UNSW Canberra third year Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Honours) student, Cat Macdermott, is firing up her career opportunities with her internship at Launch on Northbourne Collaborator, Seitec.

The combination of artificial intelligence, miniature circuits and radio techniques is being used by Canberra-based company, Seitec to manufacture ground-breaking seismic sensors that will allow users to essentially see through the ground, walls, trees and landscapes.

Seitec is a UNSW Canberra alumnus and veteran-owned company, and develops specialised seismic instrumentation and capabilities that provide incredibly sensitive tracking and detection.

Being involved in real-world engineering solutions – such as the products Seitec creates –allows Cat to turn theory into practice.

One of Cat’s assignments was assisting with data input and programming Seitec’s innovative ‘Nightingale’ system. What looks like a small tower of circuit boards, Nightingale uses embedded artificial intelligence to detect footsteps, allowing users to track movement in real-time.

“I have done a class at UNSW Canberra on programming, but it was a lot of theory. Having the chance to apply this knowledge to a real-life system gave me invaluable hands-on experience,” Cat said.

“I didn’t realise I enjoyed programming this much until I had this opportunity to put it into practice,” she said.

The internship has allowed Cat to compliment her studies, experiencing first-hand how electrical engineers approach and solve real-world problems.

“The internship with Seitec has helped me solidify the concepts I’ve been learning while studying, and applying this where I can see the results clearly,” she said.

What surprised Cat the most was discovering how fast new technologies can be established.

“I enjoy developing new technologies and the process of experimenting and improving a concept into a fully-fledged prototype.

“But developing technology moves a lot faster than I thought. It showed me how important it is to be quick and efficient when given a task to complete.”  

UNSW Canberra alumnus Daniel Stevens is the CEO and founder of Seitec, where he works closely with Cat to enhance her internship experience.

As a Bachelor of Engineering graduate from UNSW Canberra himself, Daniel completed a 12-month internship with Liquid Instruments while studying. The hands-on experience and opportunity to learn from other engineers was a catalyst that led to him to falling in love with engineering and founding Seitec.

Daniel supports the opportunity to provide university students with hands-on experience and emphasises the importance of putting in the hard work to get the most out of engineering design.

“UNSW Canberra has a focus on design engineering, so their students are well placed for internships in R&D companies like Seitec. The ability to reach out to UNSW staff and figure out what students are learning will also allow us to better align the internship with course material to effectively consolidate learning,” Daniel said.

When asked for what advice she would give to other university students looking for internships, Cat said to “make a plan and stick to it.”

“Sometimes it can be hard to find an internship but keep trying, stick with it, and get advice from your professors and lecturers as they are there to support you. Give it time, it’s worth it.”