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.

Meet Alumna Michelle Schefter ’16, MBA Candidate at Yale School of Management

Meet Alumna Michelle Schefter ’16, MBA Candidate at Yale School of Management

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was a chemistry lab teaching assistant, as well as a student researcher in Professor Petty’s lab. I studied abroad at Trinity College Dublin for my junior year, where I participated in various activities. Upon my return, I avidly encouraged students, particularly in STEM, to consider studying abroad too. I was also a member of the club soccer team.


What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

 I was a chemistry major, and I had a hard time deciding what to do with it. I liked the idea of many different career options, particularly in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, but I did not feel ready to commit to medical school or a PhD program. Overall, my degree in chemistry made me eligible for entry-level jobs in both of these fields, and it also showed employers that I was competent in problem solving and other quantitative skills that are important in any industry.

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

A summer internship at a small biotechnology company opened my eyes to an industry that I had not known much about at the time. I later searched for full time positions at similar biotech and pharmaceutical companies until I eventually stumbled upon AstraZeneca’s program. It stood out for several reasons: I would get broad exposure to an industry I did not have much experience in, I would have an impact on active drug projects, and I would have the opportunity to participate in a professional development program. In other words, I saw an opportunity to learn a lot, expand my resume, and grow professionally.

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

While it is important to be a diligent scientist while working at a pharmaceutical company, it is just as important to have good ‘soft skills.’ Whether it was assigning group presentations for a class or sending students to the ACS conference in San Diego, Holy Cross provided several opportunities to develop presentation and interpersonal skills and ensured that I was not only a scientist, but also a well-rounded individual upon graduation. At work, I often use these same skills to present ideas to my colleagues and network with the wider scientific community, all of which contributes to being successful in my position.

Biotech, Healthcare & Science Forum

Brandeis University’s 3rd Annual
Biotech, Healthcare & Science Forum
Discover without Borders

Sponsored by the Hiatt Career Center

Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. – Formal program, Sherman Hall, Hassenfeld

To attend: Please log in to Crusader Connections and RSVP via the Infosessions/Workshops tab before 1:00 pm EDT on Friday, October 14.  Please note, Holy Cross is NOT providing transportation to Brandeis and employers will be anticipating you should you RSVP.

Explore careers in science and health-related organizations through direct exposure and discussions with current professionals in related fields. Sponsored by the Hiatt Career Center, the Biotech, Healthcare & Science Forum will feature an expert panel presentation followed by round table networking sessions for students, alumni, and employer guests. This year’s theme – Discovery Without Borders – builds upon last year’s focus on translational research. The panelists will speak to the notion of removing boundaries across disciplines of science (i.e., biology, chemistry, business, etc.) to fuel discovery as well as international boundaries to move closer to a holistic scientific community.


  • Glen Cowley ’85, Ph.D., Scientist, The Broad Institute
  • Robert Sackstein, M.D., Ph.D., P ’14, Associate Scientific Director, Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Brigham & Women’s Hospital; Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
  • Amber Toll, Director and Senior Human Resources Business Partner, Shire Pharmaceuticals

Panel Moderator: Steve A. N. Goldstein ’78, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.P., Provost, Brandeis University

Full List of Employers

We look forward to seeing you on Oct. 18, dressed to impress.