Soon I start my junior year at Ohio State, majoring in information systems. I enter this next chapter of my education with a new view on disruptive technology — and how that technology will influence my future career — after spending my summer as an artificial intelligence/machine learning intern.
With my education and internship experience, I can now take my career in directions not even imaginable 10 years ago in emerging disciplines like biotechnology, robotics technology, data science and human-computer interaction.
That’s how rapidly industry changes. My internship addressed that evolution, teaching the skills college students need to take advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Big Company, Big Learning
Last summer I interned at a small start-up so this time I took the opposite approach — I wanted to experience how a global and complex organization operates and what my place within it could look like.
At Rockwell Automation I learned about goal setting and teamwork, why structure matters and how to get things done in a company that operates in 80 countries. And I learned that the world is full of opportunity for me.
My hands-on, real-time exposure to disruptive technology — like artificial Intelligence and machine learning — is why internships matter.
While college curriculums struggle to keep up with the rapid changes, students like me want to work in a world where these technologies are developed (or developing) to see how the concepts are applied to solve real-world problems.
Here’s What I Know
The most important thing I learned from the internship is how to view and attack problems and ask the right questions.
There are things you know, things you don’t know, and things you don’t know you don’t know. The key is to know the difference.
I had no technical exposure to artificial intelligence or machine learning before I came to Rockwell Automation, so I started with a lot of questions that were always met with solid dialog with managers and peers.
Not knowing an answer at first was humbling. But in my internship I learned how to rely on the people around me to frame up the problem and get the answer.
A Helping Hand
What impressed me about my experience was how even in an extremely large organization, I could reach out to anyone at any time.
I had resources for technical questions, resources for personal growth. The company gave me avenues to connect with leaders I admired. Every single person made me feel like my work as an intern was valued and valuable.
Rather than see me as a college student here only to learn, people immediately considered me a contributor and a team member.
The people here are passionate, diverse, innovative and supportive. I could work with everyone from a new graduate to someone with 40 years of experience. This internship has been incredibly rewarding and valuable.
Taking the Mystery Out of Technology
I love taking a complicated topic and demystifying it.
It’s exciting to be on cusp of such amazing things. I will have a job and do things that my parents could only have imagined.
At the same time it’s daunting because I’m stepping into areas that are so unfamiliar. Because of this internship I feel like I’m in a great place with evolving technology.
Instead of asking what it is, I can ask the deeper question: How do we apply this to solve a problem? That’s where I will continue to grow.