My earliest memory of robots is in kindergarden: I'm holding a power drill as my dad helps me drill a connection hole for the rotating upper section of a creation we called Zorbot, after my grandma's crazy Jack Russell terrier. My favorite part was the model rocket launcher. Throughout high school, I kept experimenting with robots, mostly on my own outside of classes.
In college, I majored in chemistry, following in the footsteps of my uncle, Eugene. For my independent work, I focused on materials science and engineering, following my passion for building mechanical constructions by working with 3D printed prosthetic materials. The surface treatment I investigated will increase the lifetime and performance of devices such as spinal fusions and prosthetic hips.
Outside of class, I volunteered with the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad as an EMT and rescue technician, following my passion for helping people in vulnerable situations. My work there inspired me to find humanitarian uses for drone technology by building autonomous vehicles for search and rescue. Throughout my graduate work and career, I hope to maintain my links to the fields of emergency medicine and urban technical rescue, helping me to design products to improve the safety and efficiency of disaster relief.
Following graduation in 2013, I traveled to Seoul, South Korea on a Henry Luce Scholar Fellowship, where I studied rehabilitation device engineering. I initially planned to research jumping locomotion for disaster sites, but at the urging of my professor, I enrolled in a rehabilitation engineering course. I came to enjoy the intense and personal work involved - our team shared triumphs and disappointments with our patient. My efforts on this project also highlighted areas where I needed more training, so I enrolled in the Masters of Robotic Systems Development at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute.
At CMU, I worked with a team of four to develop a more cost-effective prosthetic leg compatible with cost-cutting efforts in the healthcare system.
After graduating in December 2015, I joined the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where I specialize in autonomy for manipulator arms and agile quadrotors. My research interests include path planning for constrained systems, dynamic planning and controls, and system design for robust autonomous manipulation and sampling.