Deron’s experience in Belgium not only defined his future career path, but also gave him new appreciation for his MIT background
At Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Louvain-la-Neuve, Deron joined a project creating robotic prosthetics. Using MATLAB, Deron modeled the prosthetics to reach optimization of energy efficiency so that his colleagues could begin testing the device. Now in his senior year in Mechanical Engineering, Deron was previously unsure of what path he wanted to take – but has now found a passion for medical robotics and biomechatronics. “MIT-Belgium has opened tons of opportunities for me,” he affirms. He will complete a senior thesis in MIT’s media lab, where his Belgian supervisor had previously studied and worked.
When Deron first arrived in Louvain-la-Neuve, a small town about twenty-five miles from Brussels, he felt overwhelmed by the breadth of his summer project. He dedicated himself to his work, and his confidence soon grew. In collaboration with his colleagues, he implemented a Simulink model that generated the time dependent output of the prosthesis for walking on a level surface. He then combined this model with a genetic algorithm to find operating parameters that would allow the smallest amount of energy to be consumed. “Being in Louvain-la-Neuve, I learned that I was a lot more capable than I thought and how grateful I am for my MIT background,” Deron says. “I now know that I can go out into the world and have no problem attacking any challenge ahead.”
Originally from Trinidad, Deron’s experience in Belgium has further strengthened his identity as a global citizen. Through MISTI, he worked in a lab which emphasized cohesion and bonding with teammates as a way to tackle challenges and solve problems. This team dynamic improved efficiency in his lab, and will continue to influence the way Deron approaches his future path toward graduate school and beyond. Working abroad was vital to Deron’s engineering career: he is currently applying for graduate school and plans to focus on the type of projects he joined in Belgium.