(a) The Dual-Rasp sampling system is being developed to provide the sampling capabilities needed for a landed Enceladus mission. (b) Sampler deployed and sampling in an arc in front of an example lander architecture.

(a) The Dual-Rasp sampling system is being developed to provide the sampling capabilities needed for a landed Enceladus mission. (b) Sampler deployed and sampling in an arc in front of an example lander architecture.

Enceladus Dual-Rasp Sampling System

The plume of water ice and vapor that erupts from the south pole of Enceladus contains complex organic molecules, salts, and silicates that Cassini detected. Some material from the plume settles on the surface of Enceladus, making the surface a valuable position to send a lander to sample the top few centimeters. To do this, we have designed a system of two counter-rotating rasps that cut into the surface and send sample between them into an ellipsoidal guide, which deflects the projectiles into a collection cup. The sample is sealed and transferred into the science analysis chamber via a pneumatic line.

Photo: NASA Europa Lander Study 2016 Report

Photo: NASA Europa Lander Study 2016 Report

Europa Lander Tool Development

Like Enceladus, Europa also has an ocean underneath its icy crust, making it a valuable site to investigate the possibility of extant life. In this task, I designed a sample collection system that could capture tailings that are scattered from another sampling tool, and direct those tailings into a defined volume.

Photo: JPL

Photo: JPL

VITAL Ventilator

When the pandemic hit the United States, JPL quickly assembled a team to design and validate a ventilator to address the ventilator shortage. It was designed for COVID-19 patients, and was designed to be built quickly and at low-cost, which could quickly be adopted by nations around the world. I worked on the team to secure FDA approval for the ventilator, pouring over documents to determine the benchmarks that our system needed to meet in order to pass. In 37 days, we were successful in securing FDA approval, and the system was even showcased in the White House with former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Photo: @mitmeche

Photo: @mitmeche

Omnidirectional Tactile Feedback Sensor for Pipe Leak Detection

For my master's thesis, I worked in Dr. Kamal Youcef-Toumi's Mechatronics Research Lab at MIT. My project involved creating in-pipe leak detection robots that could differentiate leaks and obstacles within a pipe system, and report back the location of each pipe feature. I designed a soft, flexible sensor that could differentiate between bending, stretching, in-plane compression, and torsion. 

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Caltech Robotics Team

The Caltech Robotics Team participates in the International RoboSub Competition each year. By redesigning an autonomous underwater vehicle each year, we give students hands-on experience to prepare them for graduate school and industry. As project manager of the team in 2016, I coordinated key activities between the mechanical, electrical, software, and fundraising teams to design an integrated vehicle that could swim towards obstacles, shoot torpedoes, and locate an ultrasonic pinger with hydrophones. At the 2016 Robosub competition, the team came in first place.

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Robotic Gecko Grappling Arm

In the Extreme Environment Robotics Group at JPL, I designed a gecko grappling arm that demonstrated the feasibility of using synthetic gecko adhesives to attach to orbital debris. I designed the mechanical and electrical systems from scratch, and coded parts of the soft ware to enable it to match an arbitrary surface within its 1m workspace.

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Robot Soccer Competition

In this Mechanical Engineering design class, we formed teams of four to create three soccer playing robots. These robots could collect balls, drive over obstacles, and shoot them into high and low targets while defending against opposing robots.

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Autonomous Assembly of a Reconfigurable Space Telescope

I’ve always found the challenges associated with space structures interesting. I chose to pursue this interest by working on the Autonomous Assembly of a Reconfigurable Space Telescope (AAReST) mission at Caltech in Dr. Sergio Pellegrino’s lab. I worked on the MirrorBox team, a small group consisting of four other peers and a mentor. In a group of this size, I could make meaningful contributions, adding important verification checks to ensure that the assembly of the MirrorBox was clear, and resolved interferences that would have made the MirrorBoxes impossible to assemble. The unique quality about this project was that this is intended to fly to space in a couple years. I learned that while it is important to verify that the system meets the specifications, it is equally important to validate that the design addresses the mission requirements. Working on AAReST taught me how to approach a complex problem from a systems engineering perspective, gaining an understanding of the verification and validation steps for thermal, vibrational, and optical testing. This project gave me a greater appreciation of space structures, and I hope to continue this focus in my future endeavors.

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Tool Engineering at SpaceX

Working at SpaceX has broadened my range of technical experiences. I was the tool design engineer on a number of tasks, including projects to improve the Merlin vacuum engine production cycle with more efficient tooling. I crafted large weldments in NX (CAD software) and drafted meticulous engineering drawings for the fabrication team. I was also responsible for inventing tools to prevent damage to the Merlin vacuum engines during the shipping process. I developed my ability to give effective technical reviews, and produce engineering drawings with industry specifications. Applying my knowledge from structures and mechanics helped me in justifying my engineering decisions, rating loads to a comfortable factor of safety while optimizing for machinability and ease of use. Designing within a framework that was limited by time, money, and labor taught me how to create systems that would work in the long term while also being efficient in their implementation. I also learned how valuable it was to work directly with the technicians that actually use these tools, and gather feedback from them in order to implement solutions that they would find useful.

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Delta Configuration Drawing Robot

ME115: Kinematics

This is a delta configuration robot built from scratch for the ME115 class. By calculating the inverse kinematics, it was possible to determine the three servo angles to uniquely position the end effector at any point within the workspace. In this way, the robot could draw any arbitrary shape when a pen was placed in the device.

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Community Service

I enjoy spreading the excitement of STEM to the younger generation, and serve the community through these outreach events. For Make-A-Difference day, I’ve bridged a connection between the Caltech Y and the Caltech Robotics Team, spearheading a hands-on robotics workshop to underprivileged girls in the LA area to excite them about engineering as a career.

I have volunteered for Science Olympiad for many years, proctoring build events like Air Trajectory and Hovercraft, and coordinating the writing and printing of tests for the regional and state competitions in Southern California.

I have also helped cooked dinner for the homeless at Union Station, mentored underprivileged students through the Pasadena LEARNs program, and volunteered for a campus-wide destressing event during finals in which we show a movie and prepare food to all undergraduates.

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