Hi there, I'm Gene. In about 10 days, I'll be leaving for Seoul, South Korea, as a 2013-2014 Luce Scholar. I'll be studying Korean language for the summer and trying to get my bearings. Then, beginning in September, I'll be working at the Biorobotics Lab at Seoul National University. 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.
My experiences on the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad gave me a concrete problem to address using robotic technologies - effective search for victims in a rescue situation. In the lab at SNU, I hope to work on robust design, flexible locomotion, and field tests of robots. Robots have a ways to go before being used to extricate victims, but they can start saving lives of rescue personnel now by performing reconnaissance and survey tasks.
Enough about that - I can't wait for the cultural experience as well! My sister and mom have both fallen in love with Korea - my sister after spending last summer at Yonsei. She'll be returning to Seoul this summer to intern at Arirang TV studio (and hopefully help me adjust!)
It all kicks off at 2 pm tomorrow when I meet the rest of the Luce Scholars class, and from then it's a whirlwind of introductions to aspects of Asian life and culture, as well as to the Luce experience.
All for now, Gene Merewether