Student Spotlight: Anastasia Menshikova ’18

Student Spotlight: Anastasia Menshikova ’18

Anastasia Menshikova ’18 is a rising senior with a lot of ambition! Currently, she works with NASA as a Data Science Intern, where she does in-depth analyses of human trafficking data to spot trends and correlations within that data. In our interview, she shares what it’s like to work on something so important.

Hometown: Riga, Latvia

Class year: 2018

Major: Computer Science

Involvement at school: Employee at Trinfo Cafe, Teacher Assistant, former member of Elemental Movement Dance, and Vice President of the Computer Science Club.

What is it like to work at NASA?

So I’m a data science intern for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. And it’s great! It involves a lot of challenging work, but I’m gaining priceless skills both in terms of computer science and general communication. I’m also gaining skills in group work, since I work in a team with other JPL employees. Even though I’m an intern, I am considered a full member of the team and I get to work on real-life projects. All of the work, due to the governmental nature of the place, are aimed at aiding various governmental institutions, and so I actually get to contribute toward helping solve real-life issues, like human trafficking in the US. The fact that my contribution might be helpful in tackling human trafficking is very inspiring and it definitely makes me feel like all of my hard work up to this point has been worth it. Doing coding for school or for your own projects is one thing, working in a team and resolving national issues is another.

What else do you do there?

I do data science/machine learning, and one of my main projects involves improving my previously created sentiment analysis parser, creating improved machine learning models and doing some very in-depth analysis of human trafficking data to spot trends and correlations within the data. It’s all part of a big project called MEMEX which is governed by DARPA. My other project is for the department of homeland security, and it involves detecting technical standards within statements of work and project proposals that get submitted to the department.

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve gotten to do as a result of your internship?

One of the most exciting things for me personally, as I mentioned earlier, is working on something that actually contributes to the betterment of people’s lives (by helping to tackle human trafficking)–but also, because of that, I went to Washington DC for a few days to the DARPA headquarters for a hackathon, that is also aimed at working towards the human trafficking project.

How has this internship helped your career goals?

This internship has definitely helped me to explore different areas of computer science, develop more passion for my major, and actually realize that there are so many incredible things I can work on because of computer science!

Student Spotlight: Michael Zarra ’19

In our interview, Michael Zarra ’19 tells us how Trinity helped him find an internship at Boston Children’s Hospital, what he does there, and what it is like to be one of Trinity’s Catalyst interns! 

Hometown: Cheshire, CT

Class year: Class of 2019

Major: Neuroscience

Involvement at school: Men’s Track, Research, Student Senate, Habitat for Humanity, Theater

How did Trinity help you find your internship at Boston Children’s Hospital? 

I found my internship at Boston Children’s Hospital through Trinity’s Career Link portal. The career development center was integral in helping me reach out to alumni at BCH, and writing a cover letter. I would have been far less successful without their support!

What made you want to intern there? 

I have been interested in healthcare for a long time, but my passion for pediatric neurology developed through my time volunteering at the Institute of Living in Hartford my Freshman year. I knew the chance to work in a children’s hospital with the reputation of BCH, and specifically in the Neurology Department, would be an invaluable opportunity to gain experience and exposure with a population I love.

What is a regular day there like?

I’ve learned there are no regular days in the BCH Quality Improvement Department. There are numerous projects ongoing simultaneously, and many team members from administers to doctors, nurses, and consultants whose ideas all need to be integrated into the patient care process. Most days I have a list of goals for a specific project that I set for myself with the help of my team. There are usually meetings with staff and physicians to incorporate clinical experience into our data analysis. Projects can take years to complete, so it’s a lot about monitoring and fine tweaking to shape the path towards a desired outcome.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned so far? 

Although there have been many surprises throughout the journey this experience has afforded me, one of the biggest revelations has been seeing what doctors do outside of the clinic. The amount of research, teaching, team building, and barbecues they host was unexpected. I have been fortunate to be able to interview applicants for positions within the QI Neurology Department, and I was very shocked to learn doctors were leaving clinical positions for administrative one because, “it allows them to better help the patients”. That was a perspective I had never considered.

How has being a Catalyst intern shaped your experience?

Being a Catalyst intern has helped in more ways than one. Although I still made the choice to get a second job while in Boston, the Catalyst program has afforded me the ability to live close to my internship. With that comes the ability to dedicate more hours to my internship and augment my experience. Paying for food, rent, and other living expenses has been much less of a burden then it would have been without the stipend that the Catalyst Initiative offered. However most importantly, the ongoing support I receive from the Career Development Center has undoubtedly given me the confidence to sculpt my experience not just into a transformative summer, but has guided the beginning of my career path invigorating me to get going.

