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I Am a Researcher

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Ashley Thorshov

Major(s): Physics (material physics)

College: Seventh College

UC San Diego graduation year: 2025

URH Research Programs: URS (Research Scholarship for Physics - Hellman), 2023

Explain the research you did for the URS program.

During this program, I began researching the inhomogeneous expansion process of materials called Hydrogels using laser interference. This project uses key concepts in physics (such as Bragg Scattering) to explore the behavior of our samples under different conditions and in different contexts. This project was introduced to me by my current PI, Alex Frañó. While I have always been interested in undergraduate research, it was Dr. Frañó's phenomenal teaching and genuine enthusiasm for this field that inspired me to get involved.

What has been the most exciting/interesting thing you've discovered through this research?

The most exciting thing I've discovered through this project is how intertwined different disciplines of science can be, and how willing other researchers are to share their time/skills to advance an interesting project.

Ashley standing in front of a poster presentationWhat did you gain from this program/experience?

Participating in undergraduate research has also taught me the importance of creative problem solving and value of scientific community.

What advice would you give to students starting research?

I would highly recommend forming connections with as many of your fellow researchers as possible! In addition to building a strong community, you will find that you have gained access to a wide variety of perspectives, ideas, and advice regarding both your research and your academic path. 

What are your future goals?

My current goal is to get a PhD in physics. While I love the idea of having a career in academia, I am open to all possible professions after grad school and plan to follow the most interesting science. Best of luck to everyone in their research journey!