Mikayla Britsch standing in front of a fenced Palacio de Moneda in Chile with a group of greyhound owners protesting dog racing

Mikayla's Story

Systems Engineering major, Mikayla Britsch '24 interned with a team in University of Chile that worked on optimizing electric vehicle charging station placement in Santiago.

I started by working on exploratory data analysis with the numeric and geographic data I was given in python and QGIS. We then moved on to developing a model to optimize charger placement and finally I implemented the model and visualized the reports. I gave 2 or 3 presentations to our small team. I used my problem solving mindset that I developed in my GIR classes to help approach my coding problems. I also used experience gained on my UROP to figure out how to plan out my project and complete it since I was very independent. Finally, I used coding and math skills from my technical classes to help me with the actual theory and implementation of the project. I learned how to both small talk and professionally talk in Spanish. I also learned how to use QGIS to visualize and analyze data. In a more real-life sense, I learned how to budget for myself, how to commute, shop, eat, and work by myself away from home, and I learned how to pass through Chilean immigration. It was pretty awkward at first. I could tell that they all knew I wasn't from there. I didn't interact with many people except for my supervisor and his collaborators, so we mostly had professional conversations. Overall, people were very friendly and interested in why I was there and what I thought of Chile.

  • Mikayla Britsch dressed in winter wear in Atacama Desert in Chile with mountainous range in the background and brown plants around
I learned so much about myself doing this opportunity and it was amazing to learn professionally, academically, and personally all at once. I learned a lot technically which will fit well with my major/future career. I also learned how to manage my time and that I like to have supervisors who give me clear guidelines. I also learned more about the kind of academic environment I would feel comfortable working in if I pursued a PhD.
Mikayla Britsch '24
Major & Class Year
Systems Engineering '24
Santiago, Chile
MISTI Program
University of Chile

Sruthi's Story