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.
Andria Farrens is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. She received her undergraduate BS degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Davis. She took a year off between undergraduate and graduate school to work with kids and young adults with autism at the MIND Institute, teaching social skills. Currently, her research focuses on understanding neuro-motor dysfunction following stroke. She uses functional MRI to image healthy and stroke patients brains while they perform motor tasks to understand how the brain functions differently following a stroke. Andria joined the Perry Initiative in spring 2017 and became a specialist in the fall of 2018.
Kelley Kempski is an undergraduate student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware with minors in Biomechanical Engineering and Bioelectrical Engineering. Her main research focus is investigating new methods of improving gait after stroke. Kelley has also done research at Johns Hopkins University using photoacoustic imaging to visualize blood vessels during surgery, as well as doing research at the US Army Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston to improve airway training for combat medics. Kelley joined the Perry Initiative in 2016 and became a program specialist in fall of 2018.
Kelsey Neal is a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware. She received he Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines, where she also played varsity soccer. Currently, her research focuses on joint health post ACL tear and reconstruction. She uses motion capture and MRI to asses how this injury effects the biomechanics of the joint and its biochemical components. Prior to attending graduate school Kelsey worked in the oil industry, at Disney, and at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Kelsey joined the Perry Initiative in fall 2017 and became a specialist that following spring. Passionate about encouraging young women to pursue careers in STEM fields she is a Women In Engineering steering committee member at UD and a founder of Girls in STEM, an outreach program for underserved communities in New Mexico.
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.
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