Friday, February 16, 2024

The Office of Undergraduate Research proudly presents 2024 EURA Winner Sabrina Vlk

Sabrina Vlk currently studies Mechanical Engineering as a junior at the University of Iowa. In addition, she is working toward a minor in Mathematics and earning an AIMS certificate. Her mentor, Assistant Professor Venanzio Cichella, specializes in Mechanical Engineering while facilitating Vlk's research endeavors. 

Describe your current project.

Within the Cooperative Autonomous Systems (CAS) Lab, I have primarily been involved on the POLPI project in which our team is working towards designing, developing, and controlling a soft robot octopus. My job specifically has been designing and building a test bed with a simplified version of an octopus arm for other members of the team to test their controllers on.


What do you enjoy most about research?

I love how I get to experience a whole new level of problem solving. A lot of the time, there aren't any textbooks I can reference or tutorials I can follow so when faced with a difficult task, I have to rely on my own skillset and the help of my peers to navigate my way towards a solution. From these experiences I've grown a lot as a problem solver, critical thinker, communicator, and engineer. 


Outside of research and academics...

I am heavily involved in within the Theatre Department here on campus both on and off stage as a Theatre Representative, Lighting Designer, Actress, and (soon to be) producer of a virtual reality production. When I'm not in the engineering or theatre buildings, you can find me at home reading a book with my cat, Peach, on my lap.


She has major plans after graduation.

I have been accepted into the U2G program for my Master's in Mechanical Engineering and I'm planning to stick around Iowa City for my Ph.D. as well.


Thank you for your contributions to our research community!