Amazing Students Profiles

Alexander Squires

Alexander Squires

As Alex Squires, a master’s degree student in engineering, continues on his path of academic excellence, the world of robotics may never be the same.


Richmond Hill, Ga.

High School:

Richmond Hill High School

Degree objective:

M.S. in engineering

Other degrees:

B.S. in biological engineering, A.B. in cognitive science (both at UGA)

Expected graduation:

Spring 2014

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

Foundation Fellowship:
—Received the Lisa Ann Coole award, which is awarded to a fourth-year Fellow by his or her peers.

Odyssey of the Mind:
—Competed on UGA team sophomore year.
—Judged at regional and state levels last six years.
—Invited to judge at world finals.

—One article in Journal of Robotics.
—Two abstracts at conferences.
—Went to International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine conference to present abstract.

Community service:
—Work with Athens Academy robotics teams as an adviser for advanced fabrication and design.

Foundation Fellowship Travel-Study:
—India; observed the history and architecture of the Mughal Empire; March 2011.
—Galapagos Islands; overview of ecological diversity and sustainable ecotourism; March 2010.
—Costa Rica; study of ecological corridors and sustainable development; March 2009.
—New York and Washington, D.C.; exploration of social, economic, political centers; March 2008.

Current Employment:

I’m lab manager for the College of Engineering Medical Robotics Lab. I was the first hire of the new lab in May 2012.

Family Ties to UGA:


I chose to attend UGA because…

I first visited UGA during the state science fair in my junior year of high school and started to fall in love with it then. I toured campus and visited several labs. In my senior year, I returned to campus to interview for the Foundation Fellowship and decided that even if I didn’t received the scholarship, UGA still felt the most like home out of all the colleges I had visited.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

On nice days, I like walking from Driftmier Engineering Center to the Creamery, get some ice cream and take a break from work.

When I have free time, I like…

Not exactly something I do in my free time, but I like finding trails through campus that are off the beaten path. There are all sorts of routes through campus that can speed up walking between classes (a must when getting between Driftmier and the rest of campus).

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

On my South Africa trip, we were taking our final practical exam, which involved walking around and identifying various plants, animals and other natural features. Our guide/teacher stopped us, drew a line in the dirt and informed us that for the final question we had to play Bokdrol Spoeg, which involves spitting a piece of dried impala “waste” as far as you could. I got that question right.

My favorite place to study is…

I’m doing much more lab work than studying these days, but I used to sit out on Myers quadrangle whenever the weather was nice to work. I lived in Myers the first two years of college, so there’s a lot of nostalgia associated with the quad.

My favorite professor is…

This is tough. I’ve had so many fantastic professors. I’m going to go with Mark Haidekker in the College of Engineering; he’s passionate about the subjects he teaches and even more passionate in making sure students understand lessons. He’s also been very open to me pursuing my own projects for credit in classes, which makes them even more enjoyable.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

… my grandpa, who passed away while I was in high school. He was an engineer as well, and worked on the lunar lander for the Apollo 11 mission. My dad and I have fun conversations, and I bet a three-generation engineering discussion would be a riot (we’re all goofballs as well).

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

…build an Iron Man suit.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

… develop robotic surgeons with 100 percent success rates.

After graduation, I plan to…

… begin my Ph.D. either in a medical robotics/technologies or biologically inspired robotics lab.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

… the Snowpocalypse! The first 3 1/2 days of spring semester classes my senior year in January 2011 were canceled due to a blizzard and the lack of infrastructure to deal with it in the Deep South. My roommate and I had just gotten back from a snowboarding trip and were thrilled the snow came back with us.