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Aleksya Aguirre, an MIT student, did an internship at CEiiA in the Summer 2015. The work she performed covered the various product development stages, from concept to setting up a working prototype.

From Boston to Oporto

Aleksya Aguirre did a minor in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. Always interested in the design side she forecasted her future through this area, where you can combine creativity and engineering in the design of new solutions. Baring that in mind, she started a master's degree in Product Development at the University of South California, in the Autumn of 2015. Portugal and CEiiA in particular, emerged as an option when she became aware of the MISTI Programme (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives). "What caught my attention about CEiiA was its focus on product design in the automobile and aircraft industries, which is something I wanted to explore."

The project in CEiiA

The challenge presented to Aleksya during her tenure at CEiiA was to design a multi-purpose support to carry a wide variety of items on a bicycle. The solution was to design a rear shelf with various functions: carry bags, support a surfboard if placed laterally and, when not in use, to work as a bike lock. The solution is designed to be easily modified and mounted on a wide range of bicycles and motorcycles.

This project allowed her to go thought distinct product development stages, from getting user input (a few surfers from Matosinhos were interviewed), to finally set-up a working prototype, always framed by CEiiA work teams.

"My only expectation was for my work in CEiiA to expose me to product development in the real world and I believe that my expectation was met and far exceeded. In fact, about halfway through my internship, I realized that I am on the right path. That studying mechanical engineering and product development now in a much deeper level is what I am meant to be."

And besides, what else did you like in CEiiA? “My favorite part has definitely been the atmosphere that the people in CEiiA create. From the very first day that I arrived, I felt welcome. Every person I met was very friendly and this made me feel comfortable. It allowed me to open up and not be afraid to ask questions.”

Aleksya with the U.S. Ambassador in Portugal, Robert Sherman, while visiting CEiiA.

To Aleksya, who seized this experience to learn and to confirm "what she wants to be when she is a grown up", we wish her the best of luck.

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