5 Questions for a Brunonian: Recent Grad and Engineer Matt Lo ’18 ScM’19

Supportive parents and a balanced life are keys to success, according to this product engineer, entrepreneur, and Knead doughnut aficionado.

Smiling headshot of Matt LoMatthew Lo ’18 ScM’19 cuts an impressive figure. Just a few short years ago, as an undergraduate, he started an organization providing low-cost knee prosthetics to amputees. He also volunteered his time for Design for America. More recently, he has been promoted to the position of senior product designer by tech company Onshape.

Why do you do what you do today and how did Brown play a role?

At Brown, I learned that I was passionate about human-centered product design and finding ways to help my community. I found my passion mainly through my involvement with the Brown Design Workshop.

I also enjoyed getting involved with my surrounding communities in New England. It led me to try different ways to use the design process to help address different problems and challenges. For example, I became involved with Design For America to address local problems through the lens of design. I also co-founded Koi Prosthetics; we looked to create affordable prosthetic devices for developing countries. Brown had lots of resources that supported me as I explored ways to apply my passion, ranging from courses to mentorship to start-up help.

Now, as the Senior Product Manager at Onshape, a cloud-based 3D computer-aided design software, I utilize all of the design and engineering skills I learned at Brown. I provide support for companies that use our software to help them 3D model their products. Brown helped me find my passion and helped me create a career out of it.

Why Brown?

Brown was one of my top choices for college because of its great educational reputation and its approach to learning. Brown’s Open Curriculum allowed me to explore my different areas of interest. I could work towards my concentration while taking courses that either sounded interesting or gave me new insights about areas I was not familiar with. In addition, I was attracted to the supportive atmosphere. The courses really challenged me, but I could find support in my professors and in my classmates. I was encouraged to ask for help and to work with others.

“ Brown helped me find my passion and helped me create a career out of it. ”

How have you stayed connected to Brown after graduating?

I have stayed connected with professors and extracurricular programs at Brown. I will guest speak in classes or get involved with alumni talks. Once in a while, I will visit Brown to enjoy the area or for special events. In addition, I have connected with the Office of Alumni Relations and with the Brown Club of Boston to find different events and connect with other alumni. I have also played on a Brown alumni team in a slow-pitch softball league!

What can you tell us about the transition from undergraduate to post-graduate life?

I was able to ease into my work life because I took a bit of an unusual approach to post-graduate life. After undergrad, I decided to do a fifth-year Master of Science degree at Brown, which allowed me to figure out how I wanted to shape my career and to continue work on my startup, Koi prosthetics. The master's program gave me more independent time to focus on research and work on individual projects. In addition, I lived in Boston and would commute to Brown. As a result, the master's program felt more like a “job” and it helped me develop that mindset. When I started my job, I was able to directly translate my lifestyle to my post-graduate life.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a current Brown senior?

Make sure you have a balanced lifestyle! College gets you in the mindset to push through your school work and projects at all times of the day. You should give yourself time to step away from work. My job is not a traditional 9-5, so it was initially tough for me to step away from my daily work.

It’s good to give yourself time to get involved in the community or with outside clubs and activities. Also, find places where you can make friends, both at your job and in other activities that you do.

“ Make sure you have a balanced lifestyle! College gets you in the mindset to push through your school work and projects at all times of the day. You should give yourself time to step away from work. ”

Extra credit questions:

Achievements don’t happen in a vacuum. Who/what helped you get to where you are?

My family was my rock through my education. My parents were children of immigrants who grew up in a poor community. They were fortunate enough to take their family out of the situation and provide me with lots of opportunities. They inspired me while I was growing up, provided me with resources to explore my different interests and helped me develop skills that helped me with my educational career. I really cannot thank them enough!

What do you miss most about Brown?

I really miss having so many friends around me and having so many ways to connect with my classmates. I have so many memories, from building furniture in the BDW, to seeing Anderson Paak at Spring Weekend to late-night Spicy With’s at Jo’s, I really miss all of these cool (and sometimes crazy) activities I could share with some of my closest friends.

Are you coming back for Reunion Weekend, May 27-29? If so, what are you most looking forward to?

I am coming back for Campus Dance! Many of my friends from around the world are returning for the weekend, so I am looking forward to seeing them. I am also looking forward to being able to gather after a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, I can’t wait to get some Knead Donuts and Heng’s :)