My Future Plans: Internships vs. Academia

ellen-2017 Ellen, Work 0 Comments

Hey everybody! This week I’m going to talk a little bit about my plans for the time I have remaining at USC as well as after I graduate.  To be honest, my plans are a little vague, but that’s the great part about being in college! There are a lot of opportunities for students to try things out and see how they like it.

To start with, I have two majors (Computer Science and Physics) which opens a lot of doors in terms of career paths.  I know for sure that I’d like to do something after I graduate that combines both of these subjects, but that doesn’t narrow it down as much as you might think.  For instance, I could go to grad school and do research in quantum computing, which relies heavily on both quantum physics theorists and computer scientists.  In fact, there is hardly any discipline in physics anymore that doesn’t use computer science and computational models in some way!

Part of the D Wave Two Quantum Computer.  There are only two of these in the world - and one is at the USC Information Sciences Institute!

Part of the D Wave Two Quantum Computer. There are only two of these in the world – and one is at the USC Information Sciences Institute!

I could also take another path and work as a software engineer in an industry where a background in physics could allow me to work on some really interesting projects, such as the aerospace and defense industries.  I think it would be really exciting to work at a company like SpaceX, for example, where I could use my software engineering skills to contribute to projects that are grounded in physics and astronomy.

SpaceX's Dragon brings cargo to the International Space Station.

SpaceX’s Dragon brings cargo to the International Space Station.

As you can tell, I really am equally interested in both of these paths.  To help me decide, I plan to take advantage of some of USC’s opportunities to gain experience in these areas to see what it’s like to do those types of work firsthand.  I hope to use at least one of my remaining summers at USC to do an internship in software engineering.  Right now, I’m applying to all sorts of different companies for internships: aerospace (Boeing/SpaceX/etc.), software (Google/Microsoft/etc.), and electronic hardware (Broadcom/etc.).  I also would like to spend a summer doing research in some sort of computational physics.  Hopefully this way, by the time my last year at USC is approaching, I’ll have a firm idea of what I’d like to do after I graduate.

Have a great week and Beat the Wildcats!

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ellen-2017

ellen-2017

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Computer Science and Physics, Class of 2017, Learn more on her profile here!

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