REU Student Spotlight: Lansing Sugita

By Phoebe Grinnell, SEAS Correspondent

NAME: Lansing Sugita

HOMETOWN: Honolulu, Hawai'i

COLLEGE:  University of Hawai'i at Mānoa


MAJOR: Mechanical engineering

RESEARCH MENTOR: Mark Skylar-Scott

HARVARD LAB: Jennifer A. Lewis, Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering

Describe the work you are currently doing in the lab.

I am working on a new type of 3D printing. Usually, 3D printing has limitations of only using a single material and it also has slow print speeds, so our research group is trying to combine multiple nozzles to increase the print speed and a bimaterial print head so it can print with multiple materials at the same time.

What do you enjoy about research?

I enjoy science because it is so innovative. Scientists study things that no one has ever been able to solve and try to come up with new ideas. I feel that it is a great outlet for my creativity. I became interested in science because I love to do math and study physics and I feel that science is a really good pathway to open up the mind and learn new perspectives.

What have you found to be the biggest challenge of working in a research lab?

When you conduct research you can never spend enough time on it. There is always room for improvement. There are always things that can be added to it to make it a little bit better. It can be hard to set limits about how much time or energy to spend on a project because you can always do more.

What is the most significant lesson or most surprising thing you have learned this summer?

I learned that, while a researcher might get negative results for days, at least he or she knows those are results that can be used to reach a goal. I haven’t really experienced that much before working in a lab like this, and I have begun to realize that even negative results can be helpful.

What is your future academic/career plan?

I want to go on for more education. My long-term goal is to move back to Hawai'i and encourage Native Hawaiians in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), or possiblly become a professor. I want to be back in Hawai'i and help the community there and encourage them to pursue science.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy going out with friends and exploring, trying new restaurants, and playing basketball.