People Research

Q&A with Val Militchin, research engineer

Val working on Dr. Yakusheva's 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) motion simulator platform.

What do you do at WashU? 

I am a research engineer in the Department of Otolaryngology. I provide technical support and programming, and I design new equipment so the laboratories are able to achieve their goals.  

What attracted you to otolaryngology research? What do you like about what you do? 

By chance, I met Dr. John Heuser from the Department of Cell Biology. After a brief meeting, he decided to introduce me to his friend Dr. Steve Highstein who was a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology known for his non-human primate research and sending his toadfish experiment on the inner ear into space on two shuttle missions. Dr. Highstein recruited me to work in the department.

Val programming the vestibular testing sled.

For the past 17 years, I have worked as an electronic technician and research engineer with many people in our department. Every day my work is different, providing me with new challenges.  It brings me a lot of joy when I see laboratories reach their goals with my help.   

Val Militchin hiking in Bulgaria

What do you like most about WashU and St. Louis? 

I used to live in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, and I like St. Louis, because it is not overcrowded and has a lot of green spaces and trails that allow people to spend more time outside. 

WashU gives me the opportunity to work, meet and become friends with people from different places, backgrounds, race and culture. It makes me feel welcome and helps me build confidence in myself.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  In my spare time I like to go hiking, visit new places and spend time with family and friends.