Tackle Actual Engineering Problems

Melisa Lopardo '15

Electronics Technician at Biolite

Q: What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

I'm a member of Olin Dance Project, a social dancing club. I've helped teach lessons and organize dance sessions and events. I was also president of Olin's Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Q: What have you experienced at Olin that you hadn’t expected to experience when you applied?

I never expected to be able to enact large changes on my own. The community is so small that even the voices of individual students can be heard and attended to.

Q: What have been your two favorite projects? (in class or out of class)

The entirety of UOCD was one of my favorite projects. I loved designing based on what we percieved to be the wants and needs of our users; it made the designs much more meaningful and fulfilling. I also enjoyed working on my POE project where we made a robot that helped you take care of a houseplant (including automatic watering and sending you messages when water was low). We strived to put together a very polished and presentable product with coherent function and story. The project taught me a lot about learning goals, system integration, scope, and product narrative and presentation.

Q: Which classes have been your favorite, so far?

UOCD because of all the human-centered design work and Real Products, Real Markets where I designed, made, and sold laser cut earrings. Even though it was a massive amount of work with real, very strict deadlines, it was immeasurably satisfying to come out of it with actual, satisfied costumers. 

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I, along with another student, am currently working on making Olin's photo studio a more utilized resource. This work includes revamping the space and equipment as well as teaching others how to use everything to take excellent shots of all their amazing projects.