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I Am a Researcher

RohanShah standing in a fieldRohan Shah

Major(s): Mechanical engineering (controls and robotics)

College: Thurgood Marshall College

UC San Diego graduation year: 2025

Which research programs/experiences have you been a part of? 

Who did you work under?

I worked (and still work :) ) under Professor Nick Gravish in his Bio-inspired robotics lab.

Why and how did you decide to get involved in GEAR?

I found out about GEAR in an email from the IDEA center. I had been interested in research from my high school days, when I made a prototype of color blindness correctors and figured GEAR would be a great way to explore this path and get connected with the right people.

What did you research?

As part of the GEAR program during the academic year, my partner and I worked under our lab mentor to create a prototype for sensorless robotic limbs. This project aimed to reduce costs of production of robots by eliminating the need for sensors, and also making the robots as minimal as possible. After this, as a GEAR Summer Research Scholar, I worked on an independent project under Professor Gravish for conceptualizing similarities between multi-legged locomotion and viscous motion. This work is currently being drafted into a paper and was accepted to be presented at the American Physical Society's March Meeting.

Friction-Carousel.JPGWhat has been the most exciting/interesting thing you've discovered through the research?

Through the research I have conducted so far, I discovered how to learn! While schoolwork is super important for learning, it can only take you so far. Hands on experience that I gained while researching helped me find the most effective ways for me to learn - a skill that would be hard to come by in a classroom.

 What did you gain from this program/experience?

I gained confidence in my abilities to not only conduct research, but also to adapt to new environments the best I can.

What advice would you give to students starting research?

At times it might get hard to juggle academics and research, but pushing through these times and putting in the additional hours will be extremely rewarding and would fill you with confidence that is required as an upcoming professional.

What are your future goals?

With all the knowledge acquired in UC San Diego, I hope to implement some of this in my home country of India and give back to the society the best I can.

Friction-Carousel-in-Motion.JPGAnything else you want to share?

GEAR also helped me in networking - networking that I am putting to use as Chair of ASME at UCSD, our newly set up organization on campus to help our Mechanical Engineers socialize and form meaningful connections


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