Written By: Adrian Tabije & Autumn Young
July 28, 2022
Are you a high school student? Do you aspire to change the world through learning and work experience? One meaningful way of differentiating yourself from the crowd is by considering an internship. On National Intern Day, we take a look at how interns can benefit from an internship even as early as their middle school and high school years.
Students interning at KwF can expect to work on fascinating projects with a network of interns worldwide. Image by Arjun Bakhale.
Kashmir World Foundation (KwF) has made these experiences possible for several high school students since its founding, and this year is no exception. This summer, several high school students from Virginia joined KwF to participate in our mission of putting technology to good use in the fight for wildlife conservation. This mission is exactly what attracted Arjun Bakhale, a rising sophomore who attends Briar Woods High School, to KwF. Arjun is on our Integration Team and believes in KwF’s work because “...it empowers young people to do good for the environment and animals through their computer knowledge. When I learned all the coding and computer science related components in the past, I expected to use it for a job or other professional things, but with KwF I can put my computer knowledge to good use, and I know that even the small contribution that I am making could save the life of an endangered snow leopards in Kashmir.”
KwF's high school interns across Virginia this summer serve as invaluable additions to our Software Development Team. Currently, the team is working on several large-scale computing and AI projects, such as a desktop application that supports biologists and conservationists' research expeditions in the Himalayas. Keerthana Eswarapragada, a rising senior at John Champe High School and The Academy of Engineering and Technology, currently belongs to this project by working on the user interface. Being a part of this team, she has learned to use several software programs to support her work, including YOLOv5, Qt Designer, and PyQt5. By using these programs, Keerthana states, "I have learnt a lot about software development and how to develop a user interface. I have also learned a lot about integration and how it encompasses many skills and technicalities." Another vital intern on this team, Kayva Lalith, a rising senior at Independence High School, has assisted in YOLOv5 training runs and labeling the data. Along with Kayva's contributions, she has also "learned a lot about developing the algorithms,” and has also further developed her programming experience, as well as her experience with working in a professional setting.
KwF appreciates diversity, and welcomes well-rounded multitalented individuals to contribute towards large scale projects across the world. Image of Keerthana Eswarapragada by Guru Lakshmi Babu from Kuchipudi Dance Academy.
While these talented interns have been able to further develop their software development skills, they have also learned plenty about professionalism and soft skills. Rohan Magesh, a senior at Independence High School, recently reflected on his participation in a panel at the World Trade Center Institute (WTCI) Young Diplomats Program in Baltimore. He states, “The most meaningful part of this internship was probably the panel a few days ago, as I got to talk about my experience here and practice my public speaking skills as well!” Aside from this, our Software Development interns work is quite large, and it has been crucial for team members to adhere to other skills, such as effectively communicating with each other. Saketh Vangara, who is currently working on a UI/UX design for the desktop app, mentioned these skills in a recent interview: “I learned that teamwork and communication are really the key to getting anything done. In terms of the Desktop App that my team has been working on, I found that these two skills have been crucial to understanding the basis of the app itself but also to determine what can be improved upon, what can I learn and apply from this feedback, etc.”
It’s no surprise that our interns aspire for bright futures. Davis Wang is a rising senior attending Riverside High School and plans to use the skills he is learning at KwF to “...participate in larger teams to create software that will improve the lives of people within a global community.” Saketh has a precise vision for himself by stating, “I plan on using my skills to one day hopefully become an entrepreneur, where I can contribute the strengths of my skills in computer science and creativity in order to become successful and make the world a better place.”
At KwF, you can expect that humor and friendship will make our endless conference calls an enjoyable experience. Image by Davis Wang.
Most importantly, an internship can become a critical moment in a student's personal development. Julian Pallanez, a rising sophomore at Loudon County High School, has experienced the beauty of taking chances on one's growth. He reflects that "being an intern has been one of the best things I have done for myself. I have had the privilege of working with many amazing people and learned many new things."
So think deeply about what a summer internship might do for yourself or someone you know. You might develop your skills tremendously, meet new people, or learn more about yourself. The team enjoyed seeing our hardworking, dedicated, and pioneering summer interns flourish with their projects.
KwF is fortunate to have a global network of dedicated interns helping the foundation tackle wildlife conservation and protection. It makes the journey more fulfilling that the foundation can help students refine their skills to an extraordinary level.
A teaser of our Snow Leopard AI project, where students train the algorithms to recognize and track wildlife in the Himalayas. Image by Arjun Bakhale.
We thank the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development, Elevate Loudoun Computer Science Internship Fair, and Loudoun County Public Schools for introducing KwF to great interns with promising futures ahead of themselves. KwF has appreciated seeing these future trailblazers and changemakers' ingenuity, precision, and discipline as they worked on their fantastic projects this summer.
For more information about KwF's internship opportunities, please email Kashmir World Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.