Stepping Stones: The Journey of an Asdea Intern

Alberto Hurtado V.

We nuture talent in students by offering internship opportunities. The image shows one of our interns, Alberto, sitting in a chair against a backgrdop of birch trees.

As part of the Memorandum of Understanding ASDEA has with the Universidad de Los Andes, we aim to provide a supportive environment where budding engineers may hone their skills in the field. The MOU is part of our efforts to nurture talent and offer unique opportunities for promising engineers around the world.

We are delighted to introduce Alberto Hurtado V., a promising addition to the ASDEA family. Our internships often serve as stepping stones for young professionals, providing them with valuable experiences and insights into their chosen fields, and Alberto’s journey serves as a testament.

Alberto started as an intern at ASDEA in the summer of 2022. Under the tutelage of his esteemed professor José Abell, Alberto was directed to explore OpenSees and STKO. He undertook a non-linear transient analysis study for a well-known building in Chile, delving into the intricate details of soil-structure interaction. This methodology offers crucial insights into the building’s behavior during earthquakes for seismic zone construction projects. Alberto’s curiosity and enthusiasm laid the foundation for his journey.

Alberto compared STKO to a Formula 1 car,

“When I first used STKO, I knew that I was looking at an F1 car. I knew that I could do crazy things with it, but first, I needed to learn how to change shifts [shift gears].”

Enthralled by the combination of OpenSees and STKO software, Alberto approached Professor Abell, who recognized his potential and extended the invitation to intern with us. Through his enthusiasm for both software programs, Alberto seized the opportunity to intern at ASDEA, supported wholeheartedly by José.

  Alberto’s journey at ASDEA involved the further mastery of OpenSees and STKO. In his words,

“OpenSees is a very powerful tool, that in the right hands, can solve things that no other software can, but it is no easy task to learn how to use it from scratch. So, the hardest challenge of my internship was overcoming the frustration of learning something as sophisticated as OpenSees. Without STKO, my learning curve would have been much slower.”

With the support of our ASDEA team, Alberto was able to conquer the initial hurdles and began to gain fluency in both programs.

We strive to foster a culture of growth and continuous learning, and Alberto’s internship exemplified this ethos. His experience as an intern was a turning point in his professional development, as he embraced challenges and discovered his passion for pushing the boundaries of structural engineering. His journey at ASDEA instilled in him the art of simplifying complex issues while maintaining the integrity of predictions, a skill that is invaluable for aspiring structural engineers. After his internship, he returned to Chile to finish his degree and work on his next steps. He was determined to return to Italy, and hoped to continue collaborating with ASDEA as well. We were happy to offer him work as a consultant with us after he finished his degree. Presently, he is working with other consultants to develop sophisticated analyses of building slabs in London, ensuring their safety and structural integrity.

Alberto will be returning to Italy in the fall to participate in a Ph.D. program. During his internship here, he came to learn of opportunities for further study offered by INGEO at the Università Degli Studi G. D’Annunzio (with which ASDEA collaborates with frequently). When asked how do you think your experiences at ASDEA, both as an intern and a consultant, will contribute to your Ph.D. studies, he replied, “Both experiences, as an intern and a consultant, made me think outside the box. During the Ph.D., I will face problems and challenges that still I’m not sure that I can face, so I’m going to confront all those new things with the mentality that every new challenge can be solved by gathering information and asking the right questions to the right people and always thinking outside the box.” His upcoming research will aim to explore the integration of AI into non-linear analysis. Alberto’s journey from intern to consultant embodies the core values of ASDEA – innovation, collaboration, and the pursuit of excellence. We look forward to his Ph.D. journey and are excited to see where his career takes him.

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