Published: Sept. 6, 2018
Katherine Glasheen

Name: Katherine Glasheen
Hometown: Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Major: Aerospace PhD Student
Advisor: Eric Frew, Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles, (RECUV)

I grew up in a small town in Door County, Wisconsin, which provided little exposure to STEM careers.

Throughout my childhood, I was competitive when it came to academics and I loved math, so I decided to study biomedical engineering on a pre-med track at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. During my first semester, I realized that I would never love chemistry but I could learn to love physics. Aerospace engineering was the only engineering major that did not require any additional chemistry courses and was rich with physics so I gave it a shot.

I dove head first into aerospace through working in an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) lab, doing independent research in wind turbine aerodynamics and control, and joining competition teams and social clubs.

After a few summer internships at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and Northrop Grumman in Southern California, I realized that I wanted to continue to advance aerospace on the cutting edge. I began applying for graduate programs across the country that focused in aerospace autonomy.

My research focuses on network enabled-autonomy for aerial robots - using cloud robotics in the clouds.

The goal of my work is to expand the autonomous capabilities of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) through the development of a network infrastructure. If airborne sUAS can take advantage of off-board resources for computation, updated weather and traffic information, and data storage, a network architecture will ensure safe autonomy of sUAS during flight. My work examines fundamental research questions in dispersed off-board computing to address communication in fading network connections, requests from multiple airborne vehicles, and off-board machine intelligence.

The research in the Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV) aligned perfectly with my interest in expanding the autonomous capabilities of physical systems. My work has already been used in storm chasing endeavors across tornado alley, as well as in collaborative projects with universities in other countries.

The blend of practical and theoretical understanding and implementation that my PhD program provides will cause me to be well-suited for a position in academia, industry, national research labs, or even the startup world. It was obvious to me that going to CU Boulder would provide all of the opportunities and resources that I would need to fulfill my definition of success and to position me for any career after graduate school.

CU Boulder is a community of cutting edge researchers and innovators. I am amazed by the network of passionate people that I have gotten to know throughout my time at here.

Although I am a PhD student in Aerospace Engineering Sciences, I work with students, faculty, and community members in business, communication, politics, and law. I am amazed by CU’s cross-collaboration as well as the personal environment that is present in such a large university. The innovative culture expands beyond campus and is present through the Boulder area, which makes Boulder feel like home.