Grad Member Spotlight: Kelly Connelly

22 Feb 2016


Kelly Connelly

PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering, expected graduation 2019



Kelly joined SWE in 2012 as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, and was Evening with Industry director her senior year. She served as outreach chair for GradSWE at UCLA last year and is currently the Vice Director this year. Kelly received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in 2015. Congratulations, Kelly, on all that you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!


What is your degree program (MS/PhD, department)? When do you expect to graduate?

I am a second year PhD student in the Mechanical Engineering department, planning on graduating in 2019.


Give a brief explanation of your research

My research project involves studying the fluid properties of the vitreous humour, which is the gel-like fluid that fills the inside of eyes. As we age the vitreous changes at the molecular level, which can affect the development of many age-related diseases that threaten a patient’s vision. My research is mainly experimental, and I use rheology to be able to correlate changes at the molecular level with changes in the fluid properties. Improving the fundamental understanding of vitreous as a complex fluid can help us work with doctors to develop and improve treatments and surgeries for vitreous-related conditions.


What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?

I am very passionate about using my mechanical engineering background to help build and create innovative solutions in healthcare. I am fascinated by the medical device development process and have the goal to work in that field after I graduate.


What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?

I love baking and cake decorating, and running. I am working on training for my first half-marathon in the fall!


What’s a fun fact about you?

I worked part-time at a dessert bakery for two years in Seattle and loved it, sometimes I dream about opening and owning my own bakery someday.