Veronica Wu

University of California - San Diego
San Diego, CA

Aero/Astro Engineering

Principal Investigator: Stephen Ellis
Project: Studies in Virtual Environments Human Information Processing Research Branch

Education and Experiences:

I have always been curious about how mechanical devices functioned, everything from watches and airplanes to a robotic arm displayed at a space museum on a field trip in the fifth grade. When I began learning about outer space in grade school, I noticed I had a keen interest in space shuttles and astronomy. I began collecting news articles on space launches and new discoveries on the moon. Reading those articles inspired me to become a scientist and to work with NASA.

I found out about the engineering field during my sophomore year of high school. After debating whether or not I wanted to major in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering, I finally settled on Aerospace Engineering in hope of doing research on spacecraft and space exploration after graduate school. I am currently an undergraduate student studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, San Diego.

In the first two years of college I have already completed part of my childhood dream of building robots and working with NASA. I participated in a Robot Design Contest in the spring quarter of my freshmen year by designing and constructing a robot built to specific operating parameters, using industry standard tools to develop skills for design and fabrication, and acquiring knowledge of and experience with Autodesk AutoCAD and Inventor and LaserCAMM. After weeks of fabrication and testing, my group successfully built a working robot with two main moving components and won the competition. Currently, I am interning at ISS EarthKAM, a NASA sponsored program that allows middle school and high school students the opportunity to take photos of Earth from a camera that is situated on the International Space Station. More specifically, I am part of the School Team, which provides support and information to all participating schools during missions and year round. This internship has been instrumental in developing my time management, teamwork, and organization skills. Also, because the program operates on missions similar to those of NASA, I feel as though I am already working with NASA, although on a smaller scale.

Extracurricular Activities

Outside of schoolwork I like to play sports, watch movies, and play board games. I am also the philanthropy chair of Theta Tau, a Professional Engineering Society. Although I do not often play the alto saxophone anymore, I love both playing and listening to music of various genres. I also love to travel; I hope to study in Japan, Australia, or France before I complete my undergraduate education.

Future Plans

After undergraduate school, I hope to pursue Masters and Doctoral degrees in Astronautics Engineering. I am especially interested in the design of the Space Shuttle and planetary rovers. I also have a strong interest in the research and resources NASA has to offer, as I aspire to have a future career at the administration. I look forward to spending this summer at the NASA Academy at Ames. I am sure that the leadership, team building, and astounding research opportunities will be a rewarding and exciting experience.