What are you currently working on in graduate school (research or project)?
My research project will focus on assistive technology. This assistive technology will be developed primarily with the use of artificial intelligence and humanoid robots. Regarding assistive technology, humanoid robots have been used as helpful assistants in offices and as caregivers to the elderly. They have also been used to take orders at restaurants, help children with autism develop social skills, and help individuals with physical or mental disabilities improve their productivity in the workplace. These are but a few of the variety of real-world applications of assistive technology.
What advice do you have for prospective or current URM graduate students in engineering?
The first piece of advice I would give to prospective or current URM graduate students would be to branch out. I know this is easier said than done, as most graduate students can get bogged down in research for a thesis or project, but I believe by getting to know people that are dealing with similar struggles as your own, it helps to lessen the pressures that grad school can bring. Branching out could mean joining other organizations such as the Graduate Engineering Association (GEA), or just simply going to social events held by graduate organizations. One event I am glad I attended is the new graduate student orientation. Although this event is not mandatory (this may change in the future), it is a great way to meet new people and gain some useful information about the campus resources for graduate students. While there, I was able to make friends with individuals from majors outside of the realm of engineering.
Another thing I would suggest that URM grad students do is to explore the campus and the city of Lawrence. Lawrence is well known for its rich basketball history. Even if you are not a basketball fan, I suggest that you try to attend at least one basketball game in Allen Fieldhouse. The atmosphere is like no other. Besides Allen Fieldhouse, another popular place around town is Massachusetts Street, also commonly referred to as Mass Street. Mass Street has a bunch of restaurants with great food. In addition to the restaurants, there are a number of interesting shops and bars on Mass. There is even an ax-throwing bar if you wanted to give that a try. The good thing about Lawrence is that it is not that far from Kansas City, which also has many restaurants and entertaining activities. Even closer to Lawrence are the Legends Outlets, which have great restaurants, shops, and a movie theatre. As you can see, there are plenty of options if you find yourself looking for fun and relaxing activities.