The People Behind the People Science: Intern Edition

September 19, 2017 Nollie B.

Summer in Chicago means warm weather, food trucks, patio season, and a festival for every occasion. At Civis, summer means welcoming a handful of talented students from across the country. Over the course of 10 weeks, Civis’ summer interns work closely with a mentor in various departments, like Applied Data Science, Research and Development, Product, and Engineering. While here, they gain valuable work experience, get hands on research experience, work on cross functional teams, and maybe even have a little fun exploring Chicago.

I could go on and on about how our internship program is the best, but I wanted to give some of our interns a chance to talk about it directly:

Grant Belsterling
Pomona College, Bachelors in Mathematics with a Minor in Computer Science
Applied Data Science Intern

My summer experience at Civis surpassed all of my expectations. Of course, I learned a lot of useful skills, technologies, and techniques used in the field of data science, but what really stands out to me as I reflect on my summer is how much fun I had during the process of gaining those professional skills. Civis is full of bright people, but they’re also incredibly pleasant to be around. I got a chance to see a lot of Chicago with my Civis colleagues, and created friendships, not just LinkedIn connections, during my ten weeks here. My summer experience was incredibly meaningful and enriching, and I’m thankful for Civis’ role in shaping it.

Hannah Worrall
University of Chicago, Masters in Statistics
Data Science Research and Development Intern

At Civis my main project was researching and developing software to implement a method to deal with ecological inference problems. I also helped out on an ADS engagement and worked on extending an existing codebase at Civis regarding heterogeneous treatment effect estimation.

I learned a lot, especially regarding software engineering best practices. I learned more about using github and tests to make code readable, robust and extendable. I also learned more about object-oriented programming and the sklearn stack in python.

Beyond software engineering, I learned a lot about Bayesian statistics and data consulting. It was really great to hear about how different companies in different industries use data to solve their business problems.

Overall, I had a really great summer internship. The full-time Civis employees were all really helpful, and it was great getting a chance to work with and learn from so many smart people.

Jackie Tapia
University of Illinois at Chicago, Bachelors in Computer Science
Software Engineer Intern

From the moment I discovered Civis at the Grace Hopper Conference, I was immediately intrigued by the remarkable work. The opportunity to work with the company this summer reassured me of this fact. Through my contributions to a purposeful project, I learned many new things such as agile development, new web frameworks, writing production ready code, and working effectively on a cross-functional team. Programming wasn’t the only thing I did this summer. Through social events and coffee breaks, I got to meet some of the most interesting people ever. One of my favorite things about Civis is the culture. It is a thriving environment where you get to learn something new every day. All in all, I had a wonderful experience and left with a new set of skills and a new set of friends.

Jen Ren
Stanford University, Bachelors in Human Biology and Computer Science
Product Management Intern

A PM’s role is never one task — the very nature of product management necessitates a smorgasbord of responsibilities. For me, that translated into supporting efforts around launching a few Jupyter Notebooks in Platform features: I facilitated ongoing work to make Python 2 and R kernels available and kicked off efforts to make Git integration for Notebooks possible. And while the most fun part of PMing is to ship features, I also rolled out some automated reporting capabilities (so we can track performance metrics on these Notebooks — what can I say? We work at a data analytics startup) and did competitor research.

Coming into the summer, I found myself daunted by the laundry list of things that needed to be done: I didn’t know what Jupyter Notebooks were or how to write SQL or R, and managing the uncertainty around launching so many features felt tricky. But, the culture at Civis is very supportive and focused on learning; if you don’t know something, don’t be shy! I learned very quickly because of the willingness of fellow Civvies to teach.

And for all the talk in the industry around using data science and technology for social good — that’s really happening at Civis. Some of the most thrilling moments were when I got to peek into the cutting-edge work people at Civis are doing including advancing renewable energy usage and assisting nonprofits and governmental agencies alleviate poverty. There exists an ethos that we are all working towards the same good, and it breeds a culture of honest intention rare among companies.

Tom Davidson
Cornell University, PhD in Sociology
Data Science Research and Development Intern

I spent my summer interning in the Data Science Research & Development department. I worked on a social listening project, helping to develop a tool that can be used to track trending topics on social media and understand the people sharing them. As a graduate student, it was great to get hands-on experience with software engineering and learning how write code for production, a skill that is difficult to pick up in academia. I was also given a lot of freedom to explore a difficult research question and enjoyed working as part of a team to come up with a solution, executing it, and working with other colleagues across Civis to present it to our client. Overall the internship was a great way for me to learn what it means to work as a data scientist, and has provided me with many useful skills that I can take back and apply to my work in graduate school and beyond.

We’re sad to see these 12 excellent interns go, but we’re excited to welcome a new group of students next summer! We’re currently in the midst of university recruitment and are visiting campuses on each coast, stopping at schools such as Michigan, Harvey Mudd, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, University of Chicago, and Northwestern. Does this sound like something you’d be interested in? Check us out on campus or apply directly online!

The post The People Behind the People Science: Intern Edition appeared first on Civis Analytics.

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