Camille Eddy is currently in her senior year at Boise State University where she’s studying Mechanical Engineering.
After taking an interest in space science, Camille has led several research programs in space, including the NASA Microgravity Undergraduate Research program during her second year, where she worked closely with former astronaut Barbara Morgan. Other programs included the Space Broncos, who accomplished a downlink with International Space Station and a research grant from the Miles Undergraduate Research Initiative.
At the end of her second year at Boise State University, Camille accepted an internship at HP and began developing robotics in HP’s Robot Development Lab. She advanced to a second internship this summer at HP Inc’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California as a Machine Learning Intern, where she is currently building a new generation of smart robotics.
Camille tells us about how she began working with NASA and shares advice on how to make the most of an internship.
DEVELOPING RESEARCH AT NASA
My first experience with NASA was in high school when I entered the Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars program. I had the experience building a conceptual mission to Mars during the summer academy with other students and visited NASA Ames Research Center in California for the first time. Because of this when I started at Boise State I already had formed a relationship with former astronaut Barbara Morgan. She would later become my mentor and encouraged me to participate in the NASA groups.
My sophomore year I jumped at the chance to be the team leader of a NASA Microgravity Research team, which was a lot of work but gave me experience writing proposals for NASA, building a mechanical tool from scratch and of course leading a dynamic team.
LANDING AN INTERNSHIP
Taking advantage of opportunities as they come your way was key to my success at HP. I had not originally been seeking out an internship at HP, but they heard of the work I was doing and asked me to come in for an interview. After talking with my mentors at Boise State I went in with a lot of confidence and enthusiasm and ended up getting the internship. From there it was all about taking whatever opportunities they offered me, like competing in a social media competition, working on robots and meeting the CTO Shane Wall.
MY TYPICAL DAY
Working at HP headquarters is inspiring. I usually get in a little early so it is quiet when I start working. As other interns come in for the day we talk and catch up. A lot of my work is with computer simulations and coding and a lot of screens. So I enjoy working on the big HP Envy desktop screen. Something I have made a part of my experience is networking, so I might have a meeting with another HP employee or intern just to get to know them a little better one on one.
HP introduced me to building robotics. I hadn’t worked with them a lot beforehand but having a project that was hands on and involved mechanical design, which I had worked on before, allowed me to get started. It has allowed me to narrow my focus down from the broad applications inside Mechanical Engineering to robotics in artificial intelligence. So I would say exploring in this internship has had a big impact on my career plans.
MY BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT
My biggest achievement has been my robotic hand from last summer. Getting that to work in such a short amount of time was amazing and it was the result of working with another engineering intern at HP. The robotic hand was 3D printed and used a 3D camera to mimic your hand movements as you made them. It really touched and amazed people in different ways and I was glad to help others make that connection with robots that could reflect your actions.
My current goals are getting ready for grad school. I plan to attend a school in the Bay Area and I’m hoping to meet a lot of people while I am here at HP. I’d like to learn what the best schools to attend are and what grad schools are like in general. My other goals are to help other students get interested or stay interested in STEM, so I have been writing frequently on my blog and I have been really engaged with social media lately.
MY ADVICE FOR ANYONE STARTING AN INTERNSHIP
Be willing to learn a lot and to take opportunities as they come by. Just because you don’t know something from the beginning, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn it. If you are willing to put in the time and effort into what you are doing you can be successful at something completely brand new, so go for it!
Interview by Octavia Goredema @OctaviaGoredema