Kalani: A Profile of Engineering and Excellence

January 20, 2017


Katie M. '17

Kalani P. '17 hopes to enter the field of mechanical engineering.

Kalani P., a senior at Padua has spent her four years here preparing for a career in mechanical engineering. Born in Texas, Kalani moved to Delaware when she was one year old. “When I was in grade school I discovered I really enjoyed math and science. I was involved in Science Olympiad and found opportunities in high school to continue activities like that.”, says Kalani. Kalani has applied to numerous colleges such as Villanova and Princeton, but her top choice is currently Rice University in Houston, Texas. “I hope to major in either mechanical engineering or aeronautical engineering”, she says. In her junior year, Kalani was selected to work with Dr. Lucas Lu, Ph.D, from the department of Mechanical Engineering at University of Delaware on research in the Cartilage Bioengineering lab. “We took cartilage samples from a calf knee joint and simulated the damage which OA  causes. Then we exposed some of the samples to a drug we know works and exposed  other samples to the new drug. Using a confocal microscope, we took videos of the cells  after 5 and 10 days of drug exposure, and evaluated how healthy the cartilage samples  were and if the cartilage had improved after being damaged,” Kalani says. Her work was contributed to two abstracts that are the base for future research papers.

Kalani says that her courses at Padua have prepared her well for her intended major. “The classes I’ve taken helped me prepare for classes in college really well. Padua expects a lot from its students and has taught me time management and how to meet deadlines, which is required in any field a student enters”, she says. Kalani has been a part of Padua’s robotics team for four years, and is Team Captain as well as a member of the Science Olympiad team for two years. “In robotics, I enjoy designing and building a robot because it gives me the opportunity to solve problems and think creatively. With Science Olympiad, I like learning about different science topics. It’s fun way to learn about things I wouldn’t normally get to learn about in school.” When asked about her future, Kalani says “I don’t have a concrete plan for what I want to happen because things change so easily. But as long as I’m doing what I love and I’m happy, then I’ve achieved my goal of success.”

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