Skip to main content

Meet Our Graduate Students

photo of BME graduate studen, Emelina Vienneau

Maura Eveld

Ph.D. Candidate, Mechanical Engineering

"I’m a Vanderbilt Engineer because the Center for Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology (CREATE) is home to state-of-the-art facilities, biomechanics experts, and a collaborative and encouraging work environment where I can pursue my goals of restoring the mobility and independence of individuals with disabilities through assistive technology.

photo of Maura Eveld and friends

I received my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. During my undergraduate years I conducted research in Dr. Glen Niebur’s Tissue Mechanics Lab and interned at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in their Biomechanics & Injury Mitigation sector.

I am pursuing my Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt, and my adviser is Karl Zelik, principal investigator of the Zelik Lab for Biomechanics and Assistive Technology. I am studying the biomechanics of stumble recovery and how we can reduce falls for at-risk populations, such as the elderly and users of lower-limb prosthesis, Specifically, we work to advance assistive technology, including exoskeletons and powered lower-limb prostheses.

Life at Vandy

I am so happy I joined the CREATE team -- all of the faculty are so clearly invested in our success, and I have wonderful mentors not only in my advisers but also in my fellow lab members. We also have several clinical collaborators, among them prosthetists in the Nashville area and Vanderbilt Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) physicians, whose insights have been invaluable.

One of the highlights of my Ph.D. journey so far was attending the International Society of Biomechanics Conference in Calgary. We spent a week presenting and discussing our research with biomechanists from around the world and then stayed an extra week to hike in Banff. The community of mechanical engineering graduate students is incredibly welcoming; I have found lifelong friends in my labmates and in students from neighboring labs.

Maura EveldFor fun

Outside of the lab, I love to read, play piano, and take long runs through my favorite Nashville neighborhoods. Before the pandemic, I looked forward every week to engaging with patients at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital through music therapy. Now I enjoy weekly virtual tutoring sessions through the Y-Literacy program.



National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (2019

Selected Publications 

1.      King, S. T., Eveld, M. E., Martínez, A., Zelik, K. E and Goldfarb, M. (2019). A novel system for introducing precisely-controlled, unanticipated gait perturbations for the study of stumble recovery. J NeuroEngineering & Rehabilitation. 16(1), 69.

2.     Eveld, M. E.,King, S. T., Vailati, L. G., Zelik, K. E and Goldfarb, M. On the basis for stumble recovery strategy selection in healthy adults. In Review.

Learn more about our Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. program.