07.06.2019  12:00

NECST Group Conference X

Conclusion of 10th edition of NECSTLab event that takes students to San Francisco and Silicon Valley

NGCX has just finished, the tenth edition of the event organised by the Politecnico di Milano’s NECSTLab which takes place every year in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley area.

The philosophy of NECSTLab – Novel, Emerging Computing System Technologies Laboratory – is to be not simply a computer science laboratory, but rather a life skills laboratory. A laboratory which in addition to equipping students with the technological and scientific skills expected from Italy’s leading technical university, also works on their awareness and enables them to grow by learning their limits and capabilities, takes them out of their comfort zone and prepares them practically for the world of work and, to some degree, life itself.

To meet this objective, NECST provides a number of opportunities: conferences, contacts with companies, internships and visits to other universities. But the most important event is the NECST Group Conference, which is a disrupting experience for the students. Two weeks on the other side of the world, in the locations that symbolise their passions, faced with the responsibility of preparing a speech, presenting to an audience in English and visiting the companies they dream of working for.

Preparation, which lasts five months, and managing unforeseeable circumstances were an integral part of the experience. The students were trained to face their anxieties, confront failure, learn and accept their own limitations, and understand how important it is to collaborate and share experiences and projects with many different people to be successful.

It all started in 2011, when six people went to California for the first time. Every year, over the nine editions, they treasured all their experiences: the successes, but especially the failures. And this vision has turned out to be the right one. The event has proven to be a satisfying experience and the group has grown year on year, with 52 young people making the journey this year.

The results have been extraordinary, and the numbers bear witness to it. 39 men and 13 women, students on Laurea courses (equivalent to Bachelor of Science), Laurea Magistrale courses (equivalent to Master of Science) and research PhD programmes from 8 different study courses held 124 talks, took part in 3 conferences and published 6 papers. They visited 17 companies, 2 universities (Berkeley and Stanford) and 5 different locations, including the Consulate General of Italy in San Francisco. 3 universities were involved: the Politecnico di Milano, the Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia and the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. Also involved were 2 laboratories, NECSTLab and Hipert-Lab, and 2 student associations, JEMP and POLI.RADIO.

Accompanying the students was a team of specialists from NECSTCamp, another innovative project developed by NECST in 2017. Two trainers, a nutritionist, two psychologists to support the individuals and strengthen group dynamics and a sleep monitoring programme for a holistic approach to personal development. A 10 km Polimirun run in 3 different cities, 7 CrossFit training sessions, 4 cooking workshops and 3 collective meetings.

Next up NGC 2020!

Photo credits: Giulia Emma Nocerino; Letizia Clementi.