SpectrumX + Olin College of Engineering Assistant Professor Whitney Lohmeyer ignites students’ passion for radio spectrum coexistence issues
Throughout the Fall of 2022, assistant professor of engineering Whitney Lohmeyer guided undergraduate students through her Introduction to Analog and Digital Communication course at Olin College of Engineering, connecting them to radio spectrum experts.
Lohmeyer is the Director of the Olin Satellite + Spectrum Technology & Policy (OSSTP) Group and Use Cases and Coexistence Research Working Group Lead for SpectrumX – a National Science Foundation Spectrum Innovation Center. Her students benefited from speaking with SpectrumX’s experts across the country, as it allowed the students to incorporate feedback from first hand experience to deepen their research for their final projects on spectrum coexistence challenges.
“Some students never come in contact with research. Maybe they find it intimidating to join a lab, or they don’t have confidence their skillset,” Lohmeyer said. “By bringing research into the classroom, you give all students a structured opportunity to engage.”
As she was preparing her course, Lohmeyer was able to transfer the knowledge she gained from the SpectrumX Research Working Group that she leads. She and her colleagues identified 12 different coexistence issues that have arisen among stakeholders, including those who work in radio astronomy and large non-geostationary (NGSO) constellations, and those who use the spectrum bands with radar altimeters and 5G technologies. She assigned a group of students to each of the 12 coexistence issues and used her connections within SpectrumX to support their research efforts.
For the class’s midterm presentation, Lohmeyer arranged for the students to present to members of SpectrumX. The members were invited not just to listen but also give constructive feedback to the students. These presentations and connections were made during the October 2022 Spectrum Center Meeting.
Stakeholders and researchers at the meeting continued to engage with students after their presentations. “Students got to meet folks who had dedicated their life to some of these applications, developing hardware, launching satellites in the bands, and more,” Lohmeyer said.
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