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Posted on Monday, July 1, 2024

Rachel Brady is one of 10 students selected for this year’s Summer Research Fellowship at Westminster College. Rachel is a rising junior honors student majoring in biology from Columbus, Pa. She and her faculty mentor, Dr. Adam Blumenthal, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science, are working on “System to Measure Indoor Shotput Throws” for their research partnership. Brady is on the track and field and volleyball teams on campus. She is also a member of the Lambda Sigma Honors Society, Book Club and Chemistry Club.

Why did you apply for the summer research fellowship?
I wanted to complete this project in a meaningful way so that it didn’t interfere with my courses or sports during the semester. It was important to start this in the summer because it is outside my major discipline, so the summer research fellowship was perfect.

Can you briefly describe your project?
I intend to make an app that can accurately predict the distance of an indoor shotput throw with incomplete information. This involves becoming familiar with the software, teaching the computer to recognize a shotput, creating a projection model and finally developing the application to use.

What have you learned from your collaboration with Dr. Blumenthal?
What kinds of insight and support does he contribute to your project? Dr. Blumenthal has been guiding my every step in this process and has been so helpful in teaching me the application of the coding techniques in our project and how we can manipulate them to fit our specific needs. He has been working with me against the bugs in the code and modifying existing work, which involves lots of patience.

What aspects of research have been your favorite?
My favorite aspects of this research have been the novelty of the computer science world. As I learn more about what I can do with coding, I also see what coding can do for me outside of this project, which is so invigorating as I move forward in my academic career.

How do you think your work as a student researcher will shape your future student and career success?
This work as a student researcher will allow me to understand computers much better, which provides endless uses for my life in healthcare. This also will give me a broader background of experiences to draw from in my future that I can use to relate to patients. The determination and perseverance that has come with learning these techniques so quickly will be beneficial as I further my education.

What is your favorite thing about being a Westminster student?
My favorite thing about being a Westminster student is by far the student-faculty relationships that can form with such small class sizes and opportunities for research like these. Had I gone to a larger school, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable enough to reach out to faculty and inquire to do research and I would have never had such an amazing experience where I get to make a usable project by the end.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan on going to dental school post-graduation and becoming a general dentist.

To learn more about Westminster’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, visit

Sponsored by the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research, Summer Research Fellowships at Westminster College allow students to conduct hands-on research and creative projects under the guidance of our experienced faculty mentors.