Black History Month 2021 Feature: Quentin Sanders, Ph.D.

Quentin Sanders, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral research fellow at North Carolina State University. He received his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine.

How did you become interested in robotics? Ever since I was a kid, I have always had a passion for tinkering. I really enjoyed building things and understanding how things worked. This was amplified by the TV shows that I used to watch as a kid - Ironman, Transformers, and Voltron. All of these shows had really cool robotics going on, and I wanted to make them myself.  As I got older, my passion for robotics grew when I saw the type of helpful impact robotics could have on people's lives.

Who are your mentors? I have had several mentors, such as my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. David Reinkensmeyer, and my undergraduate advisor, Dr. Anindo Roy. My most impactful mentor has been my older brother, Dr. Ozell Sanders, who helped grow my passion for robotics ever since we were children.

What words of wisdom would you give to robotics students? If something doesn't go your way, it doesn't mean that you're not good at it or that you should give up. Sometimes your robot might not work as planned, but that's just a learning experience. Use it to make the next robot even better. I've failed several times and if I stopped just because of one failure, I would not have made it to where I am today.

Anything else you would like to share? Robotics can be a lot of fun and can be applied in several different areas, like 3D printed apparel, robotics to train athletes, and robotic exoskeletons.  There really are a number of possibilities so don't feel constrained to think robotics has to look a certain way. Make it look like how you want it to look. 

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