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UArizona engineering student named an Astronaut Scholar

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Posted at 10:18 PM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-16 14:36:48-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The University of Arizona is home to many incredible people — especially its students. One of which is being recognized nationally in the world of engineering.

National Hispanic Scholar, Roberto Peralta, can now add Astronaut Scholar to his accolades.

“I was sitting around with some friends and I got the email, and I was like oh my God you guys like this is so cool,” said Peralta.

Peralta is a senior engineering student at UA and was recently named one of 60 of this year’s Astronaut Scholars across the nation.

“I had applied for it, the year before, so I knew what it was about pretty well. I didn't get it, the year before, and so my second year applying for it, I was fortunate enough to get it, I knew that it was a great community” said Peralta.

Winning access to top engineering mentors and a $15,000 scholarship. Peralta says he’s using his earnings to help pay for the rest of undergrad, flight lessons to become a private pilot, and graduate school applications.

“I’d like to take a little bit of a change in path, so rather than mechanical, I’m planning on going into biomedical. Kind of because I’ve always been interested in robotic prosthetics. I guess I'm fascinated by the possibility of you know not only giving someone like an arm that, like, works right where they can pick up objects, but give them something that they can really feel with, and it really replaces their hand that's something that doesn't exist yet” said Peralta.

He wants to pay it forward by being on the research side to help build low-cost prosthetics.

“I guess a big problem right now with prosthetics is they cost way too much. I would not only like to advance the research, where it allows some matter of sensory feedback through the prosthetic but I'd like to do so in, like, a cost-effective way. Opening my own prosthetics manufacturing company,” said Peralta.

Congrats to Peralta on the honor of being an Astronaut Scholar. His plan is to pursue his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.