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Kiran Bagalkotkar – 2019 Virginia Tech College of Engineering Outstanding Senior

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So three years ago, I came into the COGnitive Engineering for Novel Technologies Lab, the Cogent Lab and met Dr Joe Gabbert and Dr

Missy Smith, and started to do undergraduate research with them, Human Factors research, with this lovely driving simulator, which is half of a mini cooper out in Whittemore Hall I fell in love with research I absolutely love being in this lab, the culture is amazing I've found so many mentors and my support system in this lab I can come in here when I'm down, I can come in here when I have a question

And there will be someone here to help me I love to be here and have been here over the past three years, so I can be that support system for other people as well So, over the years here at Virginia Tech, I've worked for many different companies I started off working for NASA Langley Then I did a co-op with GE Aviation, and GE transportation

Then I actually went to England on a joint research project between Virginia Tech and the University of Nottingham, and did driving simulator research over there for a summer Then I worked for Bank of America and this summer I'll work for General Motors, all human factors related research and jobs And I also work for a local startup called Red Shift Education, where we design virtual reality for high school education I'm the user experience researcher and lead So, I get to design all the user experience and really get hands-on into this lesson development for VR, because I'm really, really passionate about education as well as user experience

So it's kind of a perfect fit for me When I came to Virginia Tech, I didn't really know what kind of engineering I wanted to go into But I went to all of the info sessions and I found ISE and fell in love I really liked how broad the discipline was and how you could essentially do any job with it I really love psychology

So I liked the fact that there is a subset of ISE, which is human factors that combines research in psychology and systems thinking, so that you can design things for how people think and how people interact with systems Before then, my junior year of high school, I did not know what an engineer was, even though half of my family are engineers, I thought they were all just car mechanics So when I finally realized what an engineer was, I was like, Hey, this is this is pretty cool It actually combines a lot of my interests So that's when I applied to Virginia Tech

I applied early decision, I only applied to Virginia Tech, and I came here and I really don't want to leave

Source: Youtube

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