As an intern with the Greenwich Library, I was tasked with helping the team set up and launch the Innovation Lab, a brand-new, state-of-the-art makerspace for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) projects and education. My primary responsibilities included working with high-end equipment for the lab, such as 3D printers and laser cutters. I was tasked with creating user manuals and guides for patrons to use these machines. Working remotely, I also created informational materials for patrons wanting to learn about these machines and their applications to science and engineering projects. Adapting to the circumstances, the Lab team pushed for increased virtual interaction and online materials for patrons. I was tasked with creating a virtual 360° tour through which patrons could explore the lab space and also the rest of the library. The second virtual experience project was designing a ‘landing page’ website for the Innovation Lab. I created a set of DIY electronics kits which patrons can now check out from the Lab and use to learn principles of electrical engineering and coding. One such kit was a wireless Morse Code transmitter, which is already a popular offering at the lab. Though this experience was remote, I was able to make the most of my time with the lab and grow professionally. My goals coming in to the internship were to get more experience with advanced equipment and technology at the Lab, and apply my classroom learning to create hands-on applications. I was also looking forward to experiencing a small and tight-knit work environment and get a sense of professional teams. Reflecting on my experience, I believe I was able to achieve these goals and more. I got the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology and learn a lot about prototyping and designing. I also experienced entirely new technologies, such as virtual reality and 360° photography, which I quickly adapted to and became familiar with. Significantly, I learned what it was like to work on a small and focused team and discovered that such an environment makes the ideal workplace for me. Going forward, I aim to incorporate my experiences from this internship in my professional life. Skills such as multitasking and adapting to unforeseen changes have already proved useful to me academically, and I look forward to becoming a more all-rounded professional. Additionally, my time with the Lab has made me want to seek out more challenging and unfamiliar subjects and learn about them-. At the end of the internship, I felt ready to push myself more than usual and set the bar higher for myself. Completing tasks that I thought would be extremely difficult gave me more faith in my own skills and ability to learn and adapt. My most proud accomplishment was the process of creating the Morse Code kit entirely remotely, with the parts sitting in the lab space and me at home. It was immensely difficult and frustrating at times, and I often felt stuck and dismayed. But I was able to persevere and get the job done and create a product that I can be proud of.
Shreyas Raman, Mechanical Engineering, ES ’22