Grads with Plans: Counsel of STEM Faculty Leads Davis to Prestigious Doctoral Engineering Program

| Student Life

BenjaminDavisThanks in part to STEM Dean Dr. Stephen Silliman, Trevecca senior Benjamin Davis is heading to Notre Dame this fall for his Ph.D.

A double major in electrical engineering and physics, Davis will be pursuing his doctorate in electrical engineering. He says his journey to grad school began as a conversation with Silliman, who is a former professor at Notre Dame. Siliman encouraged him to take a deeper dive into their faculty and programs.

“I looked at their programs and the research that their faculty does and there were several professors that I was very interested in working with,” said Davis. “It is a very reputable school and their Ph.D. students are very well funded so there are a lot of opportunities for research.”

The focus on research was important to Davis, who has a clear focus on where he wants his career to go.

“My goal is to work at one of the national laboratories for the department of energy. Specifically, The National Renewable Energy Laboratory,” said Davis. “They do interesting research in integrating renewable energy sources into the current power grid. That field is where I want to direct my efforts.”

Davis’ time at Trevecca has been key to his success and preparation for the future, particularly the small class size and personal relationships with professors.

“What I’ve learned talking to students from other schools is that because Trevecca is so small you can get a lot more individualized attention with professors, which means you can learn alot more at a small program like this than at a school that may have hundreds of students and 50 or so faculty members,” said Davis.

Most importantly, the hands-on experience at Trevecca has prepared him to think for himself, going beyond gleaning information to learning how to problem solve in new ways, equipping him for the next stage of his education.

“You’re under the direction of a professor, but a lot of the learning is done for yourself. They’ll point in the right direction but they don’t just teach you the material, they teach you how to learn the material on your own,” said Davis. “They give you the skills to pursue a career in research, they teach you how to think through a certain situation, they teach you about the material and the mindset.”

Davis will begin working on research projects at Notre Dame this summer and will start classes in the fall.