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MassBay’s Engineering Program Has Sweet Success

Friday, February 14, 2020

Wellesley resident, Maddy Weaver, always loved to tinker with anything she could get her hands on. As a child, she enjoyed finding items such as old stereo equipment and vacuum cleaners at the recycling and transfer station to bring home and try to fix. It’s not a surprise that she enjoyed this type of hands-on learning, coming from a long line of engineers in her family. Maddy, however, never thought she would become an engineer herself, opting instead to enroll at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island to become a pastry chef. She had successfully reached her goal to be an accomplished pastry cook in the restaurant business when she decided that she wanted a career change. Maddy enrolled in MassBay’s iCREAT class to discover if her love of tinkering could evolve into something more. What appealed to her most about the iCREAT course was the blend of multiple disciplines within the engineering field including electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering, along with the final project of creating a robot. “I was able to learn about the disciplines and discover what I liked and didn’t like and decide if this could be a career or just a hobby. Not only did I enjoy the work, but I learned that I was good at it.” After taking this course, she was hooked and enrolled in the Electrical and Computer Engineering program.

“MassBay has provided me with a path in engineering and with experiences I wouldn’t be able to get at other colleges. I was able to be a teaching assistant for the iCREAT program and showcase my work at the National Science Foundation’s conference in Washington D.C. It was an honor to be selected to show my work alongside other community college students from around the United States and represent MassBay. I also presented my restored floppy disk-driven robot project at the MassBay STEM Expo and met Massachusetts House Speaker, Robert Deleo. As a member of the STEM Mentor Program, my mentor was Yari Golden-Castano, a laser research project manager at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and a top 100 finalist for the Mars One Mission. I also mentored at the Walsh Middle School in Framingham, and was the co-president of the MassBay Engineering Club. I was amazed by the number of opportunities that were afforded to me by participating in events hosted by the school,” said Maddy.

In the summer of 2018, Maddy participated in a Research Experience for Undergrads (REU) in Los Angeles, CA at the University of Southern California’s Mixed Reality Lab. She designed and built a 3D object that was used in a larger project exploring decision-making in a virtual reality context. Maddy was named as a co-author on the Advancing Ethical Decision Making in Virtual Reality project, which won “Best Poster, Honorable Mention” at the annual IEEE VR conference in Japan. Last summer, she interned at Diversified Technologies Inc., assisting in designing and building high- voltage custom electronics for multiple projects.

Maddy graduated from MassBay on May 23, 2019, and has been attending Northeastern University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in engineering. While at Northeastern, she has been working in the engineering lab with Assistant Professor, Alireza Ramezani, contributing to his research of building a bat-like drone, assisting with laser cutting and soldering circuit boards, and programming microchips to control the robot’s motors and communication. Maddy is scheduled to graduate Northeastern University in May 2022.

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