An Ode to My Internship in Quebec
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
- Some programming: this changed me and my career as a computer scientist. I realized my love for scientific programming. I went on to do more courses on computer vision after your intern and eventually made a career out of AI.
- Some experimental work: you have let (and made) me work on some of the coolest equipment available in the world. I never appreciated it then as I was not exactly experimentalist at that point of time. But now I see that it was a super fun thing to do.
- Some scientific communication: You have taken me to McGill summer school – a mini conference. It was fun seeing how scientists interact and communicate with each other.
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.
As for my trajectory after your internship, I have joined the industry and started working on this cool start up called Qure.ai. 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!
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.
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 😊.
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,