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David M. Brienza, PhD
Born: October 21, 1964 - New Rochelle, NY

photo of David M. Brienza

  • Entry into the AT field:
         August 1, 1987

  • How I got into the field
         I did not plan to get into the field of rehabilitation engineering. During my second semester of study in pursuit of my Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Virginia I was in need of a thesis project. My advisor, Rafael Inigo, presented me with several choices, one of which was to design and build a foam carving machine for some folks over in the Rehabilitation Engineering Center to make custom fitted seat cushions. That's where I met Cliff Brubaker, Colin McLaurin, KC Chung, Stephen Sprigle, and a host of other folks working on wheelchairs. I made that machine and never looked back.

  • Important event(s) that influenced my early decision to get into the assistive technology field
         What most influenced my decision to remain in the field were the opportunities that it held for me - opportunities to apply my knowledge, help people, make a living, and have fun doing all of the above. The person most responsible for giving me those opportunities and continuing to do so is Cliff Brubaker. Cliff supported my dissertation work and hired me after finished my PhD and supports me to this day.

  • Why I chose the AT field

  • My inspiration and mentor

  • Why the field is important to me and the central focus of my work

  • My memorable successes and greatest contributions to the field

  • My most memorable failures

  • Significant changes and advances in the field since I first entered it

  • On the future of rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology

  • My role within RESNA and what it gave back to me

  • On the future of RESNA

  • My suggestions for those just entering the field