Industry: Education
Type of Internship: Product Design/Testing/Quality Control, Software Development/Programming
Student Name: Lily Zhang
Graduation Year: 2021
Major: Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Computer Science
Minor: None
Position Title: Augmented Reality and Robotics Intern
Hours: 35 hours per week
Paid or Unpaid: Paid, full-time

What do you do as an intern at this organization?

As an intern working in collaboration with the CEEO and the company PTC, I developed an augmented reality system to help kids understand and debug robotic sensors. Over a 10-week period, I built an iOS app that uses Internet-of-Things technology to display sensor data from a LEGO robot in real time. I created a simple interface for kids to program the robot as well. Toward the end of the internship, I designed educational activities that incorporate programming and augmented reality, and worked on streamlining the app. Throughout the internship, I also met with PTC representatives to present updates and discuss next steps.

How did you find this internship?

I spoke to a computer science professor about joining his lab, and he referred me to the CEEO for the summer.

What do you enjoy most about your internship?

I enjoyed working in an open, collaborative environment at the CEEO. Most of the interns were Tufts students, and it was nice to work with friends and classmates. While we were given end goals for the summer, we had flexible schedules and the ability to help out with other projects. We also had frequent visitors from LEGO and other educational groups, and I found it really valuable to speak to them and get their feedback.

What do you find challenging?

Since I was working for multiple groups this summer, I occasionally had to commute to different locations throughout the day. I was sometimes pulled in different directions in terms of long-term goals, and it was hard to resolve everybody's wishes. I also found that it could be difficult to communicate with people over email, especially when asking for feedback and suggestions.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?

There are so many people at the CEEO working on awesome projects! If you see a project you're interested in, you definitely have the chance to get involved just by asking how you can help out. Don't be afraid to suggest a change of direction or new ideas for your project, since there's a lot of flexibility given to you. I've gotten valuable advice about classes at Tufts and career options by talking to professors and other interns there. There's a lot of makerspace technology at the CEEO too, like a laser printer and Formlabs printer, and I would recommend trying them out if you haven't before.

About the Organization

Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach
Medford, Massachusetts

The members of the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach are dedicated toward improving engineering education in the classroom; from Kindergarten to college. We have a research program aimed at understanding how kids and adults learn engineering. This research then informs our development of various educational tools. We collaborate with a number of companies to bring these tools into the classroom and then our outreach arm works with teachers around the world to further refine these tools and to support the teacher-user community. The Center houses faculty, staff, and graduate students from engineering disciplines and the education department.