CMU Portugal Inside Story: Maria Eduarda Andrada

Maria Eduarda Andrada is a CMU Portugal Affiliated Ph.D. student in Robotics from Brazil. She is hosted in Portugal at Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Coimbra (FCTUC) and will spend her research year (spring and fall of 2023) at the Robotics Institute supervised by George Kantor. Maria Eduarda has also been part of CMU Portugal Large Scale project Safeforest which ended in 2023 and was led by her CMU host. Currently in Pittsburgh, she shared her experience  thus far and what she is looking for the rest of her stay at CMU.

Tell me a little about yourself. 

I am Brazilian and have been very nomadic in terms of lifestyle and choices. In the last 10 years I have changed 5 countries. I have always been interested in robotics, cinema and soccer. All in all, it has been an interesting life path so far and I hope it will continue for many years to come.

What attracted you to the CMU Portugal Affiliated Ph.D. Program? 

The idea of working at one of the best robotics institutes in the world with a growing and diverse environment in the Kantor lab.

What is the biggest difference between studying in Pittsburgh versus Portugal? 

I think one of the interesting aspects is the size of the lab, the social activities, and the environment. There are many more students in the lab where I work than in Coimbra, so I have more opportunities to brainstorm and network compared to University of Coimbra. The other thing is the activities on campus that are not related to my field. There are many different free activities on campus that allow me to expand my skills and interests that I did not have before. For example, Tartan Salsa, which has helped me meet new people in the city and learn a whole new skill

What is your favorite thing about CMU so far? 

I would say that discovering new activities outside my comfort zone is one of my favorite things about CMU.

Do you have a go-to spot on campus? 

At the moment, it would mostly be Newell-Simon hall.

What advice would you give to someone coming to CMU? 

Enjoy new experiences and explore as much as you can. Also, try to attend seminars and lectures, as they are usually given by incredible speakers that we would not normally have access to.