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'Every time I solved a complex problem, it reaffirmed my passion for my field'

ASU graduate Carly Thalman hopes to use her skills in robotics engineering to help the nation's soldiers


Carly Thalman, a Barrett honors student, won an IMPACT Award for her service to fellow students in support of the educational mission of ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

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December 14, 2016

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2016 commencement. See more graduates here.

Love led Carly Thalman to engineering.

“I love problem solving and I love a good challenge, and I enjoy being creative and bringing my ideas to life,” she said. “Engineering is the perfect combination of all those things.”

She found a major in robotics engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering to be the most fulfilling outlet for those passions.

“As a robotics engineer you get to wear many hats. You get to learn different aspects of mechanical, electrical and software engineering all at once, and I enjoy getting a solid understanding of how the overall system works and functions,” she said.

Question: What accomplishment during your undergraduate years was most meaningful?

Answer: In the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative program I worked on designing a soft-robotic grasper for an assistive third-arm prosthetic device. In doing that, I realized my passion for research, I found a field that I enjoyed and a mentor who I wanted to work closely with. Thanks to all that I have decided pursue a doctoral degree and continue this research for my dissertation. 

Q: How will you change the world with your engineering skills?

A: I hope to work in the defense industry, helping aid our soldiers either in the field or after they return home. My thesis focused on an assistive robotic device that acts as a “third arm,” to help improve the independence of impaired individuals. I also work with Raytheon on their defensive missile systems. Between these two areas, I hope that I can make a difference for our troops.

Q: What has been most rewarding about your college experience?

A: The most rewarding thing has been helping mentor my fellow students, and encouraging people to push themselves to be the best they can be. Nothing gives me more joy than knowing I helped another student succeed.

Q: What told you that you were on the right career path?

A: Every time I solved a complex problem, finished a prototype, or fixed a broken part of a system, it reaffirmed my passion for my field and motivated me to keep working hard.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I will be interning during summers with Raytheon while I earn my doctoral degree, and the plan is to work full-time for Raytheon after getting that degree.

Q: What did you do to take a break from your studies?

A: I am a self-taught chef. I enjoy cooking new and exciting foods, and experimenting with my own recipes. I also enjoy writing fiction/fantasy, and I love the horror genre. But the best way for me to relax after a long day is to sit down and play video games, either role-playing games or horror games.

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