EECS student Hayley Song explores robotics and French startup culture at Keecker
Hayley Song with Keecker. Photo © Lillie Paquette, MIT School of Engineering.

Returning to Paris for a second time as an intern, Song immersed herself in French culture and new areas of research

During her internship at French home robotics startup Keecker, Hayley Song found herself immersed in an innovative, encouraging environment. A home robotics startup based in Paris, France, Keecker’s main product is a robot of the same name. Hayley’s project goals were to refine the robot’s localization and to produce a proof of concept for the robot’s charging station. In order to achieve her goals, she needed to position multiple robots at once with maximum accuracy, while also building an Android application so that the robot would recognize the Keecker logo and be able to navigate toward it. She applied machine learning knowledge and gained new experience in camera calibration in order to fulfill these tasks. She most enjoyed building the Keecker logo detection classifier from scratch: “I learned a lot by going through the entire pipeline,” she explains, “and feel more confident to apply a similar method to solve other challenges.”

A supportive working environment

While developing these new skills, Hayley was able to reacquaint herself with Paris, a city where she had previously interned. She expected to increase her comfort with the French language and to gain “a better understanding of French culture and people.” The positive environment at Keecker provided the perfect space to do so. Hayley found her co-workers friendly, collaborative, and always “willing to pause their work and help other’s tasks at any moment.” Although the work hours could be long, Hayley found them to be quite enjoyable – almost like “working on a fun project with friends.” She even spent some of her free time with co-workers, as well as with friends she had met in Paris during her previous stay, other international interns, and with locals.

Living in a completely new environment gave me a precious chance to look back on my life and work at MIT and look forward to what shall be my next step in my career.

A clearer perspective

Hayley’s summer helped her grow in unexpected ways and to see her desired future path more clearly. “It gave me a different perspective on everything I was used to and took for granted,” she observes. She contemplated many different aspects of her professional and personal interactions. As she takes her next steps – toward a Master’s of Engineering at MIT – she is keeping in mind the things she learned in France about “how to balance work and life, how to be a good communicator and team player, and how to give back to the society through my personal and professional life.” Whether in the workplace or in the community, Hayley acknowledges that her experiences greatly impacted her academic and career direction, and have taught her the importance of working across disciplines and cultures. 

  • France
  • Internship
  • EECS