Agathiya Tharun: First-Time Undergraduate Researcher

Agathiya Tharun is one of 17 first-time undergraduate researchers who received a stipend to participate in undergraduate research at Purdue University during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Tharun developed a component for a modular end-effector system that would be compatible with robots designed to autonomously repair and maintain extraterrestrial habitats.

This connector mount was manufactured by Agathiya Thurun at the Bechtel Innovation Design Center. It will to be used with a vacuum pump as part of a modular pneumatic gripper tool end effector.

He participated as a member of a research team led by David Cappelleri, an associate professor in mechanical engineering, that is working on one of several projects at Purdue associated with the Resilient Extraterrestrial Habitats Institute (RETHi) 

Research team (left to right): Juncheng Li, graduate student in mechanical engineering; Agathiya Tharun, First-Year engineering student; David Cappelleri, an associate professor in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering (courtesy).

Tharun received support for his work from an Indiana Space Grant Consortium grant, given to the Engineering Undergraduate Research Office (EURO), in support first-time undergraduate researchers with a mission of building a diverse workforce in Engineering.  A first-time researcher is any student who is brand new to research regardless of their academic standing. EURO had a callout for PIs with research aligned with NASA technical directorates such as Aeronautics Research, Human Exploration Operations, Science, Space Technology.

Selected first-time researchers received a $1000 stipend award to engage in research (3 credit hour worth of time commitment) labs in the 2021 Spring semester. All first-time researcher awardees presented their work at the Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference held every Spring.


Machining support for this project was provided by the Bechtel Innovation Design Center at Purdue University, leveraging its Educational Digital Twin CNC platform.

EURO will continue to offer first-time researchers financial awards through various grants. New opportunities will be posted at the beginning of the Fall semester on the EURO website's Undergraduate Research Opportunities page.