An Ode to My Internship in Quebec

Sasank Chilamkurthy | | 4 minutes to read.

Dear Leslie,

This is Sasank, a former intern of yours at Centre for Optics, Photonics and Lasers, Quebec city. I don’t know if you remember me but I was from IIT Bombay and I interned with you on optical fibre stuff long time back in 2014. I was too immature to appreciate what you did for me as a kid and I never got to thank you! That’s why I wanted to thank you after all these years.

I am so glad to have interned with you! You have made sure I get the diverse experience of a scientist and a grad student. You have made me do

Over all, my work experience with you has given me a taste of a scientist’s life like that of yourself. However, from a scientific effort point of view, I don’t think I consider the internship as particularly successful. But! But! It has given me an understanding of what kind of science I like and what I don’t. The internship has given me understanding that the core electrical engineering research is not for me. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to make this discovery early on in my career.

Kid me with a real scientist at COPL’s super cool optical communications lab.

As for my trajectory after your internship, I have joined the industry and started working on this cool start up called Our mission is to make healthcare accessible and affordable with the power of AI. After working on AI research for about 4/5 years, this dream of ours is starting to look realMy favourite quote from one of our customers is “For this patient, I have no doubt AI was a critical element for her survival. AI is helping us deliver on the full scope of our health care mission”.

As a person, I am blessed to have experienced the culture that is Quebec. I believe this experience is much more unique than that of say, Europe. I was inspired by the amount of effort Quebecois put to preserve their unique culture. I learned a lot of interesting quirks in Quebecois French e.g. how catholic terms are used for profanity!

My co-intern and I enjoying a summer day at Quebec’s convent.

I am also thankful for the amount of nature I could see in Quebec 😊. I made many trips, some solo, in and around Quebec. My favorite trip is when I went alone to Tadoussac, a small village near Quebec city and hiked to a random Fjord. I discovered my love for photography when I bought my first camera for documenting these trips. Here is a favorite photo from the time.

Taken when hiking in Saguenay Fjord National Park

A great thing that come out of the internship is the money! Your handsome stipend (handsome for an Indian student anyway) has allowed me to save and buy a Macbook Air, my first real unix computer. This machine has allowed me to explore more programming and learn a lot of computer vision stuff 😊.

The laptop in question. I have taken two photos of the laptop and blended them for a computer vision assignment. Photo is in black and white because colour dimension was harder to code up. The source code is apparently still avaialable in github 🤷.

There’s still lot more to say about my three months there in Quebec. I loved interacting with your group. I learnt cooking. Overall, I am super grateful to have interned with you and your group.

Thanks a lot, for everything,