Meet the Team – Frances!

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Meet the Team”!

Every Monday, we will be highlighting a member of the Icefin team with twelve very serious questions.  Today we’ll be highlighting a Frances, a new member of our mechanical team and resident violinist!

Who are you?

IMG_5115 - Frances Bryson

I am a grad student studying robotics, with a background in mechanical engineering and physics. I’m currently working on the micro-fluidic pump, various tasks to help us get to the field, and hope to start working soon on a robotic arm that will be taking ice core samples.

Bagels or donuts?


What onesie are you bringing to the field next season?

Wonder woman (with a cape).

If you could have one thing to have an endless supply of, what would it be?

The logical answer is money, but a more personified answer is dark chocolate with orange (flavor/zest).

Title your autobiography.

We’re All Just Faking it Until We Make it, Right?

How do penguins make you feel?

I love when they flop on their bellies to sled.

What kind of penguin are you?

Chinstrap – small, and I like cold weather


_MG_0332 weeee

Weeeeee! A chinstrap goes sledding on the Ice. Credit: Robert Siegel (


What was your first job? Short bit about it.

I was, in high school, a substitute violinist in a band – Divine Hand Ensemble. The band features a theremin, and plays a variety of classical music, pop music, and movie themes. I practiced with them and played several concerts, one of which was recorded for a documentary.

How do you like your eggs done?

Soft scrambled, or fried over rice and veggies

What (or who) is your favorite fictional robot? If you have a favorite non-fictional one too, please include it. Why?


BB-8 from Star Wars (Credit:

BB-8, for the huge amount of personality that is shown in a non-humanoid robot. I have a special attachment to the Mars 2020 rover, since I worked on that mission at JPL, but I am also fond of the Spirit rover (mostly due to this comic:






XKCD 695 (Credit: Randall Monroe,

What’s your favorite or most interesting part about working with robots? Why do you want to work with them?

I love how interdisciplinary robotics is. I’m a strong believer that jack of all trades, master of none is better than master of one, and the integration of circuits, mechanical engineering, programming, etc. really appeals to me. Plus, working with machines and devices that can explore where humans can’t yet is exciting.

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