An experienced student’s perspective on Project DIANA, a project part of the EPICS in IEEE Environmental Competition. 

There is only so much you can learn inside the four walls of a classroom. Take it from Maia Medeiros who holds a Masters Degree in Biological Oceanography and Bachelors Degree in Oceanography, and is still eager to learn more. Her passion for helping the environment led her to continue her education by pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Engineering at Ohlone College. 

Once at Ohlone College, Medeiros was sought out by the IEEE STEAM Club to be the team’s secretary for Project DIANA, a project funded by EPICS in IEEE. The project’s goal is to lessen environmental pollution by detecting harmful gasses in the air, such as nitrogen and methane, via sensors and a drone. Although Medeiros has never before been involved in a project outside of the classroom through a student-run club, she accepted the invitation and has become fascinated with the project. Everything the team could possibly need is right in front of them— and this is made possible by EPICS in IEEE.

Hands-on Learning

In the past, Medeiros had once been involved with an in-class project. However, she was only able to complete the assigned tasks for her designated role, which prevented her from trying anything new or challenging. “One time, I was in charge of building an underwater camera, but managing all of the electronics was the engineering team’s job. I didn’t get to build from scratch,” she says. Now with Project DIANA, Medeiros has the opportunity to get involved with every part, from research to hands-on building, which is something she has always been intrigued by. “All of this knowledge came about after my Masters Degree,” Medeiros says.

Eager to have more hands-on experiences, Medeiros even volunteered to test and fly the industrialized-sized drone– despite never operating one before. “You never know until you try,” Medeiros says. She is excited to learn how to operate the drone and she will be an integral part of Phase Two of Project Diana.

Lessons Learned

Not only has Medeiros learned technical skills through EPICS in IEEE, but she also learned how to utilize an extensive network of professionals, professors, and other students. She has been shocked by how resourceful and supportive so many people have been, which has opened her eyes to an abundance of new resources. Because Project DIANA is a student-run project, the team learns something new every step of the way by reaching out to others for help. 

Medeiros has the knowledge and motivation to learn, and with the provided platform from EPICS in IEEE, she can continue her educational journey. Her dedication to Project DIANA has helped further develop her interpersonal and engineering skills. EPICS in IEEE continues to give students, like Medeiros, the opportunity to create real solutions to real community problems.