Channeling creativity through art and engineering | MIT News

Channeling creativity through art and engineering | MIT News

Emily Satterfield likes to generate. Whether or not she’s crocheting a dress she saw on TikTok, baking a cake, dancing at Cambridge’s Havana Club, or tinkering on a project, she fills her times with actions that channel her seemingly countless creative imagination. 

“Being resourceful has usually been a enormous component of who I am. I get a new passion each and every 7 days. I just enjoy nearly anything that will involve creating issues,” says Satterfield ’22, who not long ago graduated from MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering.

Elevated in Lowell, Massachusetts, Satterfield was surrounded by creativity from a younger age. Her mother is a teacher with a passion for artwork and oil portray. Her father is an electrical engineer with a knack for do-it-your self automation initiatives. Escalating up, she assumed of artwork and engineering as two different entities. You couldn’t be both an artist and an engineer.

“I always assumed that engineering and art were opposites and you couldn’t actually do each,” she states.

On enrolling in MIT, Satterfield established out to examine electrical engineering at MIT. But she immediately identified herself gravitating more towards mechanical engineering. For her, producing robots shift was exhilarating.

Just one of her initial prospects to develop a robot arrived in the spring of her sophomore 12 months. She enrolled in 2.007 (Style and design and Manufacturing I). Learners in the course style and design and establish their very own robots. The class culminates in a boisterous closing robot levels of competition.

But midway by way of the semester, Satterfield and her fellow pupils were being sent household owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Trapped at dwelling, she craved a creative outlet and took up drawing. Her time in quarantine helped her know that her twin passions of art and engineering did not have to be mutually exclusive.

“That’s when I commenced to understand that art was who I was,” she says. “Especially as a mechanical engineer, I recognized how engineering and art are not opposites. They truly go hand-in-hand. When you’re building or developing a thing, you are virtually producing one thing new.”

Her travel for generation led her to an undergraduate investigate chance, recognized as a SuperUROP, with Professor David Hardt. The task examined the use of additive manufacturing to develop small-price residences for people encountering homelessness. The purpose is to use techniques like 3D printing to establish light-weight households created out of recycled plastics. She ongoing work on the project for her senior thesis.

In the senior capstone class 2.009 (Product Engineering Processes), Satterfield had an option to merge her enjoy of art and engineering further. Relatively fittingly, her crew created a prototype for a device named “Palette.” The transportable products enables painters to tint paint to the correct shade they will need onsite, doing away with time-consuming visits to the paint retail store. The crew labored with Benjamin Moore to build their merchandise.

Operating with her fellow mechanical engineering pupils on a substantial, intensive undertaking like Palette gave Satterfield a preview of what performing on an engineering workforce in business would be like.

“Most Course 2 college students like creating items and chatting about the matters they make, which lends well to teamwork and instructing each other diverse issues. Resourceful engineers are seriously excellent teammates, and I think which is extremely correct about most Course 2 students,” she claims.

Right after graduating in May possibly, Satterfield joined the innovative engineers at SpaceX. More than the summertime, she participated in the company’s affiliate plan.

Satterfield now functions as a buildings engineer for the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft team. She and her coworkers build systems for the spacecraft. In early October, as the crewed Dragon took off from Cape Canaveral, technologies that Satterfield worked on were on the spacecraft.

“It was seriously great to see anything that I assisted operate on have an effects. Understanding that there are people inside of the spacecraft definitely put factors into viewpoint,” she adds.

Despite her fast paced schedule, she even now has managed to find new hobbies — the most recent of which consists of refinishing home furnishings for her new condominium in California. Whatever the long term holds, Satterfield will proceed to go after retailers for her creativity.

“I’m enthusiastic to see prolonged term how I can acquire my strange, type of discombobulated pursuits and merge them into my possess matter,” she says.