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UX Design Internship at Onshape

This past summer I was lucky enough to work remotely as a user experience designer at Onshape. I worked on improvement requests, analyzing relevant support tickets to determine the most common use cases for that feature. I then used Figma to create mockups and test them out, both internally on other Onshape employees or interns, and externally on real Onshape users. Based on the test results, I would modify the mockups until I found the best solution. Several of the changes I worked on are currently either in the Onshape product or in development to go out in future releases.

At this internship I gained an extensive knowledge of Figma and learned how to conduct user interviews and handle them professionally even when they didn't go smoothly. I also learned about what is really important when designing user experience. For more on this, see my blog post about my experience and my views on UX in general.

Building a Plankton Identification Algorithm in MATLAB

This is probably my favorite project I've ever done. As a final project for the linear algebra unit in the course Quantitative Engineering Analysis, I built an algorithm that uses linear algebra and Principal Component Analysis to identify plankton.

To accomplish this, I used images of plankton from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (found here) to train and test the algorithm, and used MATLAB's Image Processing Toolbox to process the images. I used the Fourier descriptor method described in this paper, followed by PCA to classify the plankton. For full details on this, see my report

Calanus finmarchicus
Archerfish slingshot turret made of cardboard

Designing a Play Experience for 4th Graders

My final project for the course Design Nature was to build a play experience for 4th graders inspired by an animal. My group was assigned the archerfish, which hunt by squirting water from their mouths to knock bugs off branches. Team work and effective communication were critical for this project, as over the course of seven weeks, my group designed, prototyped, and built an experience. In our design, 4th graders would play as an archerfish trapped in an aquarium that needed to shoot "water" (in the form of hand-sewn beanbags) to knock down the keys and escape.

During our final exam period, real 4th graders came to test out our experience. Seeing them successfully navigate the experience and walk away proclaiming that "That was fun!" was an incredibly gratifying experience that brought home how far we had come from scribbled designs on a white board to a reality that 4th graders would enjoy.

FIRST Robotics Competition Team 5459

From 8th grade through my senior year of high school, I was a committed member of my high school's FIRST Robotics Competition team. I was the head of the mechanical department from my sophomore year through my senior year. Every year in January, FIRST (a nonprofit which stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) released a challenge to teams, which we had six weeks to build a robot to complete. We would then attend competitions where our robot would play against other robots.

It's difficult to put into words exactly what a formative experience this was for me. This was inspired me to become an engineer. It taught me how to fail over and over again and still pick myself up and try again. It taught me how to work on a team, how to delegate as a department lead, how to communicate my designs to others and listen to other's designs. It taught me to choose designs based on their legitimacy, not my emotional attachment to them. It taught me where my weaknesses are, and how to work on them. Many of them I am working on to this day. I would not be where I am today without this team. They are still going strong today; their website can be found here

Annabelle with FRC team seniors and robot