Name: Umme Tanjuma Haque
Class Year: 2021
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Internship Organization: LITS
Job Title: LITS intern
Location: Bryn Mawr College
What’s happening at your internship?
The LITS internship has two major projects this summer. I am part of the Fact Book project, which is essentially about digitizing Bryn Mawr’s fact books from 1983 to 2003. I am working with Jasmine Bao (another LITS intern) and Lindsey Palumbo (Associate Director of Institutional Research), with the guidance of Jennifer Spohrer. The project essentially started off with us (the interns) scanning the physical fact books into PDFs and running OCR in Adobe to recognize text. This was followed by us selecting data categories that interested us, so that we could collect data pertaining to that category in Excel; for example — race/ethnicity data over the years. The next step is to learn how to manipulate pivot tables for the data so that we can make graphs or analyze the data. Lindsey will be helping us with that!
Why did you apply for this internship?
Since I am an international student, I wanted to find something that interested me on-campus. The LITS internship was the right fit for applying because the interns have the chance initially to prefer certain areas of technology like web design, data analysis, coding, etc. According to that, the interns are placed into one of the many projects under LITS internship. It felt like the right place for me to work over the summer since I wanted to gain more knowledge about new technological tools, in general. Also, I know the staff from before and I really wanted to work with them!
What is most rewarding about your internship?
I have some deep interest in learning about institutions that have rich histories like Bryn Mawr and this internship gave me the right opportunity to do just that. With fact books ranging from 1983 to 2003, which have information about student enrollment, tuition, major information etc., one can really take a look at what Bryn Mawr was and has become over the years. Even the choice of fonts or the way they represent the data is very interesting because that changed over the years, which made us wonder why. All these things are beyond the more tangible technological skills since these hone one’s critical thinking skills.
Was this internship what you expected it to be?
For the LITS internship, you get assigned a project and that did not happen until we approached the starting date of the internship. I was expecting to be put into a coding heavy environment since I am a CS major, but having put into a project that looks into data and its analysis from scratch was an interesting change, of course, and a nice surprise too. Also, this project is heavily dependent on how we choose to lead it so it is quite amazing that we have a significant say in how the project will look at the end. I was not expecting the project to be something that surpassed this summer, but it is a long-term project. I had very low knowledge of handling data and this project has given me the chance to explore that at a pace I appreciate.