Andrew Barnard's Perfect Pitch: Singing and Engineering

Andrew Barnard's Perfect Pitch: Singing and Engineering

Director of the only graduate-degree granting acoustics program in the country,
Penn State’s Barnard shares thoughts and insights

Like most 22-year-olds about to finish their bachelor’s degree, Andrew Barnard wondered what he was going to do for the rest of his life. 

He wanted a career path he’d enjoy that would combine some of his passions while also utilizing his degree. Not an easy thing to do, but when Barnard discovered acoustical engineering and noise control, he knew he’d found his calling.

An INCE member since 2004, and recently named the Director of the Graduate Program in Acoustics at Penn State, Barnard shares how he originally discovered acoustical engineering, his new position and the value INCE has contributed to his journey.

It seems that many noise control engineers “stumble” across noise control during college or early in their careers and then develop a passion for it.  What originally interested you in noise control and what ignited your passion for it?

I was a senior mechanical engineering student who didn’t know what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. On the side, I was active in choirs and musicals. Then in my senior year I found a Modal Analysis course which led me to an Acoustics and Noise Control course. There I learned that I could merge my hobbies with my professional career. Then I did an internship at the John Deere World Headquarters working on noise control of their equipment and I was sold.

Congratulations on being named Penn State’s Graduate Program Director in Acoustics.  How big is the program and what are some of your goals for the program?

It is a huge honor to be named Director of the Graduate Program in Acoustics at Penn State. It is an outstanding program and the only graduate-degree granting acoustics program in the country. We have 50+ resident graduate students and over 100 distance education students. We have a well-developed hybrid education modality that allows us to serve resident and distance learning students simultaneously. I would like to see this program grow and diversify and continue to be recognized as the leader in graduate acoustics education. I’m looking forward to expanding our recruiting and development efforts in pursuit of these goals.

When you aren’t teaching or directing Penn State’s Graduate Program in Acoustics, what kinds of things do you do for fun?

As I mentioned earlier, I’m a choral singer. I have performed many classical works as well as participated in musicals and operas. I’m totally obsessed with my golf game that never seems to get any better. I like being outside with my wife, Becky, doing things like hiking, paddle-sports, hunting, or just walking my dog, Marshall. I also enjoy woodworking.  Although I’m a bit of a hack, I’m getting better.

Why did you join INCE and what value do you get from being a part of the noise control community?

I joined INCE in 2004 when I presented my first paper at NOISE-CON. I won the student paper competition at that conference and got to shake Leo Beranek’s hand at the awards ceremony. Looking back, that was a high point for me because I had never met a person whom I considered a founder in my field. These days, I find the networking opportunities within INCE to be the best benefit. There are so many smart people looking to collaborate and everyone is easy to interface with. Also, being able to keep up on the latest in Noise Control through NCEJ and conferences is important to me.

 

 

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