PHILADELPHIA â€“ Katherine J. Kuchenbecker of the University of Pennsylvaniaâ€™s School of Engineering and Applied Science has been named to the 2011 Class of Science and Public Leadership Fellows by PopTech, the global social innovation incubator and thought leadership network.
Kuchenbecker is the Skirkanich Assistant Professor of Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics and a roboticist. She is developing interface systems that enable users to touch virtual objects and distant environments as though they were real and within reach. Her work has applications in surgery, medical training, autonomous robots and games.
The Science and Public Leadership Fellows program acknowledges the significant role science plays in improving society and is committed to accelerating the positive impact of world-changing people, projects and ideas.
PopTech selects high-potential, early- and mid-career working scientists and provides them with training, a social network, ongoing mentoring and opportunities for scientific and public leadership and engagement. The yearlong program begins with a leadership retreat at National Geographic headquarters in Washington.
Later, the Fellows will present their work at the PopTech 2011 conference to be held Oct. 19-22 in Camden, Me.
The 2011 Class also includes Iain Couzin of Princeton University; Milton Garces of the University of Hawaii at Manoa; Shaily Mahendra of the University of California, Los Angeles; Alysson Muotri of UC, San Diego; Raul Rabadan of Columbia University; Pardis Sabeti of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Clifford Saron of UC, Davis; Jessika Trancik of MIT; and Adrien Treuille of Carnegie Mellon University.
PopTechâ€™s partners and supporters are Microsoft Research, the Rita Allen Foundation, National Geographic, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the National Science Foundation.