Submitted by: Alexandra Basantes Defaz
Program: Materials Engineering
Division: Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences
I am not your stereotypical welder. I am an M.S. student in the Department of Civil and Materials Engineering conducting research in UIC’s Welding Laboratory under the direction of Professors Ernesto Indacochea and Didem Ozevin. I am researching traditional welding techniques and autonomous welding in “real-time” to avoid defects. This addresses weld quality assurance by developing a combined real-time diagnosis, decision, and control system based on multi-sensor fusion and machine learning methodology. The major technology innovation of the research is that a welding machine will be able to make intelligent decisions in response to process variables, disturbances, and tool deterioration. This image, taken in the lab, represents the professionalism of understanding fundamentals and the power of simplicity. Having some expertise in welding has allowed me to excel in my research. It also shows the stark contrast of perception and reality. In the picture, I am focused to detail while commanding a metal-melting welder held inches away from my face as sparks fly. What you can’t see in the picture is that I am a 5’1” tall woman who is as strong and bright as the welding arc.