Umme Tanjuma Haque ’21: LITS, Bryn Mawr College

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.

Tessa Pham ’20: Cogo Labs

Name: Tessa Pham
Class Year: 2020
Major: Computer Science, Linguistics
Hometown: Hanoi, Vietnam

Internship Organization: Cogo Labs
Job Title: Software Engineering Intern
Location: Cambridge, Mass.

What’s happening at your internship?

I am wrapping up my remaining projects as we move into the last week of the internship. My work mainly includes maintaining, upgrading, and developing new features for internal tools that the platform team supports. Our company also hosted a hackathon exclusively for all the interns last week, and I, with two other teammates, worked on an app that reports on query traffic, which can be useful for data analysts. This product is in fact among the ones I hope to finish up and officially roll out before leaving.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I was fascinated by the model of the company and it seemed to be a great environment for working, learning, and connecting with like-minded people.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

The intern hackathon. It was a very short hackathon, lasting only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but we all got to collaborate with interns on other teams to work on ideas that would be beneficial to the company.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?

Being the only female engineer on the team. It was a bit difficult for me at first to find common ground to connect with other team members. It really helped that everyone was super welcoming, approachable, and willing to help.

Vinty (Liwen) Guo ’20: LITS at Bryn Mawr College

Name: Vinty (Liwen) Guo
Class Year: 2020
Major: Computer Science and Math
Hometown: Guangzhou, China

Internship Organization: LITS at BMC
Job Title: Digital Technology Intern
Location: Canaday Library

What’s happening at your internship?

My internship job involves an indigenous language revitalization project and my part of the job is to help customize the views of its language learning Drupal website, debug the PHP codes used in the website, and analyze the language text data in R in order to visualize the patterns/trends of the data. So, basically, I’m on the technical support side to move this project forward. And obviously, most of my work is done on a computer.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I heard about this internship from an upperclass student who was in the same position as I am right now in the previous year and I got curious. Therefore, I collected some information about the LITS internship program and realized that LITS interns usually receive tasks from alumni, faculty, and staff members within the Tri-Co. And, they often engage in clients’ projects, helping their “clients” move the project forward by applying what they have learned at school to the workplace. I was intrigued by the idea of a group of people helping the clients in need with the projects that they value and have put so much effort in.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has always been the interaction with my colleagues, clients, advisors and my supervisors who have been kindly trying their best to help me. For the project that we interns have been working on, communication involving scholars and technicians across the country plays an important role throughout the entire process. We have weekly check-in meetings, teleconference with our technician based in California and client based in New York City, and have taken several trips to Swarthmore College to meet with a linguistics professor for his expertise in analyzing language. This diverse working environment has been motivating and keeping me excited about my work.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding part about my internship is that my client, a linguistics scholar, is satisfied with and excited about the result of our work. This gives me the feeling that what we have done and what we are doing right now is important and meaningful to some people, and they will use the tool that we engaged in building for educational purposes. When our client said that he had been waiting for this moment for almost 20 years, it feels extremely rewarding.

Lipi Paladugu ’21: Smashing Graphics Game Studios

Name: Lipi Paladugu
Class Year: 2021
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Edison, N.J.

Internship Organization: Smashing Graphics Game Studios
Job Title: VR/Game Programming Intern
Location: East Brunswick, N.J.

Hey Bryn Mawr! This summer I’ve had the opportunity to work at Smashing Graphics Game Studios in East Brunswick, N.J., as a VR/Game Programming intern.

SGGS is a small company that builds video games and creates comics books. My role in the company was not completely decided before I started. Instead, I got to build my own internship by working closely with my boss. In the end, we decided to use my strengths and interests to initiate a new project that would further the company and my own skills. The core of my project includes creating an interactive app that customers can use to read the company’s comic books. I’ve been able to use coding skills I’ve learned in Bryn Mawr and have gotten a chance to experience the gaming industry.

One of the main reasons I chose this internship was because I wanted a chance to enter the game development field. When I applied, I wasn’t sure how it would work out since I didn’t have prior gaming experience, but I decided there was no harm in trying, and it paid off.

My favorite part of this internship is the fact that I get to work so closely with my boss, who is also the CEO. One of the advantages I’ve had working in this environment is that I always get attention and guidance when I need it. I’ve had a lot of flexibility with developing my internship into the best experience it can be for me. This also allows me to build my network for future internship opportunities because I know that I can always turn to someone with more experience to help me, even with other jobs. The work I do makes me feel rewarded because I know that what I create will be used directly by the company and customers even after I’m gone. In the classroom, I don’t usually get to dedicate time to such large-scale projects, but working toward one goal and on one project has given me invaluable real life and real work experience. I look forward to taking what I learned in this internship back to the classroom!

