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As the College of Natural Sciences' Freshman Research Initiative celebrates its 10th anniversary, we speak to students and scientists about how doing research as freshmen and sophomores impacted them.

Opening Doors

In FRI's Autonomous Robots research stream, Patricio "Pato" Lankenau built a "telepresence" system that let users anywhere drive a robot around one of UT Austin's buildings and see what it sees. His experience as a freshman and sophomore helped him land internships at Google and Apple. He's graduating next month after only three years in college. In the fall, he'll go back to work for Apple full time on a distributed computing project. He says the FRI was the conversation-starter that got him an in with companies he might want to work for one day.