Feature Stories 2023: Christina Hart '23: Hands-on learning

christina hart standing in library
Feature Stories 2023: Christina Hart '23: Hands-on learning
Christina Hart '23: Hands-on learning

Christina Hart '23 puts her engineering knowledge to work solving real-world problems.

Christina Hart '23 is a mechanical engineering major, Honors College student, and award-winning undergraduate researcher. During her career at UMassD, she has put her engineering knowledge to work solving real-world problems. 

How did you get interested in mechanical engineering? 

“When I was in high school, I took classes in computer-aided design, architecture, and engineering design. After taking these classes, I knew I wanted to pursue something in the engineering field, so as a freshman, I came to UMass Dartmouth as Engineering-Undecided. I got to take an introduction to engineering course, where I learned about many of the different engineering disciplines. After taking this course, I decided on mechanical engineering because of the broad range of careers that it offers.” 

Why did you choose UMass Dartmouth?  

“The engineering program was one of the main reasons I chose UMass Dartmouth. I also love that Horseneck Beach is so close. Another big factor was the Newman Catholic Students Association. When I was visiting campus on Admitted Students Day, I got to talk to the priest and the deacon on campus. Through this club, I was able to move in early as a freshman and make tons of friends before classes even began. This greatly influenced my decision to come to UMass Dartmouth.” 


“My research consists of testing the drag reduction of spherical superhydrophobic surfaces.  Superhydrophobic surfaces are surfaces that do not absorb water. Instead, water droplets roll off the surface, like a lotus leaf.  This research is useful in designing more energy efficient watercraft. We can coat the bottom of boats to make them superhydrophobic, which will allow them to have less drag. This means they will use less energy to go the same speed as a boat that is not coated. This will save in energy use over time, which I think is very important.

"Doing research on campus has given me valuable hands-on experience. It has taught me how to solve problems and how to use different lab technologies, both of which will help me in the future. I have also been able to discuss my research in multiple interviews, which has allowed me to connect with the interviewers and show my enthusiasm for the research I’m doing.  

"I do research with Dr. Hanjian Ling. Working with Dr. Ling is great! He is very helpful and understanding. I have gone to him many times with questions about the MATLAB code technology we use, and he has always been able to help me. He really is the driving force behind the research I do. 

"I was fortunate enough to win the Office of Undergraduate Research Award in the spring of 2022. I received this award with the help of Dr. Hangjian Ling. I used this award for my research in Dr. Ling's lab on superhydrophobic surfaces, and through this, I was able to continue my research for my Honors Project as a senior to test the drag reduction of spherical superhydrophobic surfaces.” 


student christina hart conducting research in lab


“My first internship was during the summer of 2021. This was with AirPure Control Systems in Manchester, Connecticut. My responsibility was to help design and build an HVAC system to eliminate airborne pathogens. I worked on creating a system that was more efficient than the standard HVAC system at reducing airborne illnesses. 

My second internship was during the summer of 2022. This internship was with Dyno Nobel, which is a company that makes explosives for the mining industry. I applied to this internship online and had a great interview with the team. My role with this company was to help with the different machines they use to increase productivity. After interning here all summer, I got to work part time while in school during the fall.  

Both internships have given me valuable experiences that have aided me in my career, and I am very grateful to have had both. I have learned so much about HVAC systems and explosives during my time working. This has given me opportunities to share my knowledge with others, including being able to discuss these topics in interviews, which has helped me to land a job.” 


“I am the vice president of the Newman Catholic Students Association (NCSA), the treasurer of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the treasurer of SolidWorks Club. I am also the team lead for my Capstone project. In December 2022, our team won the Corsair Idea Challenge for our design of an underwater imaging system to detect microplastics in the ocean. 

My leadership roles have helped me in many ways. Being team lead for my capstone project has shown me how to productively lead a team of people who work differently from one another. I have learned how to adjust the ways I lead based on the group that I am working with. For example, I lead my capstone team differently than I lead my club meetings, and working in these different environments has shown me two different sides to leadership. This has helped me in these projects, and will continue to help me grow into an even better leader.” 

Looking Ahead 

“When I graduate in the spring, I will start working at the aerospace company Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Connecticut. I am very excited to start working here, and I cannot wait to see where it leads me!” 

Do you have any advice for future UMassD students? 

“Get involved! I have made so many friends through the clubs that I’m involved in, and I was even able to travel to Houston and Nashville with these clubs. Getting involved on campus connected me with many different people, and it even helped me land a job for when I graduate.” 

This story was written by Kamryn Kobel, junior English major and University Marketing assistant.