Sriram - The Mentorship
What has been the best part of the process so far?
The best part of the process has been learning to think like a scientist from my awesome mentor Ms. Kandyce Bohannon. I’ve always loved to tinker, but this time I had the privilege of having a 3M mentor with whom I could discuss all my ideas, get my solutions validated, and learn so much more about programming, electronics, and research. It inspires me to know that whatever electronics and coding I learn will be used to benefit so many people, in fact, anybody who practices archery. Having fun learning, innovating, and at the same time helping millions of people has been the best part of the process so far.
What part has been the most challenging?
One of the most challenging aspects of my project was solving consistency errors. I experienced these bugs with the flex sensor. For example, the flex sensor values often didn’t change as much as I'd want them to when I drew the bow (at rest, the value would be 248 and at full draw it would be 249). It would also change every time I practiced (day #1: flex value is 248 day #2: flex value is 273). When I tried to solve these bugs, there were so many solutions that I could think of to the problem and it was even more difficult deciding which solution to use than actually solving the problem! Because of this time-taking process, it often seems like you are making very little or no progress, but you will soon realize that’s how research works. Not everyday is a eureka.
Another thought-provoking part of my process has been the secret sauce, but it is too early to reveal that! The suspense is what makes it worth the wait!
What has the summer mentorship with a 3M scientist meant to you?
This summer mentorship means the world to me! Ms. Kandyce Bohannon has provided so much guidance to me, and her advice has been invaluable in helping me improve my app and understand machine learning better. She is SUPER dedicated. She is always there for me. Once, even when leaving for her annual camping trip and in the midst of packing the night before, she emailed me asking if I needed help or if I have any questions, and that she could have a session with me right away. I could connect with other experts through her and get their advice too. She helped me A LOT with discussing every aspect of my project, 3M products and everything. In her, I saw a great example of learning while helping others. I became a real scientist this summer, finding the needs of the users and tailoring my project to fit them.
How has access to a 3M scientist helped you?
Ms. Kandyce has not only helped me with my problems, but she changed the way I would think about and approach problems in the future. I learned that the most complex solutions are not always the best. I also learned that 3M is a great resource for learning anything! I got much more organized since I had to prepare for each session with my mentor, and it propelled me into making significant progress each week. She offered me a plethora of brilliant ideas, and I learned how to analyze and break down solutions. I really assessed them and saw which one is the most simple yet effective. My experience with Ms. Bohannon has changed my approach to solving complex problems, and I will forever be thankful.