Internships are great opportunities for students, and they represent an invaluable turning point in their academic lives and overtime. They have provided a wealth of advantages for the COSMOS research team. Internship experiences allow students to approach issues from different perspectives, challenging preconceived notions and encouraging creative thinking.

We are pleased to share the exciting news of cosmographers’ recent internships: several Cosmographers worked recently with renowned companies such as Amazon, Expedia, Intuit, Arkansas’s own Gainwell Technologies, and the Arkansas Department of Education.

Through such internships, our cosmographers have been energized by the addition of new concepts, which promotes a vibrant, cooperative environment that fosters breakthroughs. They have had the opportunity to network professionally, connect with business leaders, and establish valuable relationships. These relationships build a bridge between university and industry, providing opportunities for future partnerships and collaborations with the goals of a better understanding of real-world problem domains, of training an industry-relevant workforce, and of promoting a two-way knowledge sharing. 

Through these internship opportunities, cosmographers learn invaluable real-world problem solving skills and apply them to our projects when they return. We are incredibly proud of them and look forward to the outstanding contributions they will make as they pursue their academic goals with renewed vigor and enriched experiences. 

Stella Ola Mbila-uma describes how, through her internship at Intuit, she “learned teamwork, critical thinking, and communication skills.” She discusses how she gained valuable experience, saying, “I had the opportunity to gain practical experience in this field, working with industry experts and learning from them. This experience taught me how to work with different stakeholders and think innovatively.” She thanks COSMOS for preparing her for the industry, saying, “I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work with COSMOS before going on this internship, as it helped me to smoothly transition into the industry.”

Qudirat Akanji, in her own words says, “I was at Amazon this summer as a Business Intelligence Engineer intern at Bellevue, and it was a challenging yet fun experience.” She continued by reflecting on what tools she learned through the work, saying, “I learned a lot as I got to use tools like Python and SQL to query one of the largest databases in the world. I learnt more about data analytics tools and the AWS ecosystem. I also learned more about communicating my work effectively to both technical and non-technical audiences.” Beaming and brimming with enthusiasm, she says, “It was an amazing experience. I look forward to applying my learnings to my research work here at COSMOS.”

“My internship experience at Amazon was quite fulfilling,” Lotenna Nwana says, “It was very stimulating to be in such an environment where there was a demand for high quality work.” He clarifies, “The essence of Amazon’s principles was woven into my daily work, guiding me to produce results that aligned with their high standards. This experience has provided me with valuable insights, and I am excited to integrate these principles into my work at COSMOS.”

Mary Mezue tells about her work, saying,During my internship at Expedia as a Product Manager, I worked on an internal tool focusing on optimization of outbound communications through careful analysis and innovative thinking. Delving into vast datasets comprising millions of data points, I not only contributed to enhancing Expedia’s audience engagement but also honed skills crucial to my role as a graduate research assistant.” She talks about what she gained from this work, saying, “The experience has provided me with a deep understanding of how broad outbound communication is, and how much work is put into communicating with customers. I learned strategic planning, customer obsession, and utilizing data to improve the customer’s experience.” She finishes by explaining how this experience will feed into her COSMOS work, telling us, “These are qualities that I plan to seamlessly integrate into my current work. I am excited to leverage the lessons learned at Expedia to approach projects with a fresh perspective, fostering more dynamic and impactful collaborations within the COSMOS team. I am committed to channeling this newfound knowledge to elevate our team’s contributions.”

Sayantan Bhattacharya covers the extent of his internship work, saying, “My experience at Arkansas Department of Education was very educational and fulfilling. I got to work directly in the department lead by the Chief Information Officer. For the first few weeks, I was given an overview of the several education sectors of Arkansas State. I got to know the lead developers for several departments and work with them. While I was working there I contributed to the successful delivery of the migration project of ‘Office of Early Childhood’. I also developed a few modules for the ‘Learn’ initiative.” He emphasizes the value experience he gained, saying, “This internship gave me hands-on experience applying data science to improve education outcomes on a state-wide scale. I’m grateful for the opportunity to use my passion for data analytics to make a difference for Arkansas students. This experience solidified my interest in a career at the intersection of education and data science.”

Ishmam Solaiman tells us, “Working at Gainwell Technologies was a great learning experience.” He discusses his work in AI, saying, “I got to work on an AI voice assistant for patients that can automatically diagnose patient illnesses by talking to them and reroute them to appropriate professional care systems.” He finishes by emphasizing, “It was also amazing to see how large organizations collaborate.” 

These internships mark yet another set of milestones in our cosmographers’ careers. What they learned in their recent forays into the data-science industry continue to carry over into their current research in COSMOS. COSMOS continues to encourage its researchers to prepare for and connect to the industry outside of the university, and their internships showcase their continued talent and experience.