For the second installment of ’09 Classmate Profiles, I’m thrilled to introduce Amy LaViers Minnick. Amy finished her PhD at Georgia Tech last year, where she was the recipient of the ECE Graduate Teaching Excellence Award and a finalist for the CETL/BP Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Systems and Information Engineering at the University of Virginia—and, as a PhD student myself, I can tell you what a huge accomplishment that is!
Amy was awesome enough to answer some questions about what she’s been up to since Princeton:
Can you tell us a bit about what you were involved in while at Princeton?
I was an MAE and Dance student and a member of OA, eXpressions, and TI.
Talk about what you’ve been up to since Princeton. What are you currently working on? What has the path been like to get to where you are today? What’s next?
Put simply, I’ve been working on my senior thesis. It’s taken on different forms along the way — it morphed into a PhD thesis and is now the basis for an entire lab I’ve been starting over the last year: The Robotics, Automation, and Dance (RAD) Lab. We are working to study the great variety of movement arrangement exhibited by humans and, synergistically, design better algorithms for robots.
After a four-year stint in Atlanta, GA, I’m now living in Charlottesville, VA with my husband, Eric, and our two dogs, Atlas and Cyrus B. We have a guest room – that has already hosted one Princetonian – so come visit!
Who is a Princetonian who has helped you along the way? Can you talk a bit about how this person has been an influence on your life or career?
My thesis adviser, Naomi Leonard ‘85. I consider my professional career to have begun when she agreed to advise my off-the-wall-sounding thesis topic. She also introduced me to my PhD adviser and wrote recommendations for my job search. We are currently writing a collaborative grant together, so stay tuned!
What about your life now would your Sophomore-year self be most surprised by?
That I graduated.
What’s your favorite thing about your life right now?
I love that I have a job where I feel like I can change the world – not only in the methods and technology I develop but also in the way I train my students. This makes shaking off a bad hair day quite easy.☺
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