IN THE NEWS: Celebrating Women's History Month with Brittany Duncan

Mar 14, 2023      By College of Engineering

Co-directors of the NIMBUS Lab from left to right: Dung Hoang Tran, Justin Bradley, Brittany Duncan, and Carrick Detweiler.
Co-directors of the NIMBUS Lab from left to right: Dung Hoang Tran, Justin Bradley, Brittany Duncan, and Carrick Detweiler.

Ross McCollum Associate Professor Brittany Duncan was recently featured in the College of Engineering's Celebrating diversity series in honor of Women's History Month. Check out her Q&A below.

Dr. Brittany Duncan
Ross McCollum Associate Professor
School of Computing 

Q: Describe a bit about your personal and/or professional background.

A: I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia where I met my high school sweetheart, Jarrett Ramsey, and attended Georgia Tech for my undergraduate education. During college I participated in the Computing Research Association's Distributed REU program and was introduced to my graduate advisor, Robin Murphy. It was amazing to see how robots could be used in urban search and rescue to help people, so I was thrilled to go to Texas A&M to work with Robin as a PhD student as soon as I graduated. From there I was lucky to find UNL and the NIMBUS lab, which led to me raising my son, Nate, here in Lincoln, NE. 

Q: What is your role in the College of Engineering – and what do you enjoy (love!) about what you are doing?

A: Within the College of Engineering I am an Associate Professor in the School of Computing, a co-director of the Nebraska Intelligent MoBile Unmanned Systems (NIMBUS) Lab, and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow. There are many reasons to love UNL, Nebraska Engineering, and the School of Computing, but the thing that I most love about my job is the people I get to work with every day. Directing the NIMBUS Lab with Justin Bradley and Carrick Detweiler over the past few years has been a dream and we are excited to welcome Dung Tran as a new faculty member. Through our work in NIMBUS we are able to impact students, Nebraska, and the world by working with scientists to understand how robots can improve their understanding of and interactions with the environment. 

Q: What advice can you give students or others considering or pursuing engineering as a career?

A: Any student wanting to pursue computing or engineering as a career should know that they belong. It is important to recognize that we need more voices from more backgrounds at the table to create the best future that we can and the best way to do this is to make sure that everyone feels like they belong. If you are ever in doubt, reach out to a faculty member to ask them how they think you are doing and maybe even about a time they were unsure about their career. We have all had moments of doubt, but keep pushing and you will be able to share that story to encourage someone else in the future. This is one reason why I am so excited about being a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusions council in the college and the initiatives we are working on to improve the community in the college.