James Roska's Research Profile
Undergraduate Class: Class of 2016
Major/Minor: Chemical Engineering with a Minor in Material Science
Mentor: Dr. Keith Forward
Participated in Cal Poly Pomona 4th Annual Student Research Conference and Achieve Scholars Program (ASP)
“Understand why you're doing research because you're not gaining anything worthwhile without that knowledge.” – James Roska
James Roska initiated his research career as a junior under the guidance of Dr. Keith Forward. Beforehand, he was involved with a coop from the metropolitan water district testing the growth of bacteria in water. As a subsequent, he desired to conduct research that “he was working on rather than assigned to.” It was only natural for him to explore opportunities with divergent professors and departments. He has since joined Dr. Keith Forward’s research and has collaborated with four team members during this experience.
James had the prospect to be involved with research based upon simulations and batteries earlier in his college career. However, he realized that the subject material was not of his interest, so he waited for more opportunities to arise. After taking Dr. Forward for several classes, James eventually found himself immersed in Dr. Forward’s research project based upon the Theory of Free Surface Electrospinning. By utilizing membrane distillation, James and his team hopes that this research will have many implications for the future. They planned to present this research at Cal Poly Pomona’s Student Research Conference and the American Institute of Chemical Engineer, or AICE.
James has overcome enough barriers in research to understand what it takes to conduct a project. One vital instruction he emphasizes is to “understand why you’re doing research because you’re not gaining anything worthwhile without that knowledge.” For students who are just entering the research field, James advices to pursue a topic of personal interest. James conceived that it was better to involved with subject material that would be relevant to himself rather than haphazardly joining an uninteresting project. He says to “do what you want to do and take the steps to figure that out.” Proper preparation has left James with a project absent of qualms nor regrets.
Although James noted that it was difficult to work with a team because of varying schedules, he still found motivation to pursue research. After seeing “where the research has been, what it’s gone through, and what it’s become,” James takes high value in the progress that has been made. He believes that research has an end goal and it’s meaningful enough to be applied to the real world. He was incentivized by the notion that research serves a purpose. In the future, he endeavors to bear this drive as he pursues a master’s program. Eventually, James believes that even without a clear end goal, one will be able to see what a project is “supposed to do and what can be done with it moving forward.”
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Interview compiled by Marion Barleta.