POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- Jacqueline Kory, a rising senior and cognitive science major from Pleasant Hill, CA, is participating in the NASA Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars Program (LARSS). Kory sought this challenging summer experience because, “I live by the rule that I will never be done learning.” Work in Langley's Autonomous Vehicle Lab with researcher Garry D. Qualls is providing Kory the opportunity to explore applications of cognitive science and computer science to autonomous robotics problems. Her potential long-term goals include working for NASA (and being the first person to walk on Mars), academic research, or starting a robotics company.
Kory, whose degree will include a correlate sequence in computer science, said that a variety of Vassar experiences have helped prepare her for the NASA internship program. She particularly pointed to work in 2008 and 2009 with professor Kenneth Livingston during the college’s Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI), as well as participation in the Cognitive Science Program's annual robotics competition.
“Jackie’s background in mathematics and all things technical is exceptional, but she also keeps a foot firmly planted in the humanities. She's living proof that the combination makes for exceptionally creative and productive thinkers and problem solvers,” observed Livingston, a psychology and cognitive science professor. “And Jackie is an excellent representative of the kinds of scientists Vassar produces.”
Livingston also noted that Kory joined the team in Vassar's Interdisciplinary Robotics Research Lab after her freshman year. “This is rare because it usually takes at least a couple of years to build the expertise necessary to work on the projects in the lab,” he said. “I'm delighted that she has had this NASA opportunity, and I can't wait to have her back in the lab this fall so we can all benefit from her experience.
Kory expects to study cognitive science, robotics, or machine learning in graduate school, and that, “My experiences this summer here at Langley will help me determine exactly which field I'd like to enter. I've already received a lot of good advice from the researchers, scientists, and my fellow interns.”
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.