MITRE's Summer AFCEA Interns Gain Hands-on Experience

February 2015
Summer AFCEA Interns
Summer Interns

What did eight students—all freshly graduated from Boston-area high schools and working at MITRE during the summer—have in common? They were interns in a fellowship program sponsored by the Lexington-Concord chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA).

The fellowship program awards college-bound students who want to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, or math with a scholarship and a 10-week paid internship. MITRE has been hosting AFCEA interns in a variety of disciplines for more than 50 years.

Computer Science

During his internship, Jared Cohen was a Brown University freshman and computer science major. He spent much of his summer working on the Intern Challenge, a project to develop a set of interoperable capabilities in the Dynamic Operational Reconnaissance project with seven of his fellow interns. Cohen enjoyed his experience at MITRE and believes that it helped him prepare for the future. "I understand a lot more about computer science, especially in a work setting."

Kelly Zhang is a Worcester Polytechnic Institute computer science major. Like Cohen, she was also involved in the Intern Challenge.

"I worked on developing a Web and mobile-based widget that will perform tasks and interact with other widgets that other interns have developed." She said that collaborating on the project helped prepare her for a career. "I met a lot of wonderful people at MITRE, which gives me a very good network to start off with."

Matt Gramigna came to MITRE as a University of Massachusetts Amherst freshman in the AFCEA program. Gramigna is majoring in computer science and minoring in mathematics. "I liked how laid back the environment is. For a serious job, everyone is so nice and easygoing and it makes it such an enjoyable place to work. The project supervisors were also very helpful, making the environment very collaborative. Overall, it was just a great experience."

Biomedical Engineering

Boston University freshman Jake Nazarian is majoring in biomedical engineering and believes that MITRE provided him with a lot of real-world experience.

"For the majority of the summer I learned about healthcare systems and programming. The work here is intense, but the working environment is very pleasant. Overall, I think this internship helped me focus my academic goals a little more. It definitely showed me what type of company I want to work for after I graduate."

Computer Engineering

Kevin Ford is a computer engineering major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who is also interested in cybersecurity. "I feel like the internship has given me a head start with college and future work. I learned a lot about computer architecture, really developed my programming skills, and gained valuable experience in a corporate workspace."

Like Ford, Andrew Bass is also attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst as a computer engineering major. His favorite aspect about his MITRE AFCEA internship was the people he worked with. "I think it's very helpful that everyone who works here is extremely knowledgeable about what they are working on. But more than that, they're willing to lend a hand to help with anything you might need assistance with."

Meanwhile, Lipee Vora is attending Rochester Institute of Technology as a computing security major. Vora spent some of her summer working on a project regarding threat detection. She stated that she plans to pursue a career in cybersecurity. "This internship has exposed me to a lot of new elements. For example, I learned an entirely new coding language."

Engineering

Not all the AFCEA students have decided on a specific field of study. This fall Justin Guo began attending Cornell University as an engineering major, but he’s not yet sure what type of engineering he wants to pursue. "I'm considering a lot of types of engineering. I like mechanical, but also enjoy computer engineering and biomedical." He believes that MITRE has really prepared him for whatever the future holds for him. "MITRE has done a great job exposing me to computer science. I’ve become more familiar with Java, but in a broader sense, computers in general."

Students who are interested in becoming an AFCEA intern at MITRE can email us at students@mitre.org or call us at 781-271-4621. The selection process for AFCEA interns begins in February. Learn more about MITRE's Student Programs and our campus recruiting events.

by Victoria Lynn (Editor's note: Victoria Lynn is a University of Massachusetts undergraduate who wrote this article while an intern in MITRE's Corporate Communications & Public Affairs division during summer 2014.)