2020 Summer Internship Reports: Matthew Casertano
Each year, our Workforce Development team offers summer internships for students interested in developing their gateway development skills. Participants are placed at one of several SGCI partner sites. We will be sharing some of our 2020 student interns' experiences in a series of blog posts entitled SGCI Summer Internship Reports.
Featured below is SGCI summer intern Matthew Casertano, a rising junior from Montgomery Blair High School.
"I am a big fan of the concept of a science gateway because it allows programmers and scientists to collaborate efficiently. Each person can contribute according to their strengths and weaknesses, almost like an assembly line."
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am from Rockville, Maryland, and am currently a rising junior in the Montgomery Blair High School STEM Magnet program. As such, my education focuses largely on STEM, although by state/national requirements for high school graduation, I am studying English, History, etc. as well. My interests are primarily in mathematics, computer science, and finance, but when I am not exploring one of these fields, I enjoy playing tennis, biking, and photography. I also avidly volunteer in my community, most recently having started an organization called "Teens Helping Seniors" during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this, I have mobilized over 650 volunteers to provide nearly 2000 contactless deliveries of groceries, medication, and other necessities to senior citizens across the U.S. and Canada. The last major endeavor I am involved in is an investment banking internship under Mr. Joseph Miro, a Senior Financial Advisor at Wells Fargo. In this internship, I have been researching and analyzing stocks and ETFs to recommend investments and form portfolios for nearly two years.
Where did your Internship take place, and who did you work for?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my internship was completely remote, and so it took place online. I worked with Dr. David Fushman of the University of Maryland (my internship host) and Mr. Emre Brookes of the University of Montana. We had group meetings several times per week and exchanged email correspondence multiple times per day.
What are some things that you learned as a result of this internship?
I spent most of my internship writing code, primarily in Python, and so definitely improved my skills significantly. This applies especially to the Python modules that we were using, many of which I had limited experience working with before (e.g., Plotly). I also learned how to use Git for version control, which will allow for easy collaboration in my future programming projects. However, I would say the most important thing that I learned was the importance of keeping my code organized. If I had documented and formatted my code correctly from the start, I would have saved a lot of time that I later spent trying to understand the code that I previously wrote.
Do you see yourself engaging with SGCI again in the future? Perhaps when you begin your career?
I would definitely be interested in engaging with SGCI again in the future. I am a big fan of the concept of a science gateway because it allows programmers and scientists to collaborate efficiently. Each person can contribute according to their strengths and weaknesses, almost like an assembly line. Furthermore, I believe that SGCI also provided great opportunities for me to network and share experiences with people of similar interests, which will be incredibly valuable as I prepare to enter college and, eventually, the workforce.
Anything else to add about your internship experience?
I very much enjoyed and benefited from this engaging and challenging internship experience. I want to thank Dr. David Fushman for hosting/mentoring me, Mr. Emre Brookes, for collaborating with me, and Mr. Jeff Wood for coordinating with me.