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Nathan Kirkpatrick — Outstanding Undergraduate

Nathan Kirkpatrick

Nathan Kirkpatrick

Nathan Kirkpatrick
B.A. in English Literature
B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering
Graduated from Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, Arizona
Originally from Tempe, Arizona

“If I had an engineering superpower, it would be the power of intuition,” said Nathan Kirkpatrick. “The ability to determine if an experimental protocol will bear fruit or not would be tremendously valuable.”

It’s easy to see why Kirkpatrick would want that ability by looking at his resume.

A participant in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (FURI) in the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters, research has guided much of his college career. In fact, that’s why he came to Arizona State University in the first place.

“I chose to come to ASU because I wanted to work with faculty who are performing cutting-edge biomedical engineering research,” he said.

He notes the most rewarding aspect of his undergraduate years at ASU has been the ability to participate in research, working with dedicated, creative and inspirational faculty, such as biomedical engineering faculty Assistant Professor Claire Honeycutt and Associate Professor Michael Caplan.

“Dr. Honeycutt and Dr. Caplan have both been instrumental in teaching me how to translate an idea into a robust experiment, and how to convey these findings to others,” said Kirkpatrick.

In addition to personal fulfillment, his passion for and commitment to research has reaped other benefits as well. As a FURI fellow, Kirkpatrick has been selected as a FURI luncheon speaker to share how research has shaped his experience at ASU.

“I have taken every opportunity to be involved in research at ASU because I find the process of uncovering something new exhilarating,” said Kirkpatrick. “ASU has empowered me to develop a robust set of investigative skills that I will use for the rest of my engineering career.”

In October 2015, Kirkpatrick was awarded a FURI Travel Grant, which allowed him to attend the annual conference of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago. There he presented his work on stroke rehabilitation techniques.

“By studying human movements patterns, I was able to discover how our brains talk to our muscles, and how that changes when we learn to perform new actions,” he said. “At the conference, I discussed my findings with other researchers from around to world.”

The feedback he received at the conference led him to write a paper about his research, which will soon be submitted for publication.

He was originally drawn to study in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering due to his experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer: “I realized that I am passionate about solving puzzles and helping people,” he said. “Biomedical engineering was the obvious choice.”

After graduation, Kirkpatrick will be joining the joint biomedical engineering Ph.D. program of Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, where he wishes to continue his research work.

“I hope to expand upon the research foundation I have established at ASU during my time in graduate school to uncover new ways of treating illness and improve peoples’ lives,” he said.

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