Alumni Stories

  • April 25, 2018

    Driven to improve workplace safety and comfort for autoworkers

    From massaging leather seats to intricate climate control capabilities, new cars offer an array of features with driver and passenger comfort in mind. But what about the comfort and safety of the people building those cars?

    The auto assembly line is the focus of alumna Katie Grosteffon, S.B. ’09, senior consultant and ergonomic specialist at Humantech. She is implementing a proactive ergonomics program at a major automaker.

  • April 16, 2018

    Using technology to make city streets safer

    Boston experienced five horrific bicycle fatalities in the summer and fall of 2012, raising awareness of the dangers involved when cyclists and trucks and buses navigate the city’s narrow streets.

  • March 23, 2018

    Seeking sustainable solutions to make Washington, D.C. accessible and welcoming

    With more than 250,000 housing units, nearly 1,500 miles of sidewalks, 1,600 traffic signals, and the third busiest rapid transit system in the U.S., Washington, D.C. is a complex system.

  • March 19, 2018

    Program manager in NOAA’s Climate Office helps research projects take flight

    Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and several major universities will soon embark on a national research mission, FIREX-AQ, flying high above western wildfires to measure and track dangerous pollutants.

  • February 14, 2018

    After scaling Everest, this data scientist turned mountain climber charts his next adventure

    For mountain climbers, standing on the summit of Mount Everest, literally at the very top of the world, is a crowning achievement. But alumnus Patrick Mauro, A.B./S.M. ’07, doesn’t consider reaching the peak of the world’s tallest mountain a personal zenith.

  • February 5, 2018

    Passion for problem-solving fuels alumna’s energy sector career

    The click-click-click of a stove’s gas burner heralds a controlled burst of flame that, for many, means dinner will soon be on the table. The seemingly simple process is so familiar it is easy to take for granted.

  • January 29, 2018

    A computational approach to human health

    Though a visit to the doctor’s office can seem like it takes hours, physicians actually spend an average of only 13 minutes with each patient, according to an annual report compiled by WebMD.

  • January 22, 2018

    A data-driven approach to improving social impact

    Whether seeking to feed the hungry, improve access to health care, or increase literacy rates, social sector agencies are driven to launch international development projects because of an earnest desire to help those in need. But what information do decision-makers use to craft these critical interventions? How do they determine if their good intentions are actually yielding effective results?

  • December 19, 2017

    With RightHand Robotics, this alumnus offers a novel piece-picking solution for e-commerce

    Human beings are generally pretty good at grasping an item off a shelf; we can reach out and grab our favorite coffee mug just as the pot finishes percolating without giving the action a second thought.

    For a robot, this seemingly simple action presents a plethora of complex challenges, from knowing what to grab (which mug?) to how to grasp it (squeeze the handle?)

  • December 18, 2017

    Yearlong African journey sparks new perspectives about energy

    When Joseph Lanzillo boarded a plane to Tanzania in October of 2016, he wasn’t entirely sure what he was getting himself into.

    Lanzillo, A.B. ’16, an environmental science and engineering concentrator at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, would be living alone for the next year as a Benjamin Trustman Fellow. The program is offered by Harvard's Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.

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