Recent Ph.D. student Christopher R. M. Rundus had his choice of careers when he graduated from the University of Iowa. This past spring, he completed his Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering after working as a graduate research assistant at the National Advanced Driving Simulator where he primarily focused on researching the safety benefits of regenerative braking. As a new university alum, Rundus began working this summer as a Human Factors Engineer at Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah, Georgia.
Q: What was your main research focus while at Iowa?
A: My research focused on electric vehicles and how drivers interact with regenerative braking systems. Regenerative braking systems are used in electric vehicles and recover energy that would be lost in a traditional braking system. I wrote three papers during my time at the university: my first paper focused on the safety advantage of regenerative braking; my second explored the differences in driver foot behavior when using regenerative braking; and my third paper focused on dynamic regenerative braking (DRB), for which I just got a patent accepted on this concept.
Q: Congrats on the patent! What was it like being a researcher at the National Advanced Driving Simulator?
A: I was exposed to a lot of new research and worked a lot with Dan McGehee and Chris Schwarz. They gave me the keys to the car and said drive it. They still guided me and had weekly meetings to help me keep to a schedule, so it was a great challenge and helped me in the long run to tackle my own goals. They let me take the lead on my own research.
Q: Any advice for current College of Engineering and Ph.D. students?
A: Make sure that you make progress every single day because it is easy to take a lot of time off when you don’t have solid deadlines. There are no little goals. Progress every day gets you closer to your deadline.
Q: What’s a highlight of your time at the University of Iowa?
A: Defending my dissertation was definitely the highlight of my academic career at the university because everything I had worked on previously all led up to that moment. It felt like all my hard work had paid off.
Q: What are you looking forward to with your new position?
A: So I’m going into aviation now, learning a completely new topic. I’ll still be doing human factors work, but as a Human Factors Engineer at Gulfstream Aerospace. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can, and applying what I learned at the UI to a new field.