Julia Weakley ’21: The Franklin Institute

Name: Julia Weakley
Class Year: 2021
Major: Computer Science and Mathematics
Hometown: Rye, N.Y.

Internship Organization: The Franklin Institute
Job Title: Professional Development Intern
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

The Franklin Institute is a science museum in Philadelphia. At The Franklin Institute, I worked with the Professional Development team; they run professional development sessions for educators, administrators, and corporate groups to help advance their learning experiences in the sciences. I had the opportunity to sit in on a few of their programs, such as Master Educator and Understanding the Brain, and found them very interesting. Both programs focused on the brain and how we learn. The information presented made me think about the difference between how information was presented to me in elementary and highs school versus how it is presented to me now in college.
As an intern, I helped the Professional Development team in the organization and management of GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) Science in the Summer™ programming, Professional Development events, and Master Educator programming. I learned many skills involving the organization and management of data through the registration system for GSK Science in the Summer™.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied to work at The Franklin Institute because I was interested in working at an institution that promotes STEM learning. As a STEM major, I appreciated The Franklin Institution for promoting science learning through interactive exhibits. I had visited the museum before my internship and loved the experience. When I saw the internship posting I felt I had to apply and be a part of such an institution. I am really happy that I had the opportunity to work at the Institute; I loved the experience.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of the internship was sitting in on the Understanding the Brain professional development session. In this session, there was a lot of information presented on the brain and how the brain learns. You learn best when a majority of the different parts of the brain are activated. It is a myth that you use only part of the brain. The truth is you use all parts, just not all at once. The session made me think about how I am learning, how I could incorporate my new knowledge about how the brain works into my study practices, and how I can engage all parts of the brain when I learn.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding aspect of my internship was watching the program run, and watching the responses the team got from the audience and participants. One of my jobs was to collect data from the evaluations that participants filled out at the end of each session. I enjoyed reading comments about how the information they learned was beneficial, and that the presenter did a really good job, since I know the amount of work that went into preparing for each program.

Zainab Batool ’21: Software Engineer Intern, Fidelity Investments

Name: Zainab Batool
Class Year: 2021
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan

Internship Organization: Fidelity Investments
Job Title: Software Engineer Intern
Location: Merrimack, N.H.

What’s happening at your internship?

At my internship at Fidelity Investments I am working as an Android Platform developer on the mobile team. One of the most interesting aspects of my internship is that I get to not only experience the technical part of a software engineer’s job but also see the other aspects involved in building an application, such as design and research! Since I am working in a financial company it is also interesting to observe the more “fintech” aspects that one would not typically see in a purely tech company.

The cool thing about Fidelity is that I am not limited to the team and group I am working with, but everyone is more than willing to have me observe the workings of multiple different teams. I have been able to observe the various roles one can take on as a software engineer or technology graduate such as mobile or web developer, test engineer or site reliability engineer, among others.

When I initially applied for this internship I wanted to explore the different directions that I could take for the rest of college and then post-graduation. As a potential double physics and computer science major, I had researched for physics last year but wasn’t completely sure if research was something I wanted to do as a career choice and wanted to explore more options. Coding and front-end development where you can see instant results of your efforts is something that gives me that “instant gratification,” fix and luckily I landed a spot as a mobile developer intern. Fidelity developers are primarily web developers so I ended up being extremely lucky to get this role.

Not just the work but my team and group have really welcoming work cultures to encourage a relaxed and collaborative work environment and are leaders within Fidelity in that sense, which has also been really fortunate for me to experience such freedom and support!

Last but not the least, I can say without any hesitation that the other interns at Fidelity that I have befriended this summer are a huge part of the success of this summer. From thinking that living in small ol’ Merrimack would be dull and slow to karaoke-ing, going to NYC or Boston, escape rooms and what not every weekend — who would have thought?! As there is just one week left for my internship to end I am genuinely sad to be leaving “Brian and the boys” who have been such great buddies these three months. I’ll miss them and Fidelity!

Mahika Vajpeyi ’21: Grail Insights

Name: Mahika Vajpeyi
Class Year: 2021
Major: Economics and Computer Science
Hometown: Ghaziabad, India

Internship Organization: Grail Insights
Job Title: Research intern
Location: Noida, India

Another school year was nearing its close and not having a summer internship offer by the end of March was disheartening. Dejected and desperate, I stumbled upon Grail Insights, a New-York based market research and strategic consulting firm. Research into the firm’s operations and its clients convinced me it was just the opportunity I sought. Learning data manipulation while helping Unilever improve its retail activation strategy? Taking a deep dive into statistical methods while advising Nike on where to set up its next store in Europe? Wow! Sounded like a dream job for an economics major where I could put my regression models to use and contribute to making a big impact on a big brand.

