Meet #CrusaderIntern Daniel Mendez ’20, Programmer Analyst Intern at American Mathematical Society

1. Tell us about where you interned over the summer and the kind of work you are doing.

I interned in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the main goal for my internship was to create a new help system for MathSciNet, which is a website used by American Mathematical Society (AMS). This involved working on backend (SQL, Scala) and frontend (Javascript – Vue.js framework, Html, CSS) aspects of full stack development. I created mock ups of help pages for testing queries/output in which databases such as PostgreSQL and Elasticsearch were needed to store/update/delete data. This was a test driven development environment where I would write code for some modules and write code that would test those modules. Lastly, I used tools such as Git for source code control.

2. Give us an example of how you have applied your academic learnings to your internship?

There were some cs courses that helped me out more than others for this internship. For example, I had to work with such a large amount of data, so using the appropriate data structures to store and access that data was important for memory and time considerations. Therefore, my Data Structures course(csci132) was definitely helpful with this. Furthermore, there are many styles in which to program which are called paradigms. I learned about the majority of these paradigms in my Programming Languages Design and Implementation course(csci324). This course was also helpful when I had to program in Scala for my internship because the internship required me to use different paradigms such as Functional Programming and Object Oriented Programming. Lastly, generally speaking my academic learnings have sharpened my critical thinking skills and have helped me easily work with people from different backgrounds. Therefore, being able to make my own judgments on an issue and articulate my solution to a co-worker is as important as being able to take constructed criticism from that same co-worker.

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?

I have had internships in the past, but they were mainly composed of running errands for the actual employees. Your typical coffee runs and printing out copies, etc. However, for this internship at AMS, I felt more like an actual employee. From the first day I was given a large project to work on and the expectation to learn a plethora of tools and technologies that I had never heard about. This responsibility gave me some pressure, but it also made me grateful and privileged for the position I was in.

4. How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans / goals?

Part of my future career plan is to attain a job where I don’t have to push myself to go, rather the job excites me enough to pull me into work everyday. I can definitely say I had this feeling sometimes when I worked at AMS. Therefore, working as a software developer is an option I am heavily considering. Furthermore, I plan on obtaining a masters degree after working for a few years, so the area of focus for this may very well be computer science. If not then I may do a crossover between both of my majors in computer science and physics such as Electronics.

5. Any internship advice to pass on to other Holy Cross students?

Be open minded because although you may not obtain the exact internship you wanted, it may turn out to be something you enjoy. Even if it’s not then you still have that connection with the company and its employees which may be helpful a few years down the road. Also, if you don’t hear back from several internships you applied for, don’t give up. It’s their loss not yours. Keeping a positive attitude while you’re applying to internships and going through interviews is very important.