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During my time at MIT and Georgia Tech, I worked on several projects and initiatives. These projects have spanned from robotics and hack-a-thons to community initiatives and equity-focused work. Although the projects discussed on this page are diverse in nature, I tend to have interests in engineering, humanitarian and policy-focused work, so each project will fall under one or more of those categories. Quite a few of these projects were recently started and are still ongoing. See more below!

Graduate Projects

Technical Work

Passion Projects

Undergraduate Projects

Technical Work

Passion Projects

High-Temperature Electrothermal Probe

An early probe iteration A recent probe iteration

Figures show two iterations of the probe design

Over the first two and a half years of graduate school, I created an electrothermal probe capable of withstanding high temperatures (>600°C). Along with going through the various iterations of this probe’s design, I worked on the sensitivity, data and error analysis needed for gathering thermophysical properties from the probe. The goal of the probe was to measure high-temperature fluidized heat transfer media (HTM) - particularly molten chloride salts - for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Generation 3 Concentrating Solar Power (Gen3CSP) Initiative.

Concetrating Solar Power Plant A concentrating solar power plant (click image to enlarge) is composed of a field of "mirrors" known as heliostats that direct sunlight towards a receiver. Heat transfer media (HTM) flows past that receiver and stores thermal energy from sunlight. This HTM is then transported to a heat exchanger and used to generate electricity via a power cycle.

In 2018, the Department of Energy began the Generation 3 Concentrating Solar Power (Gen3CSP) Initiative, which sought to create a concentrating solar power plant so efficient that it could compete with the cost of electricity generated by non-renewable resources. In order to ensure the desired efficiency is reached, this plant will operate at higher temperatures than its predecessors. Due to this new higher temperature range, there is a lack of thermophysical information about the plant’s potential HTM options. The probe I designed was made for characterizing high-temperature heat transfer media for use in energy systems like the Gen3CSP plant.
Overview of 3-omega
Using the 3𝜔 technique, this probe finds the thermal conductivity and heat capacity of the heat transfer medium of interest. The 3𝜔 technique uses a thin (nanoscale) metallic sensor, or heater line, to propagate heat at a given frequency into the specimen. The local change in temperature of the specimen is then measured by the same sensor and recorded. This data is plotted for various frequencies and fit to a model – in my case, the multi-layered radial heat transfer model. That fitting gives the thermal conductivity and volumetric heat capacity of the HTM.

The final image gives an overview of the 3𝜔 technique and the models used for analysis. References can be found in the bottom right corner of the image (click image to enlarge).

I’m currently working on finishing this project and publishing a journal article on it.

EmboSight Tactile Display

As we rely more on screen-based technologies like cellphones and tablets, for everything from work to entertainment and spend more and more time on these devices, they have become integral parts of the modern American’s life. Along with electronic screens, various flat surfaces have risen in popularity to communicate information on devices such as electronic stoves, scanners and washing machines. Such surfaces contain vital visual information that are often indistinguishable for people who are visually impaired and blind.

For our Designing Open Engineering Systems course, my partner and I designed a tactile interface for users with visual impairments to interact with images.
CAD renderings of tactile display system
We used a vibration-based motor-screw matrix for actuating pins in the display due to its manufacturability and the fact that its accompanying tactile interface tested the best with clients. The vibration-induced pin matrix was inspired by this Master’s thesis.

The final design is composed of a smooth plastic enclosure, a large power button at the front of the device, a power jack, USB port and over 700 pins. In the final version of the device, the plastic enclosure will be made using injection molding. The side of the device has a USB port and power jack that can easily be accessed by the user. The top of the device has the 3-mm round tops of the pins exposed. The section with the pins is 5” x 5” and the device is 10.3”x10.3” with a total height of 4.40”.

The device is designed to raise the pins by about 3-4mm - creating distinct “raised” and “lowered” binary positions. In the case of impact, pins are protected using the raised top of the device. The cover is made to completely enclose the internal actuation mechanisms of the device from every angle.

Actuation Subsystem
Future iterations of the device may incorporate items such as a flexible elastic sheet to cover the pins to make for more contiguous contours or a more advanced gear train that takes advantage of the need for opposite facing preload axles to be synchronized. Such a gear train may require only one stepper motor to control all preload axles. Initial prototypes are expected to be more costly to manufacture and include more parts than our final mass-manufacturable design which will require injection molding and optimized tooling for placing parts such as the set screws and pins during device assembly.

An Upgraded Composting System

Bioplastics have become commonly used in many everyday plastic goods. For my first graduate design course, my team and I sought to fulfill this need by designing a functional, effective, and inexpensive composting solution for food courts, restaurants, and eateries to implement in their facilities.

