Tell us a little about your background.
My name is Mike Larner, I grew up in a small town on Cape Cod, MA, where the economy is stimulated by fishing and summer tourism making the coastline our most valuable resource. Coming from the Cape and being an avid surfer, I’ve always had an affinity for the ocean and I am drawn to the beach all year round fascinated by its cyclical changes.

Why made you decide to do undergraduate research?
I decided to do undergraduate research because I am very interested in pursuing a master’s degree in Coastal Engineering and felt as though this would be a great stepping stone to gain exposure to the type of work that I will be experiencing as graduate student. By working alongside current graduate students, it also gave me insight into the current problems and issues that are being studied in the field of Coastal Engineering.

Describe your research in a few sentences.
For my research, I studied the characteristics and effects of large vessel generated wakes on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River. Pea Patch is a low-lying island that is home to Fort Delaware and increasingly threatened by changing coastal morphology and sea level rise. The wakes generated by large vessels are unique in that there are both long and short period sets of waves whose effects are magnified in narrow waterways due to a much smaller area for the wave energies to dissipate.

What do you find rewarding about your research?
The most rewarding aspect about my research was being able to use multiple combinations of the materials and knowledge gained through my courses in a real-life application. Additionally, working on a problem that is not yet answered really gives me a sense of contributing to something greater than just completing homework assignments. This has proven to be really motivating and I have found it much easier to immerse myself in my work and dedicate a lot more time to my research than I have to other areas of my education.

What do you do for fun outside of your undergraduate studies?
Outside of class and studying, I really enjoy getting outdoors and going hiking and camping and doing just about anything I can on or in the water.