For the past two months, I’ve been keeping busy are in Los Angeles with being an intern and seeing more of the city. Currently, I’m an intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where I’m working on developing software for embedded devices. JPL is a really cool place to intern – there’s a huge focus on the learning process, and being exposed to work that is actually useful to the team, as opposed to work that just keeps you busy. The structure of work is such that there’s a focus on mentorship; all summer students have a mentor, and sometimes co-mentors, as well. They’re designated people who are working on the project you’re assigned to, but just because they’re your mentors doesn’t mean that they’re the only people you can talk to, or ask questions to. Everyone is very receptive to you asking questions, which makes it a really cool environment to work in. We also get to go on tours of facilities at JPL, and ones that are owned by NASA/JPL – like the Deep Space Communications Complex in Goldstone.
It’s also really cool to have so many interns working there was well – I don’t have any interns working on my project with me, but JPL has almost 800 summer interns this year. If you want to hear more about intern life at JPL, check out Michelle and Michael’s blogs, and tune in our next podcast on Viterbi Voices! A good number of those inters happen to be from USC, so it’s been really cool to meet new people, either through carpooling or just meeting people at intern events. JPL has a career fair-like event where you can meet people working in each division, and what sorts of projects they do. That way, if there’s a cool project you’ve been hearing about, or just want to learn more about opportunities at the company, you have the chance to do that. You really get to see the spread of majors there are – I’ve met all kinds of engineers, from aerospace, to computer science, electrical, and so on. There’s also a good number of science majors – geography, geology, chemistry – so you really do get to meet a diverse group of people.
Working win the 9/80 schedule (working 80 hours in 9 days, versus 40 hours in 5 days) as a JPL intern allows me to have every other Friday off of work, and in that time, I’ve been keeping busy going to concerts and seeing friends that are in the area. I got to see the Bad Suns, my favorite band, for their first headline tour earlier this summer and it was incredible.
I’ve had the chance to see my friends that I made while I was abroad last summer (read more about my summer in Spain here). I’ve really been getting to check out the food scene in LA. I’ve checked out Smorgasburg, which is kind of like a food stand/truck fair, not too far from SC. All of the food there is AMAZING, and I’ve also been checking out restaurants a little further than the immediate area, but still in LA. Not to mention, I’ve tried pretty much every ice cream place I’ve been able to within the city. But I’ve still got so many more to check out – but that’s what the summer’s for, right? Or at least…that’s what I’m telling myself.