Sketch of First Iteration of Composting System CAD of first iteration

Figure 1: Initial sketch of our device with the major components labeled

Figure 2: 3D renderings of our device showing the (a) front, (b) top, (c) trimetric and (d) back views

The design included a leadscrew that automatically that has temperature controls that mixes the pile to mix and heats the compost, shredder that breaks down plastics into smaller pieces, removable bin, separate food and bioplastics chutes, user-control panel, a solar panel, and an IR sorter to reject non-bioplastics to the general waste bin.

The unit will be supplied to users with a mixture of 6 bacteria (bacillus licheniformi, bacillus smithii, bacillus brevis, geobacillus thermocatenulatus, and paenibacillus amylolyticus) that will aid in microbial degradation of PLA. Additionally, it will have controls for optimal hydrolytic degradation of PLA at 60ºC, 80%RH.

Sketch of second design iteration CAD of second design iteration

Figure 3: (a) Sketch of the improved design and (b) 3D rendering of the second iteration of the design

Figure 4: Views of (a) the top of the device and its solar panel, (b) the back of the device with the information panel, (c) the side of the device with labels, (d) the front of the device with the control panel that consists of a touchscreen, the on/off button and shredder speed knob.

Equitable Energy Technologies

Image of Earth In the words of former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, “We are the first generation to be able to end poverty, and the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change." As we create new sustainable energy technologies, a need still exists for us to better engineer them to serve everyone; therefore, I am pursing research at the intersection of energy, design and equity.

Overall, I seek to use my knowledge of emerging sustainable energy technologies to create frameworks for equitable energy system design. Although many solutions to energy inequity are typically viewed at the policy level, I am seeking to understand and address these inequities starting further upstream in the process – from the viewpoint of mechanical design. My overarching research question is: “How can design methodologies be used to guide and assess the equitable application of energy technologies?”

I started this project in January 2021, so more information will be added as the project progresses.

Institute for Engineering Equity

Institute for Engineering Equity Logo I sought to create a place within the Georgia Tech College of Engineering (CoE) that could house equity-focused research like mine. So, I proposed the creation of an Institute for Engineering Equity under the CoE through its Student Innovation Competition - Promoting Equity and Access (SICPEA) in February 2021.

There are three main issues that the application sought to address:

  1. The underrepresentation of racial and gender minority graduate students in the College of Engineering

  2. The lack of opportunity, resources and encouragement for underrepresented graduate students who seek to do research that impacts their communities

  3. The lack of an institutionalized way to work on research projects at the intersection of engineering and equity

The IEE would address these issues by creating a fellowship and providing students with an opportunity to pursue graduate engineering research to aid disenfranchised populations.

You can view the whole proposal here: Institute for Engineering Equity Proposal

Quantifying Political Power

I learned R in a 6-week “Open Data With R” introductory course. For the final project, I sought to take the first steps in a thought experiment I’ve been working on – quantifying political power - by looking at PAC donor data.

Donation frequency by adjusted gross income log of normalized donation amount vs log of wealth


In a quest to quantify power within the United States, I took a preliminary view into Political Action Committee (PAC) donors, their estimated wealth, the most popular PACs and the political parties they are donating to. Due to the limited time for this project, only data sets from 2018 were used. Donors who gave to the top 20 PACs by amount in 2018 and paid at least $200 were observed as well as 2018 IRS data and 2018 PAC contributions to political parties view the OpenSecrets website. More data analysis is needed to form conclusions on the correlation between wealth and PAC contributions, but from preliminary analysis, the higher one is in income, the more likely it is that they will donate to a PAC - with majority of donations coming from the top ̃30% of incomes and exponentially decreasing with lowering income range. This preliminary view provides a framework by which I can begin the larger project of quantifying political power in the United States by observing more factors - financial or otherwise - contributing to an individual’s or institution’s power in our society.

You can view the final paper I wrote for the course using RMarkdown here: Open Data With R Final Paper

COVID-19 Policy Hackathon

COVID-19 Policy Hackathon Logo
The COVID-19 Policy Hackathon was a 36-hour virtual hackathon dedicated to designing policy proposals that aim to solve today's most pressing economic challenges. Over the course of the weekend, we drafted policy memos as groups under public health, trade and immigration, firms and workers, and financial policy.

My group was part of the firms and workers track and we looked at creating a new upskilling program for the city of Seattle to better assist lower-income workers.

You can view the memo from the hackathon here: Final Covid-19 Policy Hackathon Memo

The Before It's Too Late Podcast

Before It's Too Late Podcast Logo
After participating in ComSciCon Atlanta (a multi-day science communication workshop) in 2020, I decided to further explore my passion for science communication through a podcast. The Before It’s Too Late (BITL) podcast focuses on the ethical questions and conversations around emerging science and technology.

You can listen to the podcast introduction below.

