted by Robert Berry, a NASA engineer. Berry was looking for undergraduate students who were interested in an internship with NASA over the summer to help work on a project involving offshore wind turbines. Goupee recommended Eben, thanks to the quality of the work he had done. Eben accepted the offer and spent the summer working on the project at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
While Eben’s interest was caught by the variety of projects the Center works on, the aspect he enjoys most about the Center is the diverse learning opportunities that occur throughout a project. For example, a project he was working earlier this year required him to utilize Excel to analyze data, and now Eben is conducting tests in laboratory environments for the same project. Eben particularly feels that his ability to analyze data has improved a great deal. In regards to opportunities which were afforded to Eben by the Center, the one he values the most is, unsurprisingly, the aforementioned internship.
Eben and William Ramsay, another UMaine student invited for a summer internship, utilized a new technology created by NASA to reduce the potential motion of a floating offshore wind turbine. Their goal was to decrease the structural damage done over time to a turbine’s platform. Berry reached out to the students for assistance because he wanted to use the project as proof to maritime industries that NASA’s technology is viable and useful.
After he graduates, Eben hopes to pursue his Master’s in mechanical engineering and continue to work at the Center. When he has completed his education, Eben hopes to enter the wind energy industry and remain in New England. Now that Eben has completed his internship, he has returned to UMaine and will graduate this spring.