Extremely excited by this thought, I contacted the recruiting team at Grail’s Noida office in India, my home country. Following several rounds of interviews, I was extended an offer letter and just could not wait to launch into action at Grail.

I learned I had been assigned an internal project with the Allocations team, which is responsible for staffing employees on market research projects. My role required me to study the budgeted hours (effort estimates sold to clients) and actual staffing data with the aim of:

  • Formulating staffing-related business questions to improve employee efficiency and lower cost.
  • Analyzing budgeted and actual time spent by each associate on every project since 2015 to answer the questions formulated and determine data trends/discrepancies.
  • Presenting findings through a report or dashboard prepared using Power BI, a business analytics tool.

I gradually came to realize the importance of the task at hand. I viewed it as an opportunity to discover new insights that could drastically improve performance on all future projects.

Besides analyzing complex data sets using Power BI, I am getting a chance to improve my reasoning skills by writing code in a programming language built into the tool. Moreover, formulating staffing questions is improving my business intuition by forcing me to focus on issues most critical to the firm’s internal operations. This assignment, thus, lies at the intersection of both my majors — economics and computer science which I hadn’t foreseen. I am also looking forward to begin work on my second project in data science and analytics (which would more directly link the two disciplines) next week.

In addition to my daily tasks, I greatly enjoy a fellow intern’s company and have made good friends with several full-time employees. In fact, one of them has even included me on his team in an office-wide cricket World Cup win predicting competition! These connections I am building are undoubtedly the best part of the internship and make me want to go to office each day. I feel lucky to have received summer funding else I would have missed out on this rewarding experience at Grail.

Laya Paladugu ’21: Software Development Intern, Putnam Investments

Name: Laya Paladugu
Class Year: 2021
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Edison, N.J.

Internship Organization: Putnam Investments
Job Title: Software Development Intern
Location: Boston


What’s happening at your internship?

As a software development intern in a finance company, I work on creating platforms that help analysts work more efficiently. I work with the Global Asset Acquisition/Investments team to develop a website using Angular and Python that displays all their data in an accessible format. So far, I have made several UI changes across the platform that will help users have a better experience when using the platform. My seven tech co-interns and I have also gone through many learning sessions to understand the financial aspect of the company as well. This has helped us get a better understanding of what role our work in playing in the bigger picture.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I wanted to use the knowledge I gained in a classroom setting in a real work environment. This opportunity is a great way for me to grow my skillset and learn how to work in a professional company. I wanted to be a part of something that would challenge me and help me grow as a developer and student. I was also interested in exploring the intersection between Computer Science and Finance.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has been all the people I have met because of it. Although we are interns, we have opportunities to meet many significant people in the company who have shared their stories with us and always offer to give us help and advice. I also work with seven other interns who are all intelligent and friendly. From helping each other code to lunches by the harbor, everyone is very supportive of each other. It is really nice getting to know a diverse group of people who all ended up in the same position. Learning from people who bring different experiences is very beneficial and fun because we get to share our knowledge and help each other grow.

Living in a new city? What has that experience been like for you?

This is my first time living in Boston and it has been an amazing experience. I have met so many great people who make me feel comfortable and at home. I have a lot of fun on the weekends exploring the museums, parks and many other tourist attractions in Boston. My favorite part is all the delicious food I get to enjoy. There is always something to do so I never get bored. Living by myself, I also have learned a lot of practical life skills that I can carry with me wherever I go. I am grateful for this opportunity because I got to experience many firsts this summer.


Riya Philip ’20: ‘Missing Microbes’

Name: Riya Philip
Class Year: 2020
Major: Environmental Studies (Computer Science minor)
Hometown: Mumbai, India

Internship Organization: Missing Microbes (film), Sarah Schenck
Job Title: Post-Production Intern
Location: New York City

Riya Philip

What’s happening at your internship?

