2019 Tillman Scholar

Nicole Dusang

Air Force
Brown University
Ph.D., Electrical Engineering

“I want to engineer better technology that addresses gaps in therapy and rehabilitation for those with neurological disease or injury.”

Nicole commissioned in the Air Force following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. She was motivated to serve by a desire to defend values that she holds dear – liberty, diversity and equality – as well as to be part of something greater than herself. An electrical engineer by training, her initial specialty was as a Developmental Engineer, but she had the distinct opportunity to serve as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer during her last seven years in the Air Force.

Her experiences during her service taught her the meaning of character, grit and sacrifice. During Nicole’s service, she witnessed fellow servicemembers suffer a variety of combat-related injuries to include post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. This has shaped her aspirations to engineer better technologies that address the therapeutic and assistive gaps available to veterans with neurological disease or injuries.

As a research assistant in the Brown University Electrical and Computer Engineering department, her current focus is to develop a brain-computer interface (BCI) for the rehabilitation of upper limb movement in stroke patients. In addition to her research, Nicole is passionate about increasing diversity in STEM fields. She has served as a mentor in the New York Academy of Sciences’ 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures program, and currently serves as a coordinator on Brown University’s Graduate Women in Science and Engineering student organization. Upon completion of her Ph.D. from Brown University, Nicole wants to continue to pursue the research and development of assistive and rehabilitative BCIs.