Cohort Four

Erin Hedlund holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Bucknell University.  For the last two years, she has been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.  Her day-to-day was implementing graph database design and machine learning for image processing.  She’s interested in human-robot interaction and machine learning for healthcare applications.  In her free time, she enjoys ceramics, hiking and fantasy books.  Her goal is to design innovative technology to improve the ease, efficiency, and accuracy of patient care.





Keaton Scherpereel received his B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. His research interest lies in design and control of robotic exoskeletons. In free time, he enjoys hiking outdoors and playing unique instruments such as the banjo and dobro. His current goal is to become a professor developing robotic exoskeletons for rehabilitation.




Jennifer Leestma earned a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering with a focus in biomechanics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She is interested in understanding how human physiology can inspire and interface with assistive devices.  She hopes to apply this knowledge to create more biomimetic mechanical design and control methods for robotic exoskeletons and prostheses.  In the future, Jennifer would like to work in academia so that she can continuing conducting research that aims to improve human mobility, while also mentoring and teaching students.  In her free time, she enjoys skiing, snowboarding, water sports, hiking, and spending time back home in northern Minnesota.



Pooja Moolchandani obtained her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering on a Computation Track from the University of Southern California. She is a Presidential Scholar, a Grand Challenges Scholar, Viterbi School of Engineering Fellow, and received the departmental Student Achievement Award for Outstanding Ingenuity and Performance. She has presented her research at the International Conference on Human Robot Interaction and other local conferences. In her free time, she enjoys going on hikes, art and photography, and planning for the next adventure.

Her interests include human-robot interaction and healthcare robotics, specifically in terms of bridging mechanical design to control systems. She will obtain her Ph.D. in Robotics as an ARMS Fellow under Dr. Aaron Young and Dr. Ani Mazumdar on the Rapid Operator Awareness via Mobile Robotics (ROAMR) project. Her goals are to bring innovative, creative solutions to the defense field.


Jonathan hails from the beautiful Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. He completed his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech and is currently pursuing his PhD in Mechanical Engineering. His research deals with exploring the field terrain-aware human augmentation and rehabilitative robotics, where his goal is to use design techniques and control systems to design better prosthetic and orthotic devices for real-world use. His hope is that continued research into this area can one day positively impact the quality of life of stroke victims, differently abled individuals, and wounded veterans. He has spent almost ten years helping to coordinate medical relief efforts to the South Caribbean and has a heart for people. He loves exploring and traveling, and spends his spare time trying new and interesting foods, cooking, volunteering, cycling, hiking, hitting the gym and taking impromptu road trips or standby flights.



Daniel Enrique Martinez obtained his Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Florida International University in Miami, Florida. A McNair Scholar, Daniel enjoys engaging in service projects and inspiring and mentoring underserved communities to pursue their career goals. His research interests lie in mechanical design and control of robotic systems for human augmentation and rehabilitation. During his undergrad, he worked at the FIU Applied Research Center to prototype a robotic pipe crawler for the inspection of 2 inch pipes for the Department of Energy. He also interned at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and later at Michigan State University, working on robot automation optimization and swarm robotics. His hobbies include cars, computers, cooking, travelling, and learning Japanese.


Joshua Fernandez obtained a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). While attending UMBC, he was a member of the 27th cohort of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program which helped to cement his interest in robotic research. His interests within the field of robotics include human-robotic interaction, robotic prosthetics, and exoskeletons. His goals are to obtain a PhD in Robotics at Georgia Tech and get a career that will enable him to create novel and useful robots that can be used in everyday life. Outside of school, he enjoys spending time outside and being active through sports and going to the gym. 


Jairo Maldonado-Contreras earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California State University – Long Beach (CSULB). During his undergrad, he conducted rehabilitation research at CSULB and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and robotics research at MIT, NASA JPL, and the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He is interested in using machine learning to develop assistive devices with seamless control capabilities. Jairo aspires to become a professor to continue his work in rehabilitation robotics and community outreach. In his free time, Jairo enjoys playing and watching soccer.