Brandon Minor: Bringing robots to life

Media Credit: Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

What is typically the stuff of sci-fi fantasies will soon come to life for one senior.

Brandon Minor, a University Honors Program student who is double-majoring in physics and computer science, will enter the School of Engineering and Applied Science in the fall to pursue a Ph.D. in robotics. He works on robotic movement, which focuses on building machines that are aware of their surroundings and react accordingly.

The program can take anywhere from four to seven years, Minor said, meaning the senior could earn his doctorate by age 25.

As an independent research student with the department, Minor worked on autonomous movement of vehicles and became fascinated with the subject, ultimately deciding to pursue a degree within the GW program.

While the program is intensive and exclusive, housing only seven Ph.D. students, Minor emphasized the applicability of the degree in professions ranging from banking to government.

“It’s not just about getting a salary, you work on things that are valuable,” Minor said. “In banking, they use the same statistical analysis I use in robotics. Pretty much, name me a field and I could name you some skill that I could utilize [from robotics].”

In considering his future plans, he noted an interest in potentially bringing his work to California’s burgeoning tech industry.

“The definition of a Ph.D. is breaking the barrier of science – doing things that no one has done – which is all I want to do with my life,” Minor said. “If getting a job meant not making an original contribution to the world, then I’d much rather get a Ph.D.”

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