Working in New York City this summer on an upcoming film which talks about consequential public health concerns has been extremely rewarding both professionally and emotionally. During these two months, I have been given opportunities to experience the electrifying energy of the city, work with extremely talented filmmakers, and expose myself to an artistic world very different from my own. Sarah Schenck ’87 employed me as her intern to work on producing parts of the film. The documentary, titled Missing Microbes, which is co-produced by Sarah and Steve Lawrence, highlights the injurious influence of antibiotic resistance and C-sections, which are destroying our microbiome and engineering it in negative ways. The feature film also studies how a personalized nutrition program based on microbe analysis can treat diabetes. My role in this internship has been diverse — learning professional editing tools, creating and editing machine-generated transcripts for the interviews from original footage, writing and uploading blog posts, managing and organizing all the data and media associated with the film, coordinating meetings with potential motion graphics companies, and participating in shoots were some of the responsibilities I enjoyed taking on. However, since this is a public health film, the content strictly revolved around medical topics, which allowed me to engage in learning about medical procedures, technologies, new discoveries and the scope of the research conducted by the doctors in this film.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I recently picked up another major last spring, Environmental Studies, due to my passionate interest in the subject, and decided that the next internship I would take on would be related to an environmental issue. I was determined to work on something exciting and relevant to my field of study, yet also beyond the traditional scope of academic subject matter — I was looking for an opportunity that would satisfy both my passion for the content I was learning, and enrich my living experience by exposing me to a completely different facet of life. After browsing through job postings, I came across an opportunity which tied together critical, contemporary foci in public health … in a film. Based on interviews with renowned names in the medical world, and with a prime focus on Dr. Martin Blaser, the author of Missing Microbes and professor of microbiology at NYU, my interest was piqued. The opportunity dealt with crises in health, in particular the overuse of antibiotics in countries like China and India causing antibiotic resistance, the risks associated with cesarean sections, and Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) treatments as a means to alleviate the symptoms of obesity and autism, among others. The documentary’s central message revolves around the evolving human microbiome, and its significance in treatments for diseases, medical procedures and global health concerns.

Another reason I applied for this internship was because of my background. As an international student from Mumbai with a strict focus in STEM subjects, being able to work on a film was something I didn’t know if I could ever do again in my professional career. I also viewed this summer as an opportunity to build connections with people, experience NYC and explore the scope of my own talents, in skills previously foreign to my knowledge.

Living in a new city? What has that experience been like for you?

In one word? Thrilling. As someone from Mumbai, the Indian equivalent of NYC, Manhattan felt like home since I arrived. I am lucky to have family that lives in the city, which gave me a sense of comfort and security. However, even though my primary work location was in Brooklyn, I decided to live in the cultural hub of historical significance, entertainment, art and soul food — Harlem. I was lucky enough to find a gorgeous apartment right above Central Park, with roommates that I have now formed strong friendships with.

The daily commute across the city to work was an hour long each way, yet the experience taught me to become a master subway navigator — a skill you can only learn through practice! I also learned to scout the best locations for authentic food, visited NYC landmarks, went on tours, met people from a plethora of ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds, and most importantly, taught myself to become more trusting and open.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

In a nutshell, I have been fortunate enough to grasp several skills — both professional and global in the scope of their applications. Learning to work with a schedule that changes on an almost-daily basis, networking and forming connections with the people producing the film, learning first-hand about the research behind the technologies employed in treatments from the doctors, and most importantly being able to comprehensively synthesize these experiences into something concrete has been advantageous to both my personal and academic outlook on the subjects I study. A special part was the degree of responsibility I was offered within the internship and the trust that followed. I was never treated as just an intern but was instead treated as family and was able to flourish as such. I was given contact with esteemed figures in various industries including public health and film, which has nourished my curiosity even further in these areas. I am also excited to start my independent film project, which will focus on a specific topic in environmental sustainability, as an extension of this internship into the next academic year.

Ricki Su ’20: Bank of America

Name: Ricki Su
Class Year: 2020
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Beijing

Internship Organization: Bank of America
Job Title: Software Engineering Intern
Location: Pennington, N.J.

What’s happening at your internship?

I’m part of a technology team that aims to build an NLP (natural language processing) platform for data scientists at the bank. Currently, I am at the base team that develops utilities for other development teams of the project. I am also looking at an internship-long task that implements parallel processing for the project.

Why did you apply for this internship?

As a CS major, I always want to apply my skills and knowledge learned at Bryn Mawr to build something useful, for individuals, or for corporations. I believe this kind of experience at an international company will broaden my vision and take my understanding of software engineering to another level.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

A big shout-out to Grace Hopper Conference, an event that happens yearly, and attracts thousands of people who support women in technology to attend. I went last year and participated in the huge career fair that they organized. I was offered the opportunity to have onsite interview with engineers, and I got my offer a few weeks after the conference. It was an amazing experience to feel the vibe, to feel supported, and to support other women in tech.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

Being just two weeks into this internship, I love how demographically diverse and interesting the interns are at my team. Female have always been underrepresented at tech roles, and I am excited to see that including me, four out of six interns are female.

I can see the bank’s effort towards diversity and inclusion. Besides, everyone is funny and pleasant to work with, which makes me feel really lucky about being placed into this team.

Bank of America Pennington campus.