How Things Have Started – Jerica

The first two weeks of research are done and it has been an experience. My group and I found out when we got here that we would have to start our assistive robotics research from scratch. Starting research from scratch is not an easy task, but we put our heads together and got an idea. Then we found out that idea has been done cheaper and simpler, so we quickly moved on. Even though it was frustrating to find out that we aren’t as clever as we think we are, it was a great learning experience and taught us to do more research before we decided on an idea. Which I know seems like common sense, but sometimes you need to learn it the hard way.

Our project idea is a simplified robotic arm that attaches to a powered wheelchair. The platform behind this robotic arm is that is more economical than other robotic arms making it easier for people to obtain and increase general availability. My part in the project is primarily the design and assembly.

The program is much more relaxed than I had anticipated, which I’m really enjoying. It gives us a chance to set the pace so that we are learning and setting goals to meet the end timeline in a way that I haven’t yet done in previous settings. I am not having any trouble settling into the area because I live here with my husband and have the luxury of having a dog. I feel very fortunate to be able to do research on my home campus. My friends and family are here and I have access to all of my hobbies. I feel that I have the best of both worlds and I’m really grateful for that!

About Me – Jerica Breen

Greeting! My name is Jerica Breen, I am student at UW-Stout working on my second Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. My first Bachelor’s was in Athletic Training from UW-Eau Claire. When I got into the working world of athletic training I realized that I was building new braces and equipment in my head and understood then that I needed to be a part of research and development. My goal is to work with prosthetics in the future. I don’t know what I will be doing school-wise in the future because I have a bit of a unique background, I love the idea of getting a master’s or PhD in prosthetics, but if I can get to where I want to be without additional schooling, I would appreciate the break from the classroom.

What I hope to get out of this research opportunity is to broaden my base of study and get my feet wet working with other engineers of a different focus. So far in my past research and projects I have only worked with someone who was of the same major as myself and I’m excited to work my group members of different scientific fields.

When I’m not dreaming about prosthetics, I like to spend time with my husband and puppy dog (12 year-old chocolate lab, but you know they are always puppies). I enjoy many outdoor sports, backpacking, crocheting, sewing, painting, and not eating the edge pieces of brownies.brownie thief...