Laptop, EXP water bottle, pen, sticky notes, and carabiner

2020 Internship Experiences

Another summer internship season is in the books, and again I’m amazed at the talent we’ve been able to recruit. This summer, we hosted a group of five interns with an array of skills to match the needs of our projects as EXP grows. Their work spanned many areas including web design, Bayesian Pearl belief propagation, generative adversarial networks (GANs) for wireless data, self-supervised machine learning, and more. 

We ran the internship program similarly to last year but with accommodations for COVID-19. Yes, accounting for COVID-19 was a big change, but we did our best to give our remote interns as much of the EXP intern experience as possible—a work-in-progress as the entire company navigated how we translate our social and dynamic culture to a remote setting. How we’ve adapted to remote work is a big enough topic for a separate blog post, so I won’t go into further detail here. Since I described the basic structure and approach to our internship program last year, this blog post focuses instead on our interns’ experiences in their own words.

Laptop with EXP water bottle, pen, sticky notes, and carabiner
Our furthest interns received their company laptops and swag in the mail. Sadly, the laptops had to be returned at the end of the summer, but interns who return as full-time employees can be reunited.

Lidia worked closely with one of our senior engineers on implementing Bayesian belief propagation in Python and wrote, “My work was engaging and the support I got from my team made it so I never felt overwhelmed or lost.” She appreciated that “the work I contributed this summer was significant to my assigned project,” and summed up her internship as “a great way to get a hands-on experience with software development and machine learning.”  

Rajiv, who came to us from the University of Virginia, wrote, “During my time at Expedition Technology, there were many new technical skills to learn, from the details of object detection to basics of computer vision to the skills required to navigate creating and running docker containers on the cloud. However, every job will have an abundance of new technical skills to learn. What I found most valuable was the team experience; the real experience of working in an agile environment with team-oriented projects that required constant communication and input.” He felt that the best aspect of his internship was “the ability to work directly in a team without being reminded of my intern status except by myself.” 

Aimee was the most geographically distant intern, working from her family’s home in California. “As strange as it was to attend virtual meetings with people I had never met face-to-face, EXP made sure that I felt welcome and included throughout my internship. With the incredible support of my mentor and project team, I learned about neural networks and contrastive representation learning, and cultivated my ability to write clear and efficient code. I particularly enjoyed collaborating with such intelligent and insightful people, and I always felt that my contributions were valued.”

As pleased as we are with the positive comments, we collect feedback on potential areas for improvement as well. For example, the ad-hoc “intro to machine learning” session that my colleague Andrew put together was well-received but could be more helpful at the start of the summer. We’ve already started thinking about how we can make next year’s internships even better.