Evan Palmer is a junior at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where he’s studying software engineering. He is currently working with Dr. Brittany Duncan, co-director of the Nebraska Intelligent Mobile Unmanned Systems (NIMBUS) Lab, and a team of researchers who are designing and developing various components for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Evan is currently working on the implementation of an autonomous landing zone detection system.
What would your peers find most fascinating about your work with the NIMBUS Lab?
The most fascinating thing about the work that I am doing is the robotic technologies that we are designing. The creativity of the team has enabled the design of unique, advanced technologies that effectively overcome a problem. These technologies are also fascinating because they are extensible to additional problems, reinforcing the impact that the work has.
What excites you the most?
Working on a team to push the boundaries of science and technology through engineering is the most exciting aspect of this work. Specifically, being presented with a problem that has not yet been solved and being challenged to overcome it provides an exciting opportunity to learn and to accomplish something meaningful.
Do you feel a sense of patriotism in this work?
As a member of a military family, working on a project for the Department of Defense helped me feel more connected to the work that my family is involved in. It has been impactful knowing that I am able to create new technologies that have the potential to enhance their safety. Overall, it has been a wonderful experience working with other scientists and engineers who have the common goal of improving the security of the United States.
Who mentored you throughout this process? How did you grow from his/her mentorship?
My mentors throughout this process were Dr. Brittany Duncan, Jacob Hogberg, Siya Kunde and the rest of the NIMBUS "Digging Team.” I grew from their mentorship most directly because of the challenges that they have given me, the opportunity to overcome and the support that they have given me in that work. By taking time to teach me and by believing in me, I am growing into a more well-rounded student, and I am more confident in my engineering abilities.
What did you learn through this work?
I learned a significant amount regarding research and engineering in the field of robotics through this work. Robotics is a multidisciplinary field, so I've learned more about the disciplines outside of my software engineering major, such as electrical engineering. I am also learning how to effectively work on teams to design robotic systems and how to design high-quality software for robotic systems.
How has this experience impacted your future?
My career plans have evolved through my work with NSRI by reinforcing my desire to pursue a career in robotics and by exposing me to the opportunities available through research as a research engineer.
Why should other students intern through NSRI?
Students should intern through NSRI because of the opportunity to work on projects that will have a direct impact on the world. These projects cover a diverse set of disciplines, enabling exploration of new domains or advanced exposure to current domains.