2018 Tillman Scholar
While studying mechanical engineering at Villanova University, Kelly developed a passion for applying innovative solutions to challenging problems. Upon seeing the traumatic injuries that improvised explosive devices (IED) inflicted on military members and innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, Kelly knew he had the ability to effect change and prevent these attacks. After graduating, Kelly enlisted in the Navy to serve as a Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician in order to shield others from these deadly devices. During his six years in Naval Special Operations, Kelly had the honor of serving with the finest warriors from both the United States and its foreign partners.
Though Kelly separated from the military in 2018, he did not want to stop serving others. During multiple deployments to the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa, he saw how essential bomb disposal robots were to keeping his team safe while defusing IEDs. These experiences led to a fascination with collaborative robotics, a developing field that allows advanced robots to work safely alongside humans. An entrepreneur at heart, Kelly enrolled at the Wharton School of Business to pursue an MBA and gain the skills necessary to turn his passion into a startup venture.
Focusing on expanding human-robotic cooperation, Kelly hopes to launch a company focused on providing small manufacturers with low-cost collaborative robots. He hopes to enhance human productivity and create more jobs at these smaller companies so that they can compete with large corporations.