Interview by Duro Junior Team member Lonzie Reaves
Meet Duro Electrical Engineer Richa Netto. She talks with us about her work on the Harbor AUV’s various sensors, the difference between the Indian and American educational systems, and why House is her favorite show on television.
Lonzie Reaves: Thank you for coming. Can you start by introducing yourself?
Richa Netto: I’m Richa and I’m a master’s student in electrical engineering at Columbia University, and I have an undergraduate in computer engineering from Mumbai University.
LR: What do you do here at Duro?
RN: I’m a part of the electrical engineering team and currently am working on sensor interfacing. Basically we have a bunch of water sensors; there’s one that checks for Ph, one that does dissolved oxygen, there’s an ORP sensor, and a conductivity sensor.
What we’re trying to do right now is to test them individually and then eventually integrate them together and get them to work on one breadboard.
LR: What influenced you to become an engineer?
RN: I always liked science in high school compared to other things – I actually wanted to be a doctor at first but I changed my mind because I didn’t think I would be too comfortable with that level of responsibility [laughs]. So, I liked science and that got me started in engineering.
LR: What are some of the differences in education that you’ve noticed between India and the US? How was making that transition?
RN: Before university I actually did my schooling in Dubai, where I attended an Indian school. Overall I would say that the system that we have in India is pretty different; there is more focus on the theoretical aspect of topics as compared to the more pragmatic approach in the US. I’m not a big fan of memorizing information without actually seeing its application in practical scenarios, so I definitely enjoy studying in the U.S.
It’s slightly difficult in the beginning. You notice that assignments require a lot more research out here — I’m not generalizing, that’s how it really feels — than it did while I was doing my undergrad in Mumbai, but I’m sure there are pros and cons to both approaches.
“I really like the startup atmosphere…you get to learn a lot of things, it’s not like you have a rigid job where you are doing the exact same thing every day.”
LR: What is your favorite part about working at Duro?
RN: I really liked the fact that it is very comfortable, everyone is just in the process of doing their work and that’s mainly why I joined – I really like the startup atmosphere. So you get to learn a lot of things, it’s not like you have a rigid job where you are doing the exact same thing every day. Like, I’m working on sensors this week but last week I was working on the servos [a type of motor] and thrusters.
LR: So you work on a variety of things.
RN: Yeah, you get to learn a lot of different things while you are at it.
LR: What are some things you like to do on your free time?
RN: I read a lot, I like watching TV shows. I think House would be my favorite TV show. It’s a medical drama…
LR: Oh with the guy…
RN: Yeah, with the guy with the injured leg. But the show isn’t only about medicine all the time, it’s more about how his character develops as he meets different kinds of people through his medical career. I think it’s a pretty interesting show.
LR: Thank you for meeting with me today.
RN: Thank you.