Each year, Productive Edge endeavors to make an impact in the tech community through our Student Internship Program. By enlisting students from various colleges around the country, we are able to tap into new resources while also providing opportunities for students to gain practical hands-on experience with emerging technologies.
This summer, our intern team came together to create a product by leveraging Microsoft HoloLens technology. The result is a Bluetooth-enabled visual remote assistance app that can be used by manufacturers to receive predictive analytics in order to better maintain their products. Stay tuned for our Intern Blog Series, coming out soon, which will detail the project.
Without further adieu, Productive Edge is proud to introduce you to our 2019 Summer Interns.
Meet the interns:
Claudia Krogmeier, Purdue University, Virtual Reality
Nico Finelli, University of Michigan, Data Science
Joshua Brot, University of Michigan, Pure Math with a Computer Science Minor
Tyler Youngs, University of Michigan, Computer Science
Felix Martinez, University of Illinois at Chicago, Computer Science
(L to R: J. Brot; F. Martinez; C. Krogmeier; N. Finelli; T. Youngs)
What has been your favorite part about interning at Productive Edge?
CK: Experiencing the big picture of experiential creations, and getting a better idea of how many different pieces are involved, including the business side, partners, ideation, technical integration, and workflow.
NF: Getting to wear many hats. At most of my past internships, I spent the entire summer doing a singular job, but I've loved getting to see how every side of a project works. From planning to implementation, and presenting our findings to both a technical and non-technical audience, it has both kept things interesting and broadened my skills.
JB: I think the best part of working at PE has been learning how developing a project actually works. At school, I only learned technical skills—so learning how to work within Agile, and how to properly communicate with a team has been a fantastic experience.
TY: The variety of tasks I get to work on. Working both on the intern project and for the Front End Design team has allowed me to work on a very wide range of tasks and get exposure to so much more than I was expecting.
FM: Making scripts to automate the process of creating, backing, and taking down Azure components. I really enjoyed that, because I had to pick up a language I have never used before (Python), and now that's becoming the language I prefer to use. Also, working with cloud services for the first time which was interesting. The best part about it was when we were able to just press a button to build all of our Azure components.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned?
NJ: How much of working is figuring out things on the fly. More specifically, from a technical standpoint, how Bluetooth really works.
TY: How much teamwork it takes to complete projects. With the projects I've worked on, working collaboratively was a huge focus. Even when working on distinct parts, communication was key. We knew where the other interns were and what they expected from us.
Why did you choose to intern at Productive Edge?
CK: I think it's a wonderful opportunity to experience a company's culture, styles, and projects. It's nice to step out of academia and see what is happening in the real world!
NF: Being a consultant intrigued me, but I also wanted to make sure I was doing the specific technical work I was interested in. Productive Edge was one of the few places where I would be able to develop my Machine Learning skills while simultaneously seeing how I would perform in a consulting work environment.
FM: I was introduced to Productive Edge by Lucas and Carmen from UIC Black Tech Scholars. So, I have been here for the Hack-a-Thon and the Job Shadowing Event. I enjoyed meeting everyone at the events and thought it would be a nice place to work at, which it has been.
Favorite social or community event this summer?
NJ: The Euchre Tournament was a nice way to get to meet people on my first day. And Whirlyball showed off everyone's true competitive nature.
JB: The boat trip was fun! It was really cool to get an opportunity to meet people at PE that I don't talk to normally.
TY: I really enjoyed the Intern Social Event. We played Whirlyball and got to spend time with our managers outside of a work environment.
What’s your favorite part about Chicago?
CK: I love all the different ethnic food. I really liked exploring Second City, too.
NF: The nightlife or the beach.
TY: The lakeshore walk. Not only does Chicago have a great urban center with everything you could want to do, but it also has the lakeshore walk where you can get away from the city feel. It keeps Chicago feeling fresh and really sets it apart from the other cities I've visited.
What team did you intern for? Did you learn anything new from helping out with specific projects from that team? What challenges did you face?
CK: Edge ~ Definitely! In addition to a lot of skills I want to improve, I realize I also need to understand how all of it works together. “Bob” is a great example of many different skills, software, and people coming together for one project.
NF: Evan's Team - AI & ML. Most of my work for the ML and AI team was doing research into Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform's plug and play voice assistant features.
JB: I worked on the Sedgwick Project for the Mobile Kombat team. I learned a lot of technical skills (C#, Xamarin, MVVM) as part of working on this project. However, the biggest learning experience was seeing how an international team works. I learned a lot about planning a project in Agile, and I also significantly improved my communication skills.
TY: I worked for the Front End Design team. I've learned so much about design choice and the thought process behind project planning. For our project, it was a lower priority so we had to accommodate people's schedules and make sure to be in constant communication about the state of the project.
What is your one take away from this internship?
CK: Keep working on my own projects, get better with C#, Unity, things I don't know, etc. and to be sure to budget more time for creative inspiration. This could be watching movies, reading about other experiential projects, or playing games.
TY: My takeaway from this internship is that you have to be determined but flexible. If something isn’t going right, you can't give up and stop trying just because it's hard or confusing. However, it's necessary at some point to recognize your approach may be inherently harder or impossible and that you need to explore other avenues.
FM: For our Intern project we were required to used Machine Learning. I have little knowledge about Machine Learning, so I could not help with that aspect of the project. So, one take away from this is that I really should take the time to learn about Machine Learning. As technology advances, Machine Learning will become more prevalent. Now I plan on taking an Artificial Intelligence class in the fall and a Machine Learning class in the spring.
Any after college plans?
CK: I'd be thrilled to work where I can create and make stuff all day, whether that's videos, VR, a combo of those two, or something else.
NF: Not yet. The first goal is locking down a job after graduation, but if I do have a break in time between the end of my schooling in December and when I start working, I plan to take a couple of months to live in Italy. I spent two years learning Italian in college and feel like I should put it to use. I also have a group of friends who are thinking of being ski bums out west from January-March, and that is also something I've considered doing if I have time off.
JB: I plan to continue working as a developer for the next year or two, and then go to grad school.
A big thank you for all your hard work. Best of luck with the rest of your studies and we are excited to see all the great things you create in your future roles.