Industry: Computer Science/Technology
Type of Internship: Data Analysis/Reporting
Student Name: Ashley Wicks
Graduation Year: 2020
Major: Computer Science
Minor: None; Mathematics
Position Title: Summer Research Intern
Paid or Unpaid: Paid, full-time

What do you do as an intern at this organization?

I work with air traffic surveillance data. I spent the first few weeks collecting and plotting the data in Matlab to identify potential problems. Then, I spent several weeks writing code to clean the data (i.e. remove outliers, interpolate), also in Matlab. I run my code in parallel on the Lincoln Laboratory Supercomputing Center (LLSC), informally known as "the Grid." I am also helping to draft a report of my work, which will eventually be submitted as a conference paper, and I am preparing a final presentation summarizing my work.

How did you find this internship?

My grandfather works at Lincoln Lab as a chemist and encouraged me to apply.

What do you enjoy most about your internship?

Lincoln Lab offers several seminars or talks every week on developing technologies in science and engineering that interns are encouraged to attend. The Lab also offers educational courses; for example, I attended a one-day machine learning workshop where I got an introduction to neural networks. I also enjoy the people and community at the Lab; everyone is eager to help and learn from each other.

What do you find challenging?

I have learned a lot this summer, from parallel processing to technical writing. Much of the work I've been doing has been new to me, so I have had to look up questions on my own and figure out the answers (such as finding a Matlab function for a certain computation or task). However, this is a valuable skill that I am glad to have practiced this summer.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?

I do not think there is a hard deadline to apply to the summer research program at Lincoln Lab, though I applied shortly after winter break. and I am sure that the earlier you apply, the better. There are several research positions available at the Lab, so I would suggest applying to many. I applied to 15-20 positions at the Lab and heard back from 2. If you do hear back, promptly respond to requests for interviews, and be prepared to articulate which kind of experience you are seeking and why.

About the Organization

MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Lexington, Massachusetts

MIT Lincoln Laboratory researches and develops a broad array of advanced technologies to meet critical national security needs. What sets us apart from many national R&D laboratories is our focus on building operational prototypes of the unique systems we design.