Mackenzie Schafer.

Project Description

Robert S. Goodfriend Summer Internship Fund Recipient

If my time at Bowdoin has taught me anything, it is that I am a woman of many passions. I am currently a sophomore and apart from being an active member of student organizations such as Masque & Gown, Out Allies, Bowdoin Women in Computer Science, and Howell House, I have taken classes in sixteen different departments, worked five different on-campus jobs, and am pursuing a double major with a minor in three entirely disjoint departments (Computer Science, Hispanic Studies, and Theater). Some may say I am all over the place, but I say I’m thriving. I am never truly satisfied unless I am actively challenging myself in several different fields at once. This is the foundation of why I believe interning for Soluciones Generales de Ingenería (SGI) in Zaragoza, Spain, will be the perfect balance for my summer 2017.

SGI is a small start-up engineering company founded eight years ago by Alberto Gonzalez, a passionate entrepreneur looking to create a company with an alternative work environment and the flexibility to tackle a wide variety of engineering projects. Due to the recession in Spain, the development of this company was slow moving. However, thanks to an array of international clients, SGI has grown significantly in the past three years with its current focus geared towards the development of the hardware and software used in display screens in commercial buses across Europe. My work this summer will mostly be in developing voice recognition applications for these display screens. At SGI, I will have the opportunity to learn new software languages such as JavaScript, QML and Crank, as well as apply the skills in Python, Java, C/C++, data structures and systems that I have acquired at Bowdoin. In addition, SGI functions almost entirely in Spanish, with English used as the bridging language between clients in Macedonia, China, and Italy. Because of this I believe living in Spain and working at SGI will not only challenge and develop my knowledge of the Spanish language and culture in general, but also provide the invaluable opportunity to learn and apply the terminology used in a Spanish engineering business—a skill that will greatly increase my ability to succeed in computer science businesses internationally. In addition, the incredible intersection of computer science, language and culture that this internship at SGI offers would, as the Mission of the College states, truly foster my “international awareness and linguistic mastery” as well as better my ability to “perceive and intellectually engage [with] the world.”

Furthermore, because SGI is still a rather small business—and I will be its first and only intern this summer—this internship provides the unique opportunity to learn new skills in an environment where I will be given a lot of guidance and personal attention as I get to pursue tangible, hands-on projects that are relevant and crucial to the overall operations of the company. I believe my patience, work ethic, resilience and curiosity will allow me not only to take advantage of every opportunity this internship presents, but also to overcome the difficulties of the language and cultural barriers that may present themselves over the course of the summer.

Lastly, I have spent the past two summers working between forty and sixty-five hours a week juggling two to three minimum wage jobs. I would love the opportunity to fully commit this time and energy over the summer towards my fields. I firmly believe the wide variety of life lessons, programming skills and business networks abroad that I will develop through SGI will greatly assist my pursuit of an internship at a larger company, such as Google or Pixar, next summer, and launch me into a successful international career in computer science.

Project Details

  • Date October 16, 2017
  • Tags 2017, Europe, Science, Sophomore

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