Student Spotlight: Hunter Mitchell-Adams ’18

Hunter Mitchell-Adams ’18 has a wide-variety of interests, and he is fully committed to exploring all of them during his time here at Trinity. This summer, he’s interning with the CT Office of the Arts! In our interview, he tells us why he chose to work there, and shares what his experience has been like thus far.  

Hometown: Stratford, CT
Class year: 2018
Major: Urban Studies
Involvement at school: Captain of the swimming and diving team, president of the Food Recovery Network, arts editor of The Beacon Newsmagazine, and a lifeguard and swimming instructor.

What is your internship?

The CT Office of the Arts initiated a new intern program called the Arts Workforce Initiative, which placed me in Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County. The mission of this nonprofit is to instill the mentality that the idea of upward mobility is possible for our kids participating in the program. They don’t have to be stuck in the downward spiral of being an intercity student. There is possibility of growth. We’re achieving this by introducing Arts Education into their lives.

What are your responsibilities as an intern?

I have administrative duties, I partake in fundraising, teaching, and maintenance of the program, and programming.

What made you want to do an internship in the arts?

I’ve always been interested in the arts. It was a passion of mine before college, but in high school I wasn’t able to pursue it. Now that I’m in college, I have the time to dedicate myself to this passion of mine and I’m so lucky that I have the ability to go to a job every day in a field that I know that I’ve loved for a while.

What has been the highlight of your internship so far?

The second day there, I helped prepare the auditorium for a concert that was signifying the end of the school year term for a group of students. I was able to watch 20 to 25 students in this auditorium playing African Drums, dance and just have an all around great time. All of them were disabled, mentally or physically, and were able to come together through music to show so how something as simple as dancing can make everyone smile. It really stuck with me, and solidified my enjoyment with this internship. I knew I was there for a reason, to make as much of an impact on these kids lives as they already have for me.

You aren’t pursuing an education career, so what made you choose an internship with children?

I’ve been teaching kids how to swim since I was sixteen, and I still do at Trinity. When I was younger, I always looked for someone who could help me move onto a greater path – having an extra voice to help a student grow is extremely important. If I can help even one student find their own path, that’s something I’d be incredibly proud to do.

Student Spotlight: Ryan Vultaggio ’18

Student Spotlight: Ryan Vultaggio ’18

Ryan Vultaggio ’18 is a part of the Catalyst Intern Program, a program that funds the internships of some of Trinity’s most highly motivated students. In our interview, he shares why he wanted to be a catalyst intern, what meaningful work he has been doing at Boston Children’s Hospital this summer, and what he hopes to do after Trinity. 

Hometown: Groton, Massachusetts
Class Year: 2018
Major: Neuroscience
Involvement at school: Trinity College Varsity Baseball Team and member of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity

What is your internship?
I am working as a data processor for The Micheli Center for Sports and Injury Prevention at Boston Children’s Hospital. I am specifically working with the 3D-Motion analysis program, where we have pitchers who range in ages from 12 to 25 come and throw balls in front of our cameras. We’re then able to process that data to give us the kinetic and kinematic values necessary for analyzing the throwing motion. With this data, we can evaluate the stresses a pitcher experiences from mechanical break down in their pitching delivery or muscular deficiency impeding their delivery. Once that data is processed, we bring the pitcher back in after about 2 weeks andgo over a full report of their information: this includes a break down of their throwing motion, the stress their body is experiencing, why that stress is bad or good and how they can fix/improve/alter those problems.

What are your responsibilities as an intern?
My jobs as an intern is to assist in the data collection, marking up the patients with our bio-markers, and recording data during the data collection. We only collect data about once or twice a week, so my day-to-day is mostly data processing of the 3D-motion Analysis.

 

What’s the most rewarding part of your internship?
The best part of my job is getting to work with patients of a variety of ages. Some kids are young and just starting baseball, others are my age or older and have been playing baseball for a number of years. Since I’m a baseball player myself, it’s rewarding to teach kids new things they may have never seen before, or just talking baseball and sharing our experiences. I also find it very rewarding to be given a screen of moving dots and having the ability to connect anatomical body-land marks creating a full 3D-motion capture of a baseball pitcher.

What are your professional goals/career plans?

I hope to get my Masters in Exercise Science after graduation, where I can continue to work with athletes and help them stay on the field and compete at their highest level. The field of preventative medicine is an aspect of medicine that I feel is undervalued and I want to make it something people are more aware of and more willing to do. It would be great to have athletes train and get stronger before they have a knee surgery and hopefully decrease the number of sports related surgeries.

Why did you want to be a catalyst intern? How has this shaped your experience?
I wanted to be a catalyst intern because I created my current position at the Micheli center from scratch, and it did not include getting paid. Trinity’s Catalyst program has allowed me to explore my interest and possible job paths, that I wouldn’t normally be able to entertain.