Chanwook Oh: Distributed Control of Wireless Networks

Pratt Undergraduate Reserach Fellow Profile 

  • Major: Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science 
  • Advisor: Professor Michael Zavlanos
  • Pratt Fellows Project: Distributed Control of Wireless Networks 

Chanwook Oh

How did you become interested in the Pratt Fellows Program?

When I started at Duke I was originally in BME, and I was actually thinking about medical school and going back to South Korea to become a doctor. When I came back after taking two years off for military service I dived back into the engineering courses and I ended up taking a lot of MEMS and ECE classes, and I ended up pursuing research within that realm because I really liked conducting my own research to solve a new problem and find a unique solution. I found the Pratt Fellows program and I was able to choose from a wide variety of projects to help with. I think it’s a good opportunity because professors need undergraduates to work in their labs, and for undergraduates it’s much easier to find the right project for their interest because there are so many projects to choose from.

What is your project?

I’m building a platform for testing optimization algorithms. Optimization algorithms are designed by Michael Zavlanos, the lab director, and grad students, and they did it all on computer-aided numerical and graphical tools, but I’m trying to build a real platform that they can test their algorithms on.

What has it been like to work with faculty for the Pratt Fellow Program?

My advisor, Michael Zavlanos, has been really helpful for me. He’s always been available if I have questions and he always helped me whenever I found myself stuck, both inside and outside of the lab. I applied to grad school to get my PhD in electrical engineering, and he helped me during that process as well, so he really went above and beyond. The faculty were very accessible, and it was a big benefit for me going forward.

How do you think being a Pratt Fellow has enriched your experience at Duke?

As an undergraduate, sometimes you worry that it’s hard to get to know the fellow students and professors well, but by doing Pratt Fellows I had an opportunity to get to know the other students and collaborate closely with the faculty. That was a great opportunity that I don’t know if I would have had otherwise. I grateful to Dr. Zavlanos and Dean Gaston for organizing and coordinating the program and ensuring that I got the most out of my time at Duke.