Jessica Weakly Successfully Defends Doctoral Dissertation

On June 17, Jessica Weakly (pictured right) presented her doctoral dissertation, “Bistable Structures Enable Passive Transitions in Mobile Robots,” under the advisory of Gabel Family Term Assistant Professor Cynthia Sung (pictured left).

Weakly’s time as a PhD student in MEAM has been one of growth, challenges, and triumphs. “My endurance was helped by having friends in the department to offer a listening ear, advice, and encouragement.” Reflecting on her time at Penn, Weakly thought back to a celebratory trip to the Catskills with fellow cohort members after completing their qualifying exams and the sense of accomplishment she felt when each of her robots first became operational. A particularly exciting memory was witnessing her robot soaring over Franklin Field.

When asked for advice for future PhD students, she emphasized the importance of recognizing that each person’s academic journey is unique. They encourage students not to compare their progress to others, but instead to focus on their own path and growth.

Weakly expressed deep gratitude to several individuals who played crucial roles in her success, including her advisor and the committee members for their guidance and support throughout the PhD process. The MEAM staff also received recognition for their logistical assistance and consistently positive attitudes, and the unwavering support of friends and family.

We are delighted to announce that Jessica Weakly will be staying with MEAM as a lecturer in the upcoming Fall semester. “I look forward to honing my teaching skills and getting to know my students.”