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Meet Connor Ligeikis, assistant professor of mechanical engineering
What I study and why: My research interests are interdisciplinary and span the fields of vibration, control systems, energy harvesting, mechatronics, and uncertainty quantification. I am particularly interested in the development of self-powered control systems for vibration suppression in large civil structures. Protection of civil infrastructure is of paramount importance during extreme events like earthquakes. Implementing sensing networks and feedback control systems can vastly improve the resiliency and reliability of infrastructure, but these technologies often require significant amounts of power for their continuous operation. Unfortunately, access to the power grid is likely to be unreliable or unavailable during an extreme event, preventing these systems from reaching their full potential. My research seeks to alleviate this issue by leveraging large-scale energy harvesting techniques and a control-theoretic perspective to design intelligent systems that are self-powered and energy-autonomous. Further, to validate these systems, I exploit a novel cyber-physical testing method known as real-time hybrid simulation, which integrates physical experiments with numerical simulations in real time via a feedback loop.
This fall I am teaching: ME 480 Control Systems and Mechatronics
What students can expect from me: I believe a teacher’s role is to guide students through the process of learning. I try to be an engaging and empathetic educator who builds students’ confidence and technical competence. Specifically, I aim to help new engineers understand the importance of models, appreciate systems-level thinking, gain the confidence to engage in self-directed learning, and acknowledge their responsibility to the public. Most importantly, I strive to create a welcoming and inclusive classroom environment in which all students feel respected and valued.
I am excited to be here because: Lafayette is an institution that is fully devoted to providing high-quality, innovative, and inclusive undergraduate education. One of the primary reasons I decided to attend graduate school was because I had the opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate and I loved every aspect of it. This was a formative experience in my education, and I am really excited to have the opportunity to provide this experience to undergraduate students at Lafayette.
Getting to know me: I love any and all things related to food—cooking, baking, eating, watching cooking TV shows, and exploring new restaurants. I also enjoy vegetable gardening, hiking, skiing, and spending time outdoors in general.