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Roberta Bruno, SEI Inventor 2019 and SEI Pioneer 2019/20 participant, is about to graduate in Statistics with a specialisation in Artificial Intelligence.  After an Erasmus in Oslo (Norway), she attended the European Innovation Academy. Currently, Roberta works at Microsoft as Partner Technology Strategist and is still part of the AIDA team as Machine Learning Strategist 

Like many students and alumni of our courses, you are an extremely busy person, involved in many projects. What made the spark with SEI happen?

I learned about SEI from a student I met at the European Innovation Academy, in the summer of 2019. He had told me about it as a must try experience and, intrigued by his positive review, I enrolled first in the Inventor module and then in Pioneer.

One thing you have learned from your teams in Inventor and Pioneer, and one thing you think you have taught to your teams

At Inventor and Pioneer, thanks to working in teams, I learned how valuable it is, not only for others but also and above all for your own growth, to be able to question yourself. How important it is to learn to actively listen to other team members. It’s not easy, that’s for sure, but communication is essential to have a productive working environment. As far as I’m concerned, I hope I’ve managed to convey the passion I always try to put into the projects and paths I take. 

With your team of SEI Pioneer, you are still working on AIDA, an application to help people with type 1 diabetes calculate the exact amount of insulin they need, thanks to machine learning that processes the biometric parameters received from a smartwatch. What are the next steps you will follow?

Yes, our aim is to simplify therapy management for the patient but also to provide a very accurate service with medical value. To this end, we are working towards certification as a medical device. To achieve this goal, the next steps are to complete the second MVP release and to set up a medical committee to start a pilot study to test the application with volunteers.

Last year you were in Kenya, as a cooperator in the village of Marsabit. What did this experience teach you, also for your professional path?

First of all, it was one of the most beautiful and meaningful experiences of my life. I met so many people, new cultures, customs and habits completely different from my own. And all of this has taught me how much each of us is a unique individual in the world, with our strengths and weaknesses, but at the same time a part of an infinite whole. That getting out of your comfort zone is not easy, indeed it requires a lot of willpower and commitment, but that what awaits you on the other side is absolutely worth it. But above all, it has taught me that not everything you are used to is obvious or right, but that the beauty lies in seeing things from a different perspective.

You have just started working at Microsoft, as a Partner Technology Strategist. What kind of experience do you expect?

Microsoft is a highly dynamic, diverse and stimulating environment. I have the opportunity to put into practice and deepen what I have learned during my studies and at the same time develop new knowledge and skills and meet many people from all over the world. It can only be a new and deeply enriching adventure both personally and professionally.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What values have you acquired during your time at SEI that you think will help you achieve the goals you are aiming for in the future?

When I imagine myself in the future, it’s not so much  about where I will be, but how, and to be honest I think it will be pretty much the same as today: chatty and with my head in the clouds, but always wanting to get involved and learn as much as possible.

From SEI I bring with me a huge baggage of values that have been and will be fundamental in my journey but, more than anything else, it is perseverance that has really given me a boost and that will certainly accompany me in all the goals I want to achieve in the future.

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