At a Glance

Year: ’22, ’26
Major(s): Mechanical Engineering
Activities: Structural Dynamics and Acoustic Systems Laboratory

Mechanical Engineering BS

Gain a solid science and engineering foundation in the fields of mechanics, fluid flow, heat transfer, energy, material science and dynamic systems. 

Connor Pozzi is bullish about the potential of renewable energy. The first-year mechanical engineering Ph.D. student from Seekonk, Massachusetts, says the global need for clean, renewable energy is at an all-time high as the effects of the global climate crisis grow more apparent with each passing day.

“The energy sector accounts for one of the largest portions of greenhouse gas emissions, due to its current heavy reliance of fossil fuels, especially coal, natural gas and crude oil,” Pozzi says. “So, the faster we can switch to renewable energy resources, the better chance we have at slowing and possibly stopping irreversible damage to our planet due to climate change.”

For his part, Pozzi is working with Prof. Murat Inalpolat in the university’s Structural Dynamics and Acoustic Systems Laboratory to conduct research on using sound waves to monitor the structural health and integrity of offshore wind turbine blades, which can span 450 feet or more and weigh many tons.

The project is supported with an $800,000 grant from the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, a nonprofit organization collaborating with industry on R&D to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy in the U.S. while maximizing the economic and social benefits. 

“My primary responsibilities in this project are to make sure that our wireless acoustic sensor systems installed inside the turbine blades remain operational, and to process the acoustic data to see if we can detect any damages done to the blade,” says Pozzi, who received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UML in May 2022.

Any cracks or holes in the blades’ edges can cause the turbine to fail, disrupting power generation and causing costly delays and repairs. By increasing turbine reliability and operability while reducing project risks and associated costs, the research project has the potential to greatly boost the profitability of wind energy and help the country’s transition to renewable energy.

Pozzi says the hands-on training he gets by working on the project and his co-op experience last year at ASM Nexx Inc. in Billerica, Massachusetts, are helping him bridge the gap between concepts taught in the classroom and how they can be applied in the real world.

“They will help me better navigate how to work together on projects once I join the workforce full time,” he says.

Pozzi says that after graduation, he plans to stay in New England, if not the greater Boston area, to work in the renewable energy industry – preferably the wind energy sector. 

“However, I would be just as happy to work for a company that is working to improve renewability and sustainability in any aspect of our society, whether it comes to the design of new materials or working to develop technology that would help drive down the cost of renewable energy,” he says.

Benefits of co-ops

Connor Pozzi, headshot
“They will help me better navigate how to work together on projects once I join the workforce full time.”