Ph.D. student earns Turbo Lab’s most prestigious scholarship
Passion Key to Student’s Success
Clay Norrbin hasn’t always been interested in turbomachinery. His undergraduate studies in the Scansorial and Terrestrial Robotics and Integrated Design (STRIDe) Lab at Florida State University focused in the area of robotics. He applied to the Texas A&M University mechanical engineering department in 2013 with a goal of earning a master of science in the robotics program. It wasn’t until he responded to a job post and was hired by Dr. Dara Childs in the Turbomachinery Lab to complete dynamics of pumps research that his work aligned with his interests.
“It was a privilege working with Dr. Childs on predictions and mechanical face seal vibration,” Norrbin said.
Fast forward to the Turbomachinery & Pump Symposia (TPS) 2018 in Houston, Texas where Norrbin received The Ralph James Memorial Scholarship, the Turbo Lab’s largest scholarship award of the night. Norrbin was nominated by his advisor, Dr. Adolfo Delgado, who called the doctoral student an excellent researcher. The fund was chartered in 1979 and named in honor of Ralph James, a founding member of TPS and a Turbomachinery Advisory Committee member. The scholarship is awarded to a senior or graduate student in the Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University working in the turbomachinery area of interest.
Norrbin said the funds will be used to continue his graduate studies in mechanical seal dynamics and lateral vibrations.
The key to a successful graduate career in the Turbo Lab is being in love with the work, Norrbin said.
“Make sure you’re passionate about the project or some aspect of it.” Norrbin also advised participating in TPS and presenting research proposals during the Turbomachinery Research Consortium (TRC). “Both are valuable resources and TRC members have advice to share,” said Norrbin.
What’s next for Norrbin? He plans to finish his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 2020 and continue in a research capacity. He is also looking forward to spending time with his baby and fiancée.
The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Turbomachinery Laboratory makes a vital impact on turbomachinery and related industries through research, education and professional workforce development.