Channeling creativity through art and engineering. MIT News | Jobs Vox


Emily Satterfield loves to create. Whether she’s cutting out a dress as seen on TikTok, baking a cake, dancing at Cambridge’s Havana Club, or tinkering with a project, she fills her days with activities that fuel her endless creativity. Represents.

“Being creative has always been a big part of who I am. I find a new hobby every week. I just love anything that involves making things,” says Satterfield ’22, who recently majored in mechanical engineering. Graduated from MIT with a degree.

Growing up in Lowell, Massachusetts, Satterfield was surrounded by creativity from a young age. His mother is a teacher with a passion for art and oil painting. Her father is an electrical engineer who specializes in do-it-yourself automation projects. Growing up, he thought of art and engineering as two separate entities. You cannot be both an artist and an engineer.

“I always thought that engineering and art were opposites and that you couldn’t really do both,” she says.

Upon enrolling at MIT, Satterfield set out to study electrical engineering at MIT. But he soon found himself more drawn towards mechanical engineering. For him, setting the robot in motion was exhilarating.

One of his first opportunities to build a robot came in the spring of his sophomore year. He enrolled in 2007 (Design and Manufacturing I). In class students design and build their own robots. The class culminates in an exciting final robot competition.

But midway through the semester, Satterfield and her fellow students were sent home because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Stuck at home, she craved a creative outlet and began drawing. His time in quarantine helped him realize that his twin passions of art and engineering should not be mutually exclusive.

“That’s when I realized art was me,” she says. “Especially as a mechanical engineer, I realized how engineering and art are not opposites. They actually go hand in hand. When you are designing or building something, you are literally creating something new. There are

His drive to create led him to an undergraduate research opportunity with Professor David Hardt, known as SuperURP. The project investigated the use of additive manufacturing to create low-cost homes for individuals experiencing homelessness. The goal is to use technologies such as 3D printing to build lightweight homes made from recycled plastics. She continued working on the project for her senior thesis.

In senior capstone class 2.009 (Product Engineering Processes), Satterfield had the opportunity to further combine his love of art and engineering. Rather fittingly, his team created a prototype for the device called the “Pallet”. The portable product enables painters to apply paint to the exact shade they need onsite, eliminating time-consuming trips to the paint store. The team worked with Benjamin Moore to develop their product.

Working with his fellow mechanical engineering students on a large, intensive project like Pallet gave Satterfield a preview of what it would be like to work on an engineering team in industry.

“Most of the students in Course 2 like to build things and talk about the things they build, which is good for teamwork and teaching each other different things. Creative engineers are really good teammates, and I think that’s true of most of the students in Course 2,” she says.

After graduating in May, Satterfield joined the creative engineers at SpaceX. In the summer, she participated in the company’s associate program.

Satterfield now works as a structural engineer for the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft team. He and his co-workers develop technology for spacecraft. In early October, as Crew Dragon took off from Cape Canaveral, the techniques Satterfield had worked on were on the spacecraft.

“It was really cool to see that something I helped work on had an impact. Knowing that there are people inside the spacecraft really puts things into perspective,” she adds.

Despite her busy schedule, she’s still managed to find new hobbies – the latest of which involves reupholstering the furniture for her new apartment in California. Whatever the future holds, Satterfield will continue to pursue outlets for her creativity.

“I’m excited for a long time to see how I can take my weird, kind of disparate interests and combine them into my thing,” she says.


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