Dorca Lee Wins NASA/New Mexico Space Grant Fellowship

February 3, 2014 - Charles Reuben

Dorca LeeDorca Lee, a PhD student in Dr. Rafael Fierro’s robotics lab won the NASA/New Mexico Space Grant Fellowship on December 16, 2013.

Dorca began her robotics research in July 2012, when she received an NSF grant that sent her to Brazil and allowed her the opportunity to collaborate with the computer science department at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, UFMG. While there, she developed an algorithm that controls the way a large number of robots navigate an area collectively without directly specifying movements for each individual.

Dorca wrote a proposal about this work to the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium and how her project could potentially improve the way planetary exploration is done at NASA. This preliminary and promising swarm segregation algorithm won her the NASA/New Mexico Space Grant Fellowship. With this award she hopes to make improvement to her research, run lab tests, and hopefully make robotic swarms a possibility in outer space.

Dorca arrived at UNM from ETH Zurich in 2012 where she was studying electrical engineering. She has Bachelors in physics and applied math, and a Masters in electrical engineering from FSU. She plans to pursue her PhD at UNM while working with Dr. Fierro’s robotics lab.