Listen to the BITL Intro:

MIT Senior Thesis Project

About 2.1 billion people worldwide, majority of whom are of the poorest income quintile, lack access to safe, readily available drinking water in their homes. In the paper Water Filtration Using Plant Xylem, the xylem from the sapwood of coniferous trees was found to be an effective and low-cost water filter. For my undergraduate senior thesis, I sought to create a convenient and effective method for carrying out quality control tests during the manufacturing process of these xylem filters.

My senior thesis in Dr. Rohit Karnik’s Microfluidics & Nanofluidics Research Laboratory allowed me to utilize my backgrounds in both biology and mechanical engineering. I created a protocol for failure testing of the xylem filter and instrumentation to affordably and efficiently test these filters by hand using particulates seeded in fluid.

Testing setup using water Testing setup for air
Figures: Setup for Water Testing and Setup for Air Testing

The goal of my thesis was to create the criteria, design the system, and identify the materials and hardware that could be used to create a simple, consistent and easy-to-use testing setup. To reduce costs, the testing was also to be done by hand. The ultimate goal was to create a device that would identify the permeability and rejection of the filter.

Design of water-based testing system Simplified CAD of Air Testing Setup
Figures: Design of water-based testing system and Simplified CAD of Air Testing Setup

For destructive testing, I used a syringe design in which the user could use dye, seeded particles like tumeric and provide pressure through the filter by pressing the water through the syringe and collecting filtrate.

For non-destructive testing, I used an asthma inhaler as a model for the design because an inhaler allows the user to deliver a pre-determined amount of air containing particles that will function as ther "contaminants". The inhaler-based design contains both the inhaler and a slotted base to allow manufacturers easy access to the filter.

My senior thesis can be found here: Senior Thesis

Design & Manufacturing II: The Yo-Yodeler

In my Design and Manufacturing II class, we formed teams of about 5-6 students and created a yo-yo of our own design for the final project. This class focused on techniques of manufacturing from SLA for prototyping to machining and injection molding techniques for mass-production.

CAD of yo-yo design Final yo-yo

My team designed a yo-yo based on yodeling. This yo-yo consisted of a glow-in-the-dark moon face, a dark blue "night-time" body, and a bright red "yodeler" as seen in the images above. Our yo-yo stood atop a green mountain base that we thermoformed.

Final yo-yo Final parts for yo-yo assembly Figures: The molds we created to make the parts of our yo-yo and all of the injection molded parts for 50 yo-yos - ready for assembly

My team: The Yo-Yodelers at the final presentation

My team: The Yo-Yodelers at the final presentation

More about our process can be found on the website we made for the class.

Design & Manufacturing I: The Inchworm

This is the first robot I designed and built on my own. It was made to inch up a wooden rod for my Design & Manufacturing I (2.007) class.

Final inchworm robot Another angle of inchworm robot

The "Inchworm" had two clamps made from ABS that was softened and molded around a cylindrical rod. These clamps were then lined with rubber to enhance the robot's grip. The robot was designed to inch up the pole by alternating clamps, using a lead screw and slots.

CAD of Inchworm Sub units of inchworm

The final robot ended up being heavier with the addition of guides and that moved the robot's center of gravity further from the pole, making it more difficult to sustain its grip as it moved up the pole. In the end, the robot was able to grip the pole but the pivoting during climbing made it difficult to continuously climb up the pole. At the end of the class, it was dubbed one of the most complex robot designs of the class.

Subsystem of Inchworm holding rod Completed Inchworm holding rod

Other aspects of the class included working with Arduinos, power and torque measurements, prototyping and machining.

Virtual Reality System for Mice

My collegiate research journey started in Dr. Ed Boyden’s Synthetic Neurobiology Group in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the MIT Media Lab. For my research project, I designed and built an updated mouse virtual reality system for recording in vivo neural-activity in mice. I also analyzed the performance of mice in a virtual reality system that was used to record neural activity in vivo to retrieve new data to be included in grants and publications.

It was through my research experience in this lab that I discovered my love for mechanical design. I learned the avenue by which one ventures from research to fabrication.

CAD of old and new virtual reality systems Final virtual reality system
Figures: CAD of old (smaller) and new (larger) virtual reality systems (my first time using SOLIDWORKS) and updated mouse virtual reality system

These systems allow neuroscientists to perform in vivo neural recordings. Such recordings were used to monitor the physiological progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Mice were trained and observed on a virtual reality system.

This VR system for mice consists of a spherical treadmill, head-plate support system and a display system. The spherical treadmill design was initially provided by researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Center. The spherical treadmill consisted of a light, foam ball that floats on 10 Ping-pong ball air cannons supported by an acrylic base. I built all parts of the system from scratch aside from the foam ball and projection system.

Ping-pong air cannons clamped to a skeletal acrylic frame New V.R. system with head plate
Figures: Ping-pong air cannons clamped to a skeletal acrylic frame and final updated mouse VR design with head plates and screen projecting track

Along with building a new VR system, I also worked to assess the ability for mice to carry out complex tasks in virtual reality. I used a lickometer to characterize the ability for mice to learn more complex tasks such as licking at particular points in a virtual maze.

MIT Random Acts of Kindness Week

Random Acts of Kindness Week Logo Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Week at MIT is a week in March dedicated to building connections among members of the MIT community. During the spring semester of my freshman year, my friend Cory and I were talking about the need to bring some more forms of upliftment to MIT. In the beginning of our sophomore year, the Mind+Hand+Heart Initiative created the Innovation Fund, which funded community and mental health related ideas. Through this fund as well as funding from the MIT Baker Foundation, the Office of Minority Education, the Office of Graduate Education and the MIT Large Event Fund, we were able to make our idea a reality.

The idea morphed into RAK Week - a week dedicated to forming connections and starting conversations around campus. Now, RAK Week has become an annual event at MIT.

Here are some of the articles written about MIT Random Acts of Kindness Week:

Two sophomores champion MIT’s first Random Acts of Kindness Week

RAK Week connects people across campus

A Random Act of Kindness in the Infinite Corridor

Class Awareness, Support and Equality

At the beginning of my junior year, I was speaking to some of my friends about experiences with not being able to afford food in college. After these discussions, I decided that it was an issue that needed to be addressed. I reached out to some friends who were working with the CASE (Class Awareness, Support and Equality) student group and found that they had sent out a survey that inquired about financial issues to the undergraduate population. They found that over 10% of undergraduates have experienced food insecurity while at MIT. After seeing how wide-spread this problem was, I decided to join CASE and became the head of the group's food insecurity team in my senior year.

Food care package program banner

Through funding from the MIT Women's League, we began the first program to aid undergraduate students who experience food insecurity in January 2018. Students were able to sign up to receive Free Food Care Packages. The package program contained fresh groceries for students to eat during the Intermediate Activities Period. This program continued in summer 2018 and was expanded to include graduate students, as well. Along with the care package, we included the tips and recipes below - which corresponded to some of the items in the packages.

Cooking Tips Recipes

Along with the fresh food package program, we started in-dorm food pantries, blogs and tips for affordable eating and advised representatives from the MIT Division of Student Life as they sought to open a low-cost market on campus. In addition to creating in-dorm food pantries in all of the undergraduate dorms without dining halls, we started a program for collecting and recycling unopened, non-perishable foods from students at the end of the year to restock the food pantries.

Food Collection Poster

Undergrad Making & Hacking

MakeMIT 2016

The first "hack-a-thon" I attended was MakeMIT. This make-a-thon focused on hardware projects. My team worked to create a motion sensor device that allows you to take pictures with friends in the Infinite Corridor. After these pictures were taken, the computer would loop through them - providing viewers with "snapshots" from other people's days. We used a raspberry pi to encode the motion sensor and camera. It didn’t end up completely working, but it was still fun :)

MakeMIT Project while off MakeMIT Project whille on
Figures: Images of our MakeMIT project

Breaking the Mold: Hacking Unconscious Bias 2017

2017 was the first time the Breaking the Mold Hackathon was held. This hackathon focused on unconscious bias in the workplace. My team focused on the topic of accent bias during the hiring process. We sought to develop a program that would identify the accent biases of hiring managers and use these bias test results to normalize the results from their employee recruitment. My friend Samantha and I were the only undergraduates on our team, but we were the lead programmers. Our idea was based off of Harvard's Project Implicit tests. We used the voices of our teammates with accents and those without (according to the Northeastern region of the U.S.) to create the audio clips.

Some Fun Experiences!

Huawei Seeds for the Future

During the summer of 2016, I spent some time in China as a participant of the inaugural US Huawei Seeds for the Future program. I was given the opportunity to practice my Mandarin at 北京语言大学 (Beijing Language and Culture University) and immerse myself in Chinese culture with 19 other American students. After Beijing, we headed to Shenzhen and stayed at the Huawei campus. While there, we learned about Huawei’s telecommunication technology and network as well as future innovations and work toward the Internet of Things and 5G. Finally, we received technical training at Huawei facilities for operating machines responsible for 2G, 3G, LTE and landline connections.

Pictures of Chinese class with completion certificates Students in the Forbidden City


Professor Approachability

I have taken a couple of jobs as a videographer. I also enjoy shooting and editing videos in my spare time. The first experience I had with videography was during my freshman year. A couple of friends and I wanted to create a video for students to watch during freshman orientation. We wanted to aid in breaking down the barrier between students and their professors, so we made a video about professor approachability sponsored by the Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP) Office. We played the role of the directors and interviewers of the video and the MIT Audio-Visual Services handled the video shooting and editing. You can view the final video here.