Laurie Meszaros Dearolf works with program hosts, corporate sponsors and Perry Initiative staff to provide quality programs to all of our locations. Laurie earned a BSEng in Biosystems and Agricultural engineering from University of Kentucky and a PhD in Bioengineering from University of Pittsburgh. She began working for the Perry Initiative in 2013 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Pittsburgh where she studied heterotopic ossification (a really interesting orthopaedic problem where bone grows where it is not supposed to grow!). Laurie is interested in informal science education and tissue engineering.
Jenni Buckley, PhD
Co-Founder & Associate Director
Dr. Buckley is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at University of Delaware. She received her Bachelor’s of Engineering (2001) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware, and her MS (2004) and PhD (2006) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked on computational and experimental methods in spinal biomechanics. Since 2006, her research efforts have focused on the development and mechanical evaluation of medical and rehabilitation devices, particularly orthopaedic, neurosurgical, and pediatric devices. She teaches courses in design, biomechanics, and mechanics at University of Delaware and is heavily involved in K12 engineering education efforts at the local, state, and national levels.
Hannah Heuschneider is the program coordinator for The Perry Initiative. She works with all the weekly volunteers and program specialists to make sure all the equipment and the volunteers get to each Perry program! She also handles different logistical aspects of the programs in collaboration with program hosts. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Delaware. During undergrad, she worked with fellow Biomedical Engineers to develop an assistive seating device for infants with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a brittle bone disorder responsible for frequent fractures and improper bone healing. Her interests include research and development of macro-level assistive medical devices.
Ana Ebrahimi is a PhD candidate and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Davis. Currently, she studies the mechanics and energetics of walking under varying gait intensities with the intent of contributing to the design and prescription of orthotic and prosthetic devices. Ana joined the Perry Initiative as a volunteer in fall 2013, and became a Program Specialist two years later. She is also the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Association president and a Women In Engineering steering committee member at UD.
Dani Gerstman is a ’17 graduate in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware. She joined the Perry Initiative in 2014 as a volunteer and became a program specialist in the fall of 2016. At the University, she aspired to minor in Integrated Design and Biomechanics, and take part in several student organizations, such as being a residential assistant and co-leading MESS (Mechanical Engineering Student Squad). She now works as a biomedical engineer and enjoys sharing her nation-wide and abroad adventures!
Julia Paganucci is a senior undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware. She first started volunteering for The Perry Initiative in 2014 and became a Program Specialist in fall 2017. Julia has minors in Integrated Design and Biomechanical Engineering, and hopes to one day accept a job in healthcare technologies.
Nicole Ray is a PhD Student and Helwig Mechanical Engineering Fellow at the University of Delaware. She received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. Her current research focuses on understanding the impact of innovative rehabilitation tools on the movement patterns, functional performance and quality of life of stroke survivors. Nicole joined the Perry Initiative after starting graduate school at UD in the fall of 2015 and became a program specialist in the fall of 2016. She is also part of the executive board for the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Association (MEGA) and steering committee for the Women in Engineering (WiE) program.
Grace Ruiz Cooper
Grace Ruiz Cooper is a senior undergraduate student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware. She has declared minors in Biomechanics, Integrated Design, and Math, and is president of the Mechanical Engineering Student Squad (The MESS). She started volunteering for The Perry Initiative in 2015, interned with Perry the summer of 2016, and became a program specialist in 2017. She plans on graduating in 2018 using her degree to pursue a job in the field of implant and medical device design.
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