Redefining "summer"

Brittany L. Strachota

Hey there, everybody!

It's been a while since I touched this blog, and I know you all are missing me terribly, so here we go.

This summer is a strange one for me, to say the least. I have a real internship and am not in Wisconsin. Also, I have to plan and prepare all of my meals. Whoa. Here's the basic rundown:

I was fortunate enough to be offered an internship at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), with the academic program. Basically, the department is a couple handfuls of people who want to find ways for students to use PTC's software to learn cool things. For example, this is where you will find those in charge of PTC's connection to FIRST.

PTC makes software that caters to engineers (Pro/Engineer...soon to be Creo, Mathcad, Windchill). It's awesome to see things from the other side. The entire process is just ridiculous (in a good way).

I work with the company's FTC program and will move on to another similar program mid-summer. The first week or so was spent learning the basics of the software and providing feedback on their training materials. Now, I'll be designing robots for the FTC game, with the aim of assisting teams in India (more detailed descriptions to follow throughout the summer). Robots and education...what more could I ask for?


Some of the best things about my job:

  • My desk neighbors - They're awesomely nerdy and care about education. Plus they're hilarious and make my day so much more interesting.
  • My desk - I have my very own (spacious) cube with a dual monitor setup, docking station, filing cabinets, and a large window. Really can't complain.
  • Location - PTC's world headquarters is in Needham, just a few miles away, so I can bike to work in about 24 minutes.
  • The couch in the kitchenette - There are too many kitchenettes in the building to count, but the one right by my desk has one of the comfiest couches I have sat on in recent history.
  • The size of the department - Because the department is so small and Needham is the world headquarters of the company, I get to talk with the important folks on a fairly regular basis. It's cool to feel like my voice actually means something. The SVP of my department was in India for the FTC kickoff last week and ran into Oliners interning for a company there (Trevor and Emily, both '13). They spoke long enough to discover their mutual acquaintance (me) - small world, eh? Also, I received an email with attachments labeled 'internal use only'. Gotta love it.
  • Fridays - I'll be working from Olin on Fridays, which is great, because I don't have to wear decent clothing or travel anywhere.
  • School visits - They actually take me places! I have already visited a high school and an elementary school, with more visits on the docket. After teaching swim lessons for the last five years, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get my fix of conversations with kids.
  • My manager - One of the coolest people and best mentors I have ever met.


Another cool thing is living at Olin over the summer. I am staying in a suite with five awesome people. I'm not close friends with any of them, and I'm excited to have this opportunity to better get to know them. It's a lot easier to do so because I don't have work to do once I'm on campus! Admittedly, this is a bit unsettling. During the school year, the dorms are a place to stay up late, working on problem sets and projects, studying until our brains melt. Now, it's my retreat.

Summer at Olin is taking some getting used to. Sixty people are trying to cook in two kitchens. Only two floors of one residence hall are occupied. I'm in East Hall for the first time. My family is not here. It's different. But it's fun. All in all, I'm excited to be living with friends and experiencing a New England summer!

Here's a photo from last weekend. I owe you one after all of that text (sorry).


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Andrew and Casey, both '13, on the Charles River


Let me know what you want to hear about for the next couple of months - fun weekend antics, work stuff, living at Olin during the summer...please steer me in the right direction!

Posted in: Class of 2013