Kristen Karmen-Shoemake

Where are you from?
I was born Arlington, Texas to parents Debra and Steve Karman. I am the oldest child with two younger sisters. We lived in and around Fort Worth, Texas until my father took a position as a Professor of Computational Engineering at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga when I was 14. During the summer of 2005, I attended the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Sciences, where I studied Biology. After graduating high school in 2006, I returned to UTK for my Bachelor’s degree. I graduated from UTK in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics and Classical Languages (Latin concentration) and a minor in Ancient Greek. I then moved back to Chattanooga to pursue my Master’s in Computational Engineering, where I met my husband, Lawton Shoemake. I graduated with my Master’s degree in December 2013 and decided to stay at UTC for my Ph.D. I took the summer of 2014 off from school to gain some real world experience by interning at Pointwise in Fort Worth, TX. Lawton and I married the summer of 2016. We have two dogs, named Reggie and Ella, and a cat named Taco.

What brought you to UTC?
Towards the end of my 4th year in college I realized that although I loved studying Classical languages, I didn’t think I would enjoy a career in the field. I have always had an aptitude for math and science, so my father suggested that I consider computational sciences. After more discussions with my father, I decided that computational biology sounded interesting and we started talking with Dr. Tim Swafford about the possibility of studying the subject at UTC. I finished my math major the next year and was accepted at the SimCenter.

What is your educational background?

I have a B.S. in Mathematics and Classical Languages (Latin concentration, Greek minor), M.S. in Computational Engineering, and am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Computational Engineering.

What research are you working on?

My master’s research topic was on redesigning the cross-sectional shape of arterial stents to improve blood flow through stented arteries and reduce the risk of stent failure.This research involved writing a 2-D finite volume scheme for solving the compressible Navier-Stokes equations, writing a Linear-Elastic mesh smoother, and coupling all this with the design optimization software DAKOTA. After my master’s degree, I decided to switch topics.  I am currently working on generating higher order curved meshes for finite element solvers. I am specifically interested in using information from the CAD geometry itself to dictate curvature on the interior of the mesh.

What are your plans for the future?
I am currently very focused on finishing my research and haven’t given much serious thought to my future. The plan so far is to start apply for job when I get closer to being able to defend my dissertation. All I know at this point is that I would like to continue working in meshing.

What are your interests and hobbies?
I enjoy knitting, sewing, video games, and spending time with my animals. I used to play piano and oboe and would love to do more with music, but right now finishing my Ph.D. is my top priority.

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