Internships in the Summer Holidays: Why Not?

Several dual degree doctoral students involved in the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program, funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), are engaged in internships in companies like Google, Apple, Cisco Systems, Industrial Light and Magic, Bosh, among others. The opportunity arises from the two job fairs organized by Carnegie Mellon University in September, and continues during the academic year.

In Portugal it is not usual to do internships during a Ph.D., but in the U.S. it is very common. Job Fairs are organized by the university and the goal is to match the needs of companies with the research and studies of the students. In fact, this initiative is well accepted by the dual degree students. Typically, the summer internship is a full time position for the duration of the summer (three months), and the outcomes are beneficial for the growth of the students.

 Ricardo Silveira Cabral
Ricardo Cabral

 José Jerónimo Moreira Rodrigues
Jerónimo Rodrigues

At least four dual degree students in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), namely Ricardo Cabral (IST/UTL and CMU), Jerónimo Rodrigues (IST/UTL and CMU), Saurabh Shintre (FEUP and CMU) and Mate Boban (FEUP and CMU), are engaged in internships during the summer.

Ricardo Cabral is now a software engineering intern at Google, but last year he was a R&D intern at the Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), a division of Lucasfilm, Ltd. This division is responsible for creating technology solutions to support digital artists to create the next generation of special effects. At ILM, Ricardo Cabral had the opportunity to develop his research interests in Computer Vision, and to “compare the research done in the industry with academia, especially in this part of the entertainment industry.” 

 Saurabh Shintre
Saurabh Shintre

 Mate Boban
Mate Boban

Other example is José Jerónimo Rodrigues, who is now an intern at Google Inc, but last summer he was a research intern at the Qualcomm Innovative Center. At Google he is working on a project related to computer vision and machine learning. Also Saurabh Shintre is an intern at Cisco Systems in the areas of security and anonymity in wireless networks. Last summer, Mate Boban was an exploratory design intern at Apple Inc. During his internship he was able to design and implement experimentally validated indoor Wi-Fi optimization model, and to perform experiments with different products to validate and improve the model.

André Martins, doctorate in Language Technologies, spent last summer as an intern at Google Research. Martins worked at the “research group in natural language processing, and was able to developed algorithms for semi-supervised learning for syntactic processing of text on a large scale.” The idea was to “use the Google platform to improve the analysis of text using large amounts of information in the non-labeled web,” Martins said. This dual degree doctorate advocates that this possibility helps to match the research carried out in the academia with the companies needs. Therefore, he believes that this practice should be implemented in Portugal.

Andre Martins 

Brandon Mauch 

Brandon Mauch, doctoral student in Engineering and Public Policy at IST/UTL and CMU, spent last summer at Bosh. He worked “on energy management in commercial and residential buildings.” This company manufactures a wide range of appliances for homes and businesses. According to Mauch, Bosh research aims to “manage the energy used to reduce costs for their customers.” As a result, Mauch “worked with other interns to develop an algorithm to minimize energy costs in a building with various energy price scenarios and incentives,” adding that “I also researched demand side management potential for customers since Bosch is interested in making ‘smart’ appliances that can operate in demand side management programs easily.” Mauch has chosen Bosh because “I wanted to gain a better understanding of how an industry does research.”  

August 2012

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