I grew up in Greenville, NY, a small town not very far from RPI. During my senior year of high school, in 2005, I had the opportunity to attend college classes at RPI through a Johns Hopkins CTY scholarship. This experience influenced my decision to attend RPI as an undergraduate the next year. I had not decided on a specific career path, but I had enjoyed my math classes in high school, so I chose to major in mathematics.
I received an invitation to apply to the Accelerated B.S./Ph.D. Program after my first year as an undergraduate. Through the Accelerated Program, I was able to begin my research during my second year. At the end of my third year, in 2008, I finished my Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics with minors in Economics and Philosophy. Then I began work on my Ph.D., with the advantage of already having done two years of research. I received my Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics in 2009.
I work with Professor Joyce McLaughlin, Director of the Inverse Problems Center in the Math Sciences Department. My research is in elastography, the imaging of biomechanical properties of tissue. The goal in elastography is to identify medical conditions that are characterized by changes in the mechanical properties of the tissue. For example, since tumors are stiffer than the surrounding tissue, we can detect cancer by creating an image of the stiffness of the tissue. I work on developing algorithms to create diagnostically informative images from ultrasound or MRE data.
I have had many exciting experiences since beginning my Ph.D. work. I have presented my research at international conferences, and I have published my work in scientific journals. During the summer of 2010, I worked as graduate student summer internship at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, MA. During the fall of 2010, I will participate in a semester-long program on Inverse Problems and Applications in Berkeley, CA. My goal is to finish my Ph.D. in 2011.
Ashley Thomas recently earned first place honors in the 2008 Undergraduate Research Forum & Awards. To learn more about her project and the award, visit: http://www.rpi.edu/research/magazine/spring08/urf-1.html