January 25, 2022

IMSE GAANN Fellow Garrett RobisonName: Garrett Robison

Hometown: Advance, MO

Faculty Advisor: Dr. James Noble & Dr Luis Occeña

Where did you complete your undergraduate study?

University of Missouri (Mechanical Engineering)

Why did you choose Mizzou for your graduate program?

The main reason that I chose Mizzou for my graduate program was because I was offered the GAANN Fellowship. The stipend I received allowed me to finish paying off my student loan debt from undergrad. The rest of the fellowship covered my cost for graduate school. Also, through working for a professor in the mechanical engineering department, I got to know Dr. Occena and some other IMSE faculty. They seemed very knowledgeable. I specifically chose Industrial engineering for my graduate program because the current job market is looking very good.

Tell us about your graduate research. What are some potential outcomes?

For my research, I am focused on developing the mass personalization manufacturing strategy using generative design, digital twins, and other advanced manufacturing techniques. The goal of my research is to allow better accessibility to truly individualized products. Meaning that the customer will have a voice in the design process and will get a product that can meet their unique requirements. As a case study, I am exploring producing customized bicycle frames. Everyone’s biomechanics are different, so I am searching for a more cost-effective way that people can access a bicycle that will fit them properly. This work could also be extended to many other products.

What are some accomplishments you have achieved at Mizzou that you’re proud of?

Two accomplishments come to mind. First is my acceptance into the industrial engineering society Alpha Pi Mu as a graduate student. Second is the work I have been able to do with Boeing through the university’s Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution (CELDi). This work led to an internship with Boeing’s supply chain transformation team where I was able to help create inventory optimization tools that Boeing now uses to help lead program inventory decisions. The Boeing team was so impressed with the work my CELDi colleague, Erik Starrenburg, and I did that they sponsored another CELDi project even amidst the COVID-induced financial struggles for the aerospace sector.

What do you plan to do after you complete your degree?

After completing my degree, I would like to gain industry experience by working for a top tier engineering or consulting company for a few years. My end goal would be to start my own consulting firm or production company of some sort. I really like the idea of being able to provide job opportunities for others, especially in rural areas where good jobs can be hard to come by.

How has the GAANN Fellowship program helped you to achieve your academic and career goals?

As mentioned before the GAANN Fellowship allowed me to pay off all my student loan debt giving me financial independence. The fellowship also allowed me to focus solely on my studies. The program I am in is straight to Ph.D. (no masters), and the GAANN allowed me to take a high course load for a grad student to accelerate my studies. As a result, I was able to finish all my course requirements in 2 years as well as start research. Now, I only have research requirements left.