Professor Adrian Stoica’s VU research helped propel him towards becoming one of NASA’s most esteemed engineers.
“My career began in my home country of Romania, where I studied and worked for three years as a designer of embedded systems.
In 1989 I decided to immigrate to Australia and develop my career. I was accepted to three universities, but during my interview at VU my future was sealed. I accepted with the PhD, accommodation, teaching assistantship, paid tutoring hours, with strong support in getting my scholarship.
I am forever grateful for the trust and potential my supervisor saw in me. I also became Australian citizen during that period, of which I am very proud.
I completed my PhD in VU’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. My thesis was about how robots can learn by imitation of human movements.
After graduation, I entered the US Green Card lottery, and was surprised to learn that I won. Not long after landing in the States I was offered the job at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In the first 12 years I promoted through the ranks to senior research scientist – and here I am 21 years later.
I still have many plans for the future. One is to build a solar energy infrastructure at the South Pole of the Moon. Another is to find a solution to helping elderly and sick people move unassisted – from bed to bathroom, or to a wheelchair. In an age where we master nuclear reactions, and our spacecraft reach the ends of our solar system, we are not able to provide an elderly person with an assistive device. I can hardly think of a greater satisfaction than seeing this done as a contribution to humanity.”