Converting skateboards to electric
After graduating with her Masters of Science in mechanical engineering, Kelsey was determined to participate in the MIT-Spain program in Barcelona and to have a chance to explore Europe before starting full-time work in the fall. Through MIT’s alumni network, she reached out to a newly founded startup called Unlimited Engineering, a company which creates kits for motorizing skateboards and longboards for amusement and commuting purposes. She started work there as a mechanical engineering intern soon after her Masters thesis had been submitted, and she spent the summer conceptualizing, designing and building a dynamometer, a testing device used to characterize torque and power performance of motors. This device is used to characterize Unlimited Engineering’s motors, benchmark competitor motors, and help drive development for future motor models.
It took time to adjust to the Spanish lifestyle as their work day is structured in a more leisurely manner than people are accustomed to in the United States, but once Kelsey found her bearings she established a new rhythm for herself. She spent half of her summer weekends exploring all that Barcelona has to offer and the other half of the weekends traveling to other European cities including Paris, Prague, Copenhagen and Florence. She participated in yoga twice a week and joined a dance studio so she could take regular hip-hop and contemporary dance classes. Between work, travel and participating in local activities, Kelsey met people from all over the world. In her shared apartment alone, there were six others from five different countries, each with their own stories and world perspectives to share. These are the sorts of stories and perspectives that truly make the MISTI experience unique because engineers are first and foremost problem solvers. Stepping outside of the routine to understand global problems from other people’s perspectives "allows engineers to better prepare themselves to effectively solve those problems and create positive global impact", says Kelsey.
This was Kelsey’s second summer participating in a MISTI program (she spent nine weeks in Singapore in 2014) and she would gladly participate in more if she were a continuing MIT student. The MISTI programs are certainly one of a kind and she encourages every MIT student to try one of them before parting ways with MIT. You won’t regret it, it’s a summer well spent!