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FRESH Encounters: Mateo Sturla

What does being at the Academy mean to you?

For me, being at the Academy means two things – first, it means being in a place where I will be able to explore and further develop my academic and personal interests. It means receiving lectures from some of the best teachers and industry leaders. At the same time, it also means being part of a family that will accompany me for a lifetime. From day one, which in my case was Interview Weekend, I had a sense of belonging even though as an international student it can be a little bit more difficult to feel such a connection. All the people I met were so nice and we were easily able to talk about our academic as well as personal interests.

What is something about the way the world works that you'd like to disrupt?

I would like to disrupt the way we as a society relate to the economy and nature. We are living in a consumer society that considers earth as something to be used and disposed of. From my personal experience and the news I read, I observe that this relationship is not sustainable. We should build a relationship in which both parties benefit (such as a circular economy where no trash is generated) or help businesses find sustainable ways to harness natural resources.

What are three goals you have this year?

1. Develop a system to 3D print custom-fitted face masks, without 3D scanners
2. Keep practicing calisthenics to be able to do a human flag
3. Learn to code and create custom g-code for my 3D printer

Who is the most impressive entrepreneur alive today? Why?

I would say David Kelley. He is the founder of IDEO and author of the book “Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All.” I find his work impressive not just for the designs his firm has developed, but the methodology he’s developed: fostering the imagination and design skills of academics and business to show that applying creativity to work can lead to major innovation.

What are some things you want to know about your future senior self?

Which projects will I be working on? Will I end up as a product innovator or work in a different area?

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?

I love to whistle. It makes me feel happy.

What is one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?

Don’t stress yourself out too much about the decisions you make. Most of the time they won’t be life or death decisions and if things don’t turn out as you planned there will be a second chance. Also, on failing: making a mistake is always part of learning and it can teach you unexpected lessons.

What is a recent project you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of?

Designing a ventilation system for a wine fridge that is inside of a closed compartment. I sketched some ideas and built out a cardboard prototype. Now I’m currently working on the fusion process by modeling the pieces I need to 3D print. Also, building a straight razor from scratch. 


What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?

A Klean Kanteen water bottle
Altoids peppermints
A pen and paper to take notes, or sketch any idea
Food, home-cooked in a thermos or an avocado and scrambled eggs sandwich

Favorite app, service or website?


If you could be best friends with one fictional character who would it be?

The Pink Panther

Thanks, Mateo!