Production Designer Finds Engineers’ Playground Inward Wisconsin

As the youngest of iv girls, Rosalie Phillips ’21 looked upward to her sisters, together with everywhere they went, she went. As early every bit fifth form, she recalls, she was joining her oldest sis at robotics meetings inwards the machine shop of a local college, Case Western Reserve University inward Cleveland, Ohio.

“They would paw me a drill as well as show me where holes needed to get, give me a screwdriver to assistance get together pieces, and present me how the different components they were edifice worked together,” says Phillips, who got a lot of Rosie the Riveter comments equally she continued to pursue robotics inward high school. “I definitely mention that equally the outset of my lifelong honey of edifice things and, in plow, the tools in addition to machines that brand edifice things possible.”

That passion brought Phillips to MIT, where she discovered production pattern, as well as from there to a chore equally a designer for the land’s largest supplier of cordless power tools, Milwaukee Tool.

Her time at the Wisconsin-based company started through a monthlong internship during her junior-twelvemonth Independent Activities Period (IAP) as role of MIT’second Micro-Internship Program, where she was able to arrive at valuable feel working directly with as well as for MIT alumni.

“I worked inward the advanced technology grouping, too I worked on developing an accessory for an electric trade tool that was focused on, every bit our products tend to live, improving the efficiency of a common chore repeated throughout the solar day for electricians,” explains Phillips, who earned her undergraduate level in Course 2-A—a customizable track inwards mechanical engineering science that allowed her to have a deep dive into production pattern.

The best function of the January 2020 micro-internship, she says, is that she came away with a prototype inward manus: “The process of creating the image started amongst putting myself in the users’ shoes, experiencing what they are currently doing on the jobsite and what the hurting points of that process are.”

“I but love the feeling I get when I hold something I designed or made in my hands for the starting time time. It’sec a big office of the argue I became an engineer.”

Rosalie Phillips ’21

Once Phillips understood what success would expect like, she began brainstorming nigh how to become at that place. “After I had my best concept selected, I began to iterate together with problem-solve,” she says. “Milwaukee has dandy onsite rapid prototyping resource, and I was able to blueprint a concept as well as accept a high-fidelity 3D print inward paw a 24-hour interval or ii later to examination everything from access to ergonomics to jibe. It was an amazing hands-on experience surrounded by all the resource to epitome you could ask for—definitely an engineer’second playground.”

The success of the IAP internship motivated Phillips to sign on for a full internship at Milwaukee Tool in the summer of 2020, when she got to work on a image for a carpentry power tool. That was closely followed by a total-time task offer. She started inward September 2021. One thing that drew her to the fellowship was the structure of production design bike, too the fact that each person owned a project rather than contributing to multiple larger projects.

“I only beloved the feeling I go when I hold something I designed or made in my hands for the kickoff fourth dimension. It’second a large part of the argue I became an engineer,” says Phillips. “I feel amazed I was able to bring something from my brain into the Earth, excited to test it out, curious if it will break, in addition to already fix to brand the adjacent one.”

The alumni reward

The notion of an IAP internship is not new. The MIT Alumni Association started the MIT Student/Alumni Externship Program inward 1997 as a mode for alumni to host pupil interns during the January term. It was renamed the Micro-Internship Program upon beingness revamped subsequently transitioning to MIT Career Advising too Professional Development (CAPD) inwards 2020. The plan all the same encourages MIT alumni to host undergraduate and graduate students at their companies, although students forthwith as well have the opportunity to utilize for positions non hosted past alumni.

For her micro-internship, Phillips reported straight to Troy Thorson ’98 in addition to collaborated amongst Beth Cholst ’sixteen. She says existence able to run alongside not but ane just ii swain Course ii alums made her experience fifty-fifty more than valuable.

“Troy would pass extra time amongst me,” says Phillips. She recalls that Thorson, who is a managing director of advanced engineering science, would devote a luncheon interruption every calendar week to taking apart just about sort out of handheld power tool to exhibit how it worked, talking through what hiccups had come upwardly inward the design procedure. “It made me more excited to run there, because I intend tools are interesting—the guts of tools are real intriguing to me,” she says.

Cholst—who is a managing director of advanced engineering for outdoor power equipment such equally foliage blowers too string trimmers—started at Milwaukee Tool inwards 2016 too has enjoyed the opportunity to function alongside interns and then much that she is right away inwards charge of recruiting at MIT. “I recollect when Rosie offset started,” she recalls. “We gave her the first project during IAP, as well as nosotros weren’t even certain it would live possible to complete it in Jan. She did such a groovy chore. We knew we needed this soul dorsum—she had and so much passion and curiosity.”

Making an impact amongst tools

Today, Phillips plant on ability tool product evolution inwards the companionship’s carpentry in addition to nailers group—in addition to two initial prototypes she developed take been picked upwards for further development, amongst one approaching launch this year. Although she has still to attain that “ultimate satisfaction” of seeing i of her tools on the shelf at a hardware shop, she is shut, she says. (The power tool she worked on during her summer internship is as well almost fix to become to marketplace.)

In the meantime, she’second excited to be working at such a well-known fellowship. “If I’m wearing a Milwaukee Tool shirt or jacket, people terminate me too tell me how they solely purchase Milwaukee, or the crazy tasks they’ve place their tools through,” she says. “Experiences similar that actually keep at the forepart of your heed the people who y’all are making these tools for, in addition to the existent impact it makes on their twenty-four hours together with livelihood to make a tool amongst the best performance possible that will final for years.”

Interested inwards hosting an MIT student for a micro-internship? Email Tavi Sookhoo at [email protected] or make full out the class at CAPD tin as well assist alums interested inward seeking MIT talent for summer internships too full-fourth dimension chore opportunities. Learn more than at