A Pioneering Invention on Co-op

Like many, Grace Carroll, BS, Computer Engineering 2020, came to Northeastern for its renowned co-op program.

“I learn a lot better doing things hands-on than just in the classroom,” Carroll said. “The fact that they schedule [co-op] into your degree for you to go learn hands-on—I really thought that was a big difference between Northeastern and a lot of other schools.”

While she took computer science classes in high school, Carroll didn’t want to just study computer science in college. She found the combination of computer and electrical engineering more interesting and efficient.

On her first co-op in 2018, Carroll joined the consumer electronics company, Bose Corporation, as an electrical engineer in the Consumer Wellness Research area. The first half of her co-op was spent working with her supervisor on a more independent project, while the second half was spent working with a team of people trying to target more complicated issues and determine the feasibility of solutions.

After developing a prototype and getting it to function as a demo, Carroll’s supervisor told her to present it to the research and development team. This led to her writing an invention disclosure for the prototype, working with Bose’s general counsel team, and then filing for a U.S. patent.

“Even if it doesn’t get approved as a patent, it was still very cool to write it all up and go through the process,” Carroll said.

Prior to her co-op, Carroll received an Early Research/Creative Endeavor Award from Northeastern. She did research in the Augmented Cognition Laboratory with Assistant Professor Sarah Ostadabbas, electrical and computer engineering, working to rehabilitate stroke patients using augmented reality headsets.

“Research was sort of a bridge between what I was doing in classes and what I would end up doing in co-op,” she said. “It was a really good basis for what I was doing at Bose because I was using a lot of the same sensors and software. The platforms we were doing [our projects on] were similar.”

Working for Bose solidified Carroll’s interest in her field. “Going to work as an electrical engineer for six months actually proved that that’s what I want to be,” she said.

Related Departments:Electrical & Computer Engineering