Anna Victoria Alvarez

Photo Courtesy of Anna Alvarez

Senior, Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Research Project: Articulated Morphing Wing
Faculty Sponsor: Prof. Aimy Wissa
Research Mentor: Chengfang Duan

Anna chose to go to the U of I because of the undergraduate research opportunities. In her first year, she was a research assistant in the Evolutionary Biomechanics Lab where she studied which properties of bone joints change in response to different gaits. Her interest in robotics and biology go back all the way to grade school when she created rudimentary blueprints of animal-inspired robots. This interest had led her to research experiences that focus on bio-inspired devices both on the macroscale and microscale.

Anna is currently developing a two-feet long unmanned aerial vehicle with bird-inspired morphing wings (i.e., can flap up and down and flex upwards) in Prof. Wissa’s Bio-Inspired Adaptive Morphology Lab (BAM Lab).

In the summers, she participated in NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) at Cornell University: NeuroNex REU and CNF REU.  After graduation, Anna plans to attend graduate school to eventually earn a PhD in mechanical engineering.

She is also a member of the Society of Women in Engineering’s Team Tech  and was team lead for an Engineering Open House project focused on demonstrating hydrophobic materials and their potential applications, which won 2nd place for Best Freshman Exhibit.

Fun Facts:
Anna speaks Japanese, Polish, and Spanish. She enjoys playing chess, the piano, and creating comics for her sisters.