Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods. Jayashree is pursuing Computer Engineering and shares her wonderful experience of internship days.
It was the beginning of a new semester and I was busy presenting my research paper at a conference. My phone beeped and what awaited me was something I had not expected to happen! Yes! It was a mail from the Indo US Science and Technology Forum, congratulating me on my selection to the Viterbi India Program! I was on cloud nine! My ecstasy cannot be put in words ! What followed thereafter was nothing short of a fairy tale!
I am Jayashree Mohan, pursuing my final year undergraduate studies in Computer Engineering, at National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, Surathkal. In my third year summer break, I interned at the University of Southern California , Los Angeles through the prestigious Viterbi India Summer Research Program.
A little insight into the Viterbi India Program : This is a prestigious and highly competitive program which is envisaged to provide an opportunity to the best and brightest Indian students to gain exposure and access to world class research facilities in the Viterbi School of Engineering. We are given a handsome stipend to cater to all our needs during the 8 week stay in the US, in addition to the airfare. And, this internship is only open to prefinal year students of Electrical Engineering, Computer Sciences and Computational Sciences, and typically 20 students are selected every year.
Though my days before internship were spent in imagining how great an experience it is going to be, somewhere in the corner of my heart, I was very skeptical about how I would manage in a new country, for it was my first visit out of India. As the day of my flight drew in closer, my apprehensions started growing higher, with everyone around advising on how I should take care of myself in the fairyland! The sprawling city of Los Angeles, welcomed us with open arms, and we felt at ease from the moment we landed. The people, the place, the roads, the night life, and the endless list of tours we had been to, everything was simply mesmerizing!
Coming to the kind of research I was into, I worked in the Autonomous Networks Research Group, under the guidance of Professor Bhaskar Krishnamachari, in the area of wireless sensor networks. Be it the professor or the other PhDs in the lab, everyone was so kind and helpful and made me feel at home. I was taken aback when my lab mates introduced me to the kind of research they were doing and I was deeply motivated to work hard to make the best use of such a wonderful opportunity.
A summer barbecue was also arranged for all the interns, wherein we got to interact with many of the undergraduates from various colleges in the US, who had been there for their internship. Work hard, party harder they say! Yes that is absolutely right. There was no limit to the fun we had in LA. We did not leave any place unexplored in LA. Our trips to Vegas, San Francisco, getting lost on abandoned streets in the middle of the night, Google maps coming to our rescue, those nights when we insanely cooked for hours, the crazy hike to the Hollywood sign only to walk 5 miles up to the Griffith Observatory in the hope of finding some water, the mind blowing rides in the Six Flags, the birthday celebrations, the fervent and insane chocolate shopping, the little fights and misunderstandings we had, the kind of bond we developed, will remain fresh in my memory and will be cherished for the rest of my life!
We became more than a family in such a short span. I know how sentimental all of us would feel when we read this, recapitulating those times. After all, a good friendship is the most valued relationship in life! The internship has been extremely rewarding in academic terms, for I got to know a lot of new technologies and active ongoing research work in the area of my interest. The internship has definitely strengthened and boosted my desire to dedicate myself to research. In short, the 20 students from India (quite strangers we were) turned into best friends for life, dedicated time and energy working hard, not to impress others but because we actually fell in love with the kind of work we did, took time out of the routine work, to hang out during the weekends, and at the end of two months little did we want to leave the place and the people. What an experience for life it was!
If Jayashree’s experience motivates you, you can check the latest international internships.
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