Mechanical engineering undergraduate student Milo Prisbrey, B.S.’16, is one of 20 students selected nationwide for the Los Alamos Dynamics Summer School, a program involving top upper-level undergraduate students from the U.S. These students attend lectures and work in teams of three with a Los Alamos Lab mentor on research projects related to the Engineering Institute’s technology focus. Their objective is to produce a conference publication summarizing their results by the end of the summer.

Prisbrey is an undergraduate mechanical engineering researcher in the University of Utah’s Nanotribology and Precision Engineering Laboratory, directed by mechanical engineering assistant professor Bart Raeymaekers.

“Dr. Raeymaekers has been an incredible mentor and has played a vital role in my success here at the U,” said Prisbey, who is currently working on a three-dimensional model for the simulation of nanoparticle manipulation using ultrasound. Prisbey plans to enter the Ph.D. program this August.

While registering for his second year at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), Prisbrey was unsure of his direction. His father then suggested he try out engineering.

“During my first class period of engineering design class, we were told that we would be expected to build a remote control robot that had the ability to climb stairs. I went home to my father and expressed my feeling of excitement and anxiety about doing this project. I had never done anything this complicated before,” reflects Prisbrey.

His father told him: “Son, there is no doubt in my mind that you will be able to finish this project with flying colors. Plus, I’ll be here by your side for whatever troubles you run in to.”

“Halfway through that semester the project was looking fantastic, everything was going great, and my anxiety was all but gone,” says Prisbrey. “ I remember vividly the day it happened. I was driving home from school ecstatic to explain the next project milestones to my dad. He was always so intrigued to listen. When I arrived, my mother and I had found my father had unexpectedly passed away.”

“This took a giant toll on our family, but we knew we had to press on, and I knew that I wanted to make my father proud. So I finished out that semester the strongest I had ever finished before,” says Prisbrey. “Being able to succeed helped me realize that I could do it, and I could do it well, even in the face of pain.”

Soon, Prisbrey was not only fulfilling his goal of attending the University of Utah — a dream he had since he was ten years old — but he was well on the path to realizing his father’s vision as a mechanical engineer.

To learn more about Milo Prisbrey and the Utah Tribology & Precision Engineering Laboratory click here.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah is committed to providing students with broad-based, rigorous and progressive education. By combining state-of-the-art facilities with renowned faculty, the department provides an education that gives students the necessary skills to become the next generation of innovators.