Students spend summer working on virtual internships

By Emma Russell

Student Life Editor

Not even a pandemic can keep the Washington College students distracted from their work. Over the summer many students completed virtual internships.

While they may not have been exactly what the students were expecting, they still received a valuable experience from their respective internships.

Senior Peyton Stewart worked on a project to analyze data from the ATLAS experiment at CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research).

Stewart received this internship through the John S. Toll Science and Mathematics Fellowship at WC.

He says that the goal of the internship was to analyze a specific particle physical process called Di-Higgs Production, “that occurs in order to ensure the calculations match what happens in the real world.”

Stewart said that process is increasingly difficult to detect due to its shared similarities with the final product of another process, top-pair quark production.

“Where I come in is that I am utilizing several different data simulations and observing the differences between them. Doing this will allow us to see how accurate each simulation is, where we can improve, and allow us to brainstorm ways to minimize the large discrepancies between the simulations,” Stewart said.

During his time at the internship Stewart said, “I learned several things, about particle physics and how it works, higher level mathematics, a new programming language, c++, and valuable communication skills.”

If