Through TechBridgeWorld’s iSTEP internship program, we involved four undergraduate students in the Braille Tutor comparative study. You may recognize them from our previous post defining compassionate engineering.
Maya Lassiter is a Junior Electrical and Computer Engineering major at Carnegie Mellon University. As well as her interest in technology-aided expression, Maya hopes to gain experience in studying technological literacy and hardware acquisition. The iSTEP program is one that Maya has followed since applying to CMU, and she is excited to see this experience finally come to fruition. Her favorite part of the internship experience has been conversations with teachers about how they see growth in their students when testing the technologies we developed with them. She has been inspired by the empowering effect TechBridgeWorld technology has had within the Mathru community.
Amal Nanavati is a sophomore Computer Science major at Carnegie Mellon University. He is interested in merging his passion for technology with his love of cultures to create practical, people-centric innovations that make technology more accessible to communities around the world. In his free time, he enjoys dancing Bhangra, watching Bollywood movies, and playing card games. He is excited about working to create technologies that will have a long-lasting impact on visually impaired and hearing impaired students in India. So far, his favorite aspect of the internship is interacting with the students, teachers, and staff at the Mathru Schools to learn more about the community and regional culture as a whole.
Erik Pintar is a Fifth Year Scholar at Carnegie Mellon University, double majoring in Human-Computer Interaction and Electrical and Computer Engineering. What most excites him is revolutionizing education through the power of new technologies. When not in the realm of code, he enjoys filmmaking, traveling, and teaching a sign language class at CMU. As a hard-of-hearing individual, Erik is excited to develop technology solutions for students at the Mathru Center to help them overcome their disabilities through the empowerment of knowledge.
Minnar Xie is a Fifth Year Scholar at Carnegie Mellon University where she is a BHA in Art and Psychology with an additional major in Human-Computer Interaction. She is passionate about the capacity of design and technology to improve the lives of underserved communities. With a background in anthropological fieldwork, she enjoys the challenge and insight that comes from adapting to new situations in the field. So far she has loved learning about the experiences and personalities of the teachers, staff, and students at the schools, and attempting to learn new phrases in Kannada.
All of our students had different motivations for getting involved with our research and the comparative study, but consistent for everyone was the desire to use their skills in a meaningful way to make a positive impact for the communities they were working with. One student had experience doing international volunteer work and was specifically attracted to our internship program because it involved developing technology solutions with the community. Another student had been interested in international development for some time and went on several service trips in South America. She was attracted to our internship program because she felt it provided the perfect combination of developing technology that had an impact in a way that was respectful, culturally appropriate, and specific to participating community. Another student was attracted to our work because the projects involved working with children with disabilities. One student had never worked with a developing community but was attracted to our iSTEP internship program because he wanted to learn how technology could improve a community’s quality of life.
Do you know any compassionate engineers?