Roselynn Conrady, Ph.D. student co-majoring in Human Computer Interaction and Mechanical Engineering, was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions. The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support, including an annual stipend of $34,000 and a cost of education allowance of $12,000 to the institution.
Roselynn is researching ways to help mitigate the stress response of neurodiverse populations. Hugging a loved one can mitigate anxiety and stress, even in neurodivergent individuals, such as those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She will fabricate a pneumatic-based upper-body hug device that is conducive to human movement so the user will feel the pressure of being squeezed during a hugging gesture. Her device will be used to titrate hugs in a safe environment after a stress response is induced using virtual reality (VR). Roselynn’s goal is to allow direct, proactive involvement from underrepresented populations into novel research to foster innovative solutions to better serve their community and the state of Iowa.”