Let's start with some introductions. My name is Dalitso Kathyola, and I'm a fourth-year student at the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences studying biomedical engineering.
To be honest, I'm overjoyed to be a part of the Lemelson Rice 360 program. I couldn't believe it when I received the "you have been selected" email; I was thrilled, and I am still thrilled!!!
Anyway, the first week began on a cold Tuesday Morning. It started with introductions in the first session. We were introduced to one other by Will Moyo, the design studio manager, who also introduced us to our teaching assistants Chikumbutso and Brenald. We were told that our TAs would be our mentors throughout our internship. We were then divided into 4 groups and my group consisted of four people: myself, Madalitso Fadson, Innocent Phakhalepakhale, and Emmanuel Ngwala.
We were then assigned projects that we’d work on during the entire period. Each group was given three projects and our group's projects were developing a training kit, a vein finder, and a neonatal monitor. After this, we were taken on a tour of the design studio and given a brief overview of all of the equipment. Next, we spoke about how to resolve conflicts and communicate professionally with diverse stakeholders and each other.
After the discussions, we were instructed to give our group a name and write a team contract outlining all of the rules and regulations that we as a team would be required to observe, as well as the roles of each team member. We named our group TRAVEINEA which is an abbreviation of all our 3 projects. My team assigned me to the role of team communicator. We presented the contract to everyone as a form of agreement and then our day came to an end.
Wednesday we had a meeting at 10 AM and was hosted by Will Moyo. She started teaching us about the Engineering design process and started with the first step, clarifying the team assignment. We were then asked to come up with a document and a PowerPoint presentation that would clarify our team assignment in 2 hours. This was extremely stressful because we had no idea what our projects were about and were given a short time to come up with a complete problem statement, available approaches to our problem, and many other information specifications. Anyway, to cut the long story short, we didn't manage to compile all of this information and agreed with our TAs that we'd continue and present the next day.
Thursday began with presentations; each group was required to present their findings, which continued throughout the morning. We had more discussions in the afternoon about clarifying the team's assignment, specifically how we'd conduct interviews with our stakeholders to gather the information that we'd need to successfully develop our projects. Finally, Friday arrived, and we were instructed to prepare interview questions for our TAs about our projects. Our questions were intended to gather information about our clients' motivations, expectations, and assumptions(here our clients being the design studio and represented by the TAs). We sat at the round table and began asking our TAs the questions after formulating them. The interviews lasted until the afternoon and were a very interesting experience. We gathered start-up information about our projects and had a general overview of what we were required to do.
This week has been so exciting and I'm looking forward to more sessions next week!!!