At 7 years old, Allison Martinez pinched the legs of her grandmother, who was confined to a wheelchair, to see if she could get a reaction. Martinez’s grandmother had suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident.

At an internet café in Honduras, “I [had] read about the loss of an individual’s leg sensation, so I decided to… pinch her leg to see if she could feel it,” Martinez says. “Looking back, that moment defined me, and I knew that I wanted to create something that would change peoples’ lives.”

In October, Martinez won first place among 10 finalists in the WE20 Poster Competition at the national annual conference of the Society of Women Engineers. The award is across all disciplines of engineering and computing. Her project, titled “Role of Pericytes in Electrical Signal Conduction in the Cerebral Microcirculation: Insights from a Mathematical Model,” focused on how her research model predicts and contributes to the understanding of physiological phenomena.

Read more at FIU News.