In May of 2020, our four summer interns braved the new world of remote internships. In years past, the Infotech Consulting interns have co-occupied the large southeast corner office on the third floor of our headquarters in Gainesville, Florida. Due to the coronavirus, our offices converted to a remote work situation. Knowing the immense mutual benefits of our intern program and the flexibility of remote work, all four interns chose to help us adapt our program to a remote experience.
After weeks of zoom calls, sifting through data, documents and SAS programming, our interns have reached the end of their time with the team. During their last week, we asked them to reflect on their experience and give us a peek into what is next in their lives and careers.
What was the most memorable aspect of your Infotech Consulting internship?
Alejandro Michel: Aside from all the fancy data management skills that I picked up from this internship, I really enjoyed the weekly lunch meetings between my intern cohorts and the two new full-time hires; it’s fascinating how they each have different skills and virtues that allow them to thrive at Infotech. One thing we do have in common is a competitive edge to score points when playing CodeNames, haha. I don’t know if I just got lucky to be part of this cohort, or if people are amazing everywhere, but I’m glad we’ve made the most out of our non-traditional intern experience.
Hallie Miller: I did not know much at all about litigation before I got here, so everything I learned about the litigation process was certainly memorable. However, I think the most memorable aspect would have to be the people. Even working in a remote environment because of the pandemic, I still got a taste of the wonderful community Infotech has. Everyone I worked with while I was here or had any sort of interaction with was great!
Hayden Hampton: My most memorable aspect of the internship was being able to work with the expert econometricians and statisticians. Over the summer, I read many of the reports written by experts and engaged with them on a regular basis. This internship provided me with the opportunity to see firsthand how much value an individual with a strong foundation in theoretical material can provide.
We had another Infotech Consulting first this year with Kevin Fernandez and the ITI Ventures program. Teaming up with a local Gainesville startup Evren Technologies, Infotech Consulting sponsored an intern that would collaborate with the Data Management team to take their product designed to aid people suffering with PTSD to the next level.
Kevin Fernandez: Working closely with the folks at Evren Technologies has definitely been the best part of my internship. I got the opportunity to engage in fascinating conversations about an interesting scientific subject, as well as learn about the kind of work that goes into making such a device, as their Phoenix prototype, possible.
What was the most unexpected part of your experience?
Alejandro Michel: I was pleasantly surprised that the consulting team uses SAS® Studio, as opposed to other SAS environments, for programming. This made it extremely easy for me to hit the road running with tasks, and focus more on coding, rather than spending time trying to adapt to a new environment. Aside from the technical side, I was also pleasantly surprised by how seamless of a transition it was to remote work. I think the stellar employees at Infotech are what create that vicarious camaraderie from home–it’s impossible to fail when you have such a supportive team by your side.
Hallie Miller: I wasn’t sure what to expect from case development work, so I’m not sure that I can say that any of the work was unexpected. One thing that did surprise me, however, was that my nitpickiness did not seem nitpicky to the case development team. I am a very detail-oriented person, and formatting of citations matters to me. In my first meeting of the whole internship with the case development team, they were talking about what they like and dislike in citation styles, and I was surprised that a whole group of people cared about them like I did. It turns out we are all detail-oriented in case development. Later in the summer, I noticed a discrepancy in how depositions were cited in the footnotes of a report. I was going to ask my team about it, but was also worried about sounding too finicky. Then, before I had the chance to ask about it, my supervisor mentioned seeing the same discrepancy. It conveyed to me that my very detail-oriented nature that I often worry could annoy others is actually shared by some people and can be valued.
Hayden Hampton: Surprisingly, soft skills and the ability to interact and effectively communicate turned out to be just as valuable as any technical skill I learned. The importance of this was underscored with the spread of COVID-19, and the only option was to work remotely.
Kevin Fernandez: The most unexpected part of my experience was definitely the particular domain to which I went on to apply the data analysis skills I cultivated in the classroom. While doing my undergrad, I would have never imagined being involved in a biomedical engineering setting doing data analytics to aid in designing a product that could help treat PTSD. I learned a lot about a subject that I never really knew existed prior to this internship, and I could not be more grateful to be involved.
Where are you headed after your internship?
Alejandro Michel: I will return for my final semester of graduate school at Florida State University (ending Dec. 2020), after which I plan to start working full time.
Hallie Miller: I’m heading into my senior year of college at Furman University! I will be graduating in May but do not yet know if I will be working after that or pursuing more education.
Hayden Hampton: I’m entering my second year as a PhD student in the Big Data Analytics Program at the University of Central Florida. At the end of August I’ll be teaching a class called Sample Survey Methods at UCF. I’m also in the process of submitting a proposal for a fellowship grant in the field of artificial intelligence with the National Science Foundation.
Kevin Fernandez: After my internship, I’m planning on attending Georgia Tech to pursue an MS in Analytics where I can further hone my data analysis skills to apply in all sorts of domains. This particular internship has made me aware of a fascinating niche that uses data analysis regularly and has convinced me to seek out other opportunities like this in the future, mainly because of the immense potential to help change people’s lives.
A very special thank you to Alejandro Michel, Hallie Miller, Hayden Hampton, and Kevin Fernandez for evolving the Infotech Consulting intern program. The curiosity and passion you add to our team is long-lasting. Good luck in your next chapter, and we hope to hear from you soon.