Student Spotlight: Aastha Patel

October 22, 2015

What do interns get up to at the Centre?

Aastha Patel, a M.Eng candidate from the University of Toronto Mechanical and Industrial Engineering program, is completing her one-year internship with the Healthcare Human Factors team. Let’s ask her a few questions about her experiences here.



1. Tell us a bit about your responsibilities here.

I assist in planning and conducting usability testing on medical devices and software applications for healthcare use, and also in reporting usability test results in a form that is compliant with FDA. Besides, I perform systematic inspections of user interface based on recognized usability principles, and I contribute towards patient safety initiatives by shadowing and conducting interviews.


2. What are your favourite and most challenging aspects of your work?

When I started working here, I had very minimum knowledge of human factors and the type of work that was done here. So for me the most challenging aspect was learning as I work. But this challenge was also the most favourite part of my work because the work aligned with my passion to improve healthcare, and because my colleagues were very supportive in helping me learn.


3. What was the most surprising, unexpected, or fascinating thing that happened during your internship?

As I started getting involved in various projects and saw the outcome, I was amazed to see how human factors can play a significant part in improving healthcare and patient safety.


4. Where is your favourite spot to wind down in the Centre? Why?

The Kitchen! It is always refreshing to sit down for lunch in the kitchen with colleagues and socialize.


5. After your internship, what’s one thing you would miss the most from the Centre?

I would definitely miss working in an amazingly friendly environment. And of course, I will miss the random foods & treats different colleagues bring to share at the Centre.


6. Where do you want to go from here? How has your experiences here shaped the direction of your future career and education?

As I mentioned before, I started my internship with very minimal knowledge and experience in human factors. But now I have developed a passion in this field and there’s no looking back. After working at the Centre for three months, I started my part-time Master of Engineering (M.Eng) in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at University of Toronto. With this M.Eng, my focus is to strengthen my knowledge of human factors and human centred design techniques that I can apply to my work.