Amy Quartaro, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, has been awarded a NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunity grant. Quartaro is the third student from Virginia Tech to receive this award since its creation.

Quartaro conducts research in the Field and Space Experimental Robotics (FASER) Lab, working with Assistant Professor and primary investigator Erik Komendera. She first met Komendera when she entered NASA’s internship program in 2016 at the Langley Research Center where he was a research aerospace engineer.

“I’ve known for a very long time that I wanted to get involved with NASA, that I wanted to get involved with space robots in some way,” said Quartaro. “Finding a problem that was important to the development of space technologies and getting to work on it is what caused me to apply for this grant. It’s great to have validation that I found a difficult problem that needs to be solved, that can actively and immediately contribute to space technologies.”

2021 is the tenth consecutive year that NASA’s Space Technology Mission directorate has sought to sponsor U.S. citizen and permanent resident graduate students who show significant potential to contribute to NASA’s goal of creating innovative new space technologies for science, exploration and economic future. Awards are made in the form of grants to accredited US universities on behalf of individuals pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees, with the faculty advisor serving as the principal investigator.

Samantha Glassner (left) and Amy Quartaro (right)
Samantha Glassner (left) and Amy Quartaro (right) work on an in-space assembly.