Oklahoma State University is where Ben Loh is now pursing his Ph D in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Attending the university isn't new to him because he also went there for his Bachelor of Science and Master's Degree. "I got my bachelor's in 2006 in August and then my master's and now I'm first year in my PhD and when I first come here English was a problem I didn't speak much at all and I could understand it well, but when I was an undergraduate, I had the chance to become the resident's assistant in a dorm and I got a chance to mingle with people from different countries and of course American students so that help me to build my confidence in terms of speaking and getting to know people," he says. "Right now because of all the experiences I have from OSU, it's made me a well rounded person to like approach anyone."
Ben says he got an assistantship from his department to help with his studies. He says being able to use his hands to build things is why he decided to study Engineering. "I'm from Malaysia and I have been studying Engineering since high school so I didn't go through a lot of process to choose what major, but I am really interested in building stuff, hands-on stuff so Engineering does fit my interest," he says.
Every since I come here I decided to go for Aerospace. Oklahoma State is not as big as I thought first of all, but it is a great place to study and not a lot of partying actually so I really like the environment and I didn't even know that we have like a ten percent of international students and that really made me feel like I am not alone."
Currently, his research consist of creating an application which will help send a rocket to Mars. "The main thing for me is my professor is motivating me and I really like the research I am working on. Currently I am working on the inflatable wing technology where one of an example application on an inflatable wing is like to send an aircraft to Mars so the inflatable wing can stored inside the rocket so once the rocket reach Mars then the wing can be fully deployed and then go around Mars," he says. "So pretty much we are solving the problem of the boiling issue where we can pack maybe like a ten feet or twenty feet wing stand into a small volume of that rocket capsule and then send it to Mars."
A big accomplishment of Ben's is he created the Malaysian 24 Season Drum Troupe at OSU. It's the only one of its kind in the U.S. "Well we started this cultural performance for the annual international program by the international student scholar so the Malaysian students were having fun and picked up five drums and started playing it for cultural night and then somehow people got interested and the group just kept on growing and we just kept on performing for the cultural event.
Then in 2008, we are a team and OSU actually showed an interest in expanding the drum team where they like purchased 24 Chinese drums from China and that is like our first team in the United States because the founder in Malaysia actually found us and told us you guys are the first team in the states and they are proud of what we are doing here," he says.
The founder in Malaysia incorporated the Chinese calendar the agricultural calendar and they basically have four seasons just mulitpy by six so each season has six seasons so four times six is twenty-four seasons. So with that calendar then the founder actually can incorporate twenty-four drums," he says. "Pretty much a more simple way of describing the drum team is like synchronize drumming using Chinese drums and we have twenty-four people doing it together. So I do hope to see the group getting bigger and more popular.
Ben says he has three years left before he complete his PhD studies.