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#SEIWeTalk: face to face with SEI students | Episode 11

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Federica Semproni, 27 years old. She holds a Degree in Biomedical Engineering (Politecnico di Torino) with specialisation in Medical Instrumentation. Currently she’s a PhD student in BioRobotics, researching the field of Soft Robots and Artificial Organs, at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa. She had nine months of research experience in Boston (USA) at the Motion Analysis laboratory of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, a teaching hospital for the physical medicine and rehabilitation program of Harvard Medical School. You can probably tell she’s into medical research and innovation.

How did you hear about SEI’s programs?

I learned about SEI’s programs through the Politecnico di Torino. I received an email shortly before graduating and I decided to take part in the program to try my hand at entrepreneurship. Not knowing which direction to take in my career, I tried the path that seemed to represent me best: teamwork, creativity, research and innovation.

What did your team do during SEI Inventor?

My team worked on a digital-health project with the aim of bringing digital technologies and health together. We designed Bridge, a mobile app that aims to be a concrete support for people who suspect they may have contracted a sexually transmitted disease. The group’s aim was firstly to spread knowledge, especially among younger people, and secondly to create a bridge between patients and doctors, helping them to deal with the initial embarrassment and discomfort that arises when dealing with this issue. 

How did the work of your group continue later?

Following SEI Inventor, we decided to go ahead with our idea for two reasons: the validity of the project combined with the interest shown by clinicians and potential users, and, last but not least, the bond of our group. Immediately after the program, we completed the proof of concept and got in touch with a professor from Politecnico di Torino, an expert in telemedicine. We collaborated with a master’s thesis student in Biomedical Engineering to implement the front-end of the app and we requested the collaboration of consultants and STD centres throughout Italy to collect useful data for the app’s operation. Today, a second student is collaborating with us to improve the app’s main classification algorithm and, in parallel, to draw up the final Business Plan.

What are the most important things you learned with SEI?

SEI played a key role in my career decision after graduation. I learnt how to work with a team of people from very different backgrounds, in terms of sharing tasks, knowledge and personal experiences. I learnt to take an idea forward from the start, trying my hand at tackling fields that were unknown to me. As a result of this experience, I decided to undertake a PhD, to improve my education and to continue the experience of sharing and researching innovation. Thanks to the mentors of SEI Inventor, I understood how to pursue my ideas with enthusiasm, propose them to a group, and work efficiently and effectively in a team. 

What is your relationship today with the business world and how do you see yourself in the near future?

I have only been in contact with the entrepreneurial world for less than a year, and I have realised that there are so many things I still don’t know. To date, I can say that I have been impressed by the opportunity it offers to explore problems and solutions from completely different worlds, offering all-round personal and professional growth. I can’t say whether I will stay in this area in the future, but I will certainly continue to look for a working environment that can make me express myself 100%, that can offer me different inputs every day, even in subjects I have never dealt with, that can welcome ideas for innovation, and above all where there are no limits to what can be developed and designed.

Would you recommend a SEI program to another person?

I would absolutely recommend SEI to anyone who wants to try to challenge their own skills and limits, because by experiencing the challenge of running a project from the beginning to the end among young students and young people, you can learn how to use the best weapons at your disposal towards the common goal. In addition, you have the opportunity to learn what is often unknown to us young people about entrepreneurship and perhaps understand that it can be the right path for your future. Last but not least, you can be lucky enough to collaborate with different people who have something to offer and teach, both on a professional and personal level.

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