NASA Academy Research Project
- Probabilistic Assessment of Space-Flight Medical Events
- Dr. Beth Lewandowski
- Dr. Jerry Myers
“The very existence of flamethrowers proves that at some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, ‘You know, I want to light those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.’” -George Carlin
Of all the quotes I’ve heard over the years, this one offers one of the most profound perspectives on life. Every bit of human achievement is traced back to the thought, and followed through by the action. But while actions are interchangeable, thought is unique. Digging a hole in the ground could be many things. It could just be a ditch. But, with some thought, it could be a water-trap, a grave, a well, a garden, or a path for a power line. Critical thought, then, is the ability to determine possibility, and translate it to reality. As George Carlin taught me, for any subject of study, there is always another angle of approach. No perspective has a monopoly of truth, and one should not fear the audacity of any conclusion he finds.
I’m entering my senior year at Texas A&M in Biomedical Engineering. I’ll be graduating in May of 2013 with an emphasis on bioinstrumentation, and an Electrical Engineering minor. I plan to pursue graduate school for my Ph.D., working with brain-machine interfaces for mechanical or sensory prosthetics.
During my sophomore year, I entered NASA’s Moontasks competition with a group of SEDS kids. We designed and specified a double-camera, and data transfer apparatus for better EVA communication with the ground, as well as an OLED HUD to augment the astronauts’ information at hand beyond what radio and booklets can provide during a spacewalk.
For the past semester I’ve worked with Dr. Walsh at A&M University on his Q-heart, which is a cardiac assist device for diastolic flow.
Throughout high school, I competed in several academic challenges; from Math Is Cool, to Knowledge Bowl and Science Olympiad. Since starting college, I’ve shifted my focus to volunteering at these particular competitions, and tutoring kids in the STEM fields. I enjoy logic puzzles, programming models for fun (despite the debugging process), and random mind-wandering.
I ski avidly in Northern Idaho during the winter, when I’m home for Christmas. A&M technically has a 40ft skiing hill, but for some reason it just doesn’t do it for me. Tennis is also very enjoyable, though the atrophy of my skill has reduced it from a sport to a hobby. I also enjoy backpacking and scuba-diving, when the occasion permits, as an artifact from Scouting throughout high school.
My interests are widespread, but my general goal is working with instrumenting human prosthetics, either through limb replacement, force amplification suits, or sensory restoration. I look at handicaps and disabilities as in inability for the brain to communicate with the environment. Through brain-machine interfaces, I’d like to try and restore those lines of communication. As a pipe dream, I would love to work on a space-worthy, neural prosthetic arm. Unencumbered by a thick and pressurized spacesuit, an amputee might become the most adroit EVA worker in space. The irony of that strikes me as poetic.