The QuarIntern

The QuarIntern

Key takeaways

  • Throughout the internship experience, Shreyas has learned that the quality of work depends on how much you enjoy the voyage.
  • Ellucian has provided the elbow room for Shreyas to be efficiently creative and come up with feasible, out-of-the-box methods and solutions.
  • Ellucian fosters and truly embraces a culture that brings together different perspectives.

A pandemic. An internship. An internship amid a global pandemic sounds like a great movie plot.

In mid-march, the world in its entirety was coming to a screeching stop. The only thing people talked about was flattening the curve, and my college classes were slowly moving online at Syracuse University, New York. Summer plans seemed gloomy, but just right then, something came up to lift my flagging spirits: the opportunity to intern at Ellucian in the R&D artificial intelligence and data science team. This to me was the perfect chance to stress-test my academic AI skillsets and visualize how to connect the AI with its human consumers. Shout out to Ellucian for going forward with internships during these challenging times!

2020 Summer Interns

Trusting myself and the process—a revelation

This is my sixth week here as an R&D intern and these few weeks have been about self-discovery. During one of our initial meetings, I remember asking my manager about how we can quantify outputs in a research task and test the quality. Research outputs were subjective, there has never been one clear route to any destination and, sometimes, there were no clear destinations, either. You could end up barking up the wrong tree and not even realize it.

My greatest revelation has been that the quality of work depends on how much you enjoy the voyage. It requires breaking stuff down to microns, connecting the dots, and developing the conviction that these connections will make sense. I am continually reminding myself to take good care of the process and believe in my own decision making.

Enjoying freedom, responsibly

Boundaries, norms, and anything restricting our imagination is often boring and not in sync with 21st-century thinking. We might despise routines in our daily lives and at work. But in reality, like it or not, we have to get things done when they have to be done.

To work around situations like these, I try to add some spice and make stuff interesting. For instance, I have a wall clock in my room that runs backward. Who says they should always spin clockwise? It does the job for me, and these mundane glances at the clock have become more interesting (it’s a great conversation starter, too!).

It has been great to have a team to lean on for guidance, and my managers have allowed me to explore new avenues, break boundaries, and—at the same time—be responsible for my actions. Ellucian has provided the opportunity for me to learn how to be efficiently creative. I am consciously trying to “spice up” my work and come up with feasible, out-of-the-box methods and solutions.

Respect—always mutual

Ellucian has taught me that respect does not just work from the bottom up. It should flow both ways, and when it does, it lifts the entire ecosystem. Making sure interns are not intimidated and are able to put forth opinions is never mandatory for any company, yet Ellucian fosters and truly embraces a culture that brings together different perspectives. Even the senior-most employees across departments always go the extra mile to ensure the interns’ voices are heard and our inputs are valued. Conversations and exchanges of ideas are very fluid and are never one-way. For someone like me, with a nascent career, these back-and-forth discussions are a great motivation.

Right from the start, I’ve seen that Ellucian genuinely cares for its workers, and embraces inclusiveness, diversity, and an equitable workplace. For me, this has been a journey of immense growth through trust and mutual respect. The future looks bright and full of prosperity. I am grateful for this opportunity, proud to be part of the Ellucian family, and I’m loving the #EllucianLife.

Ellucian 2020 Summer Interns
About the Author
Shreyas Sadagopan
Shreyas Sadagopan
Research and Development Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Intern

Shreyas Sadagopan is a summer 2020 research and development artificial intelligence/machine learning intern at Ellucian. He is a master’s student in applied data science at Syracuse University and will be graduating in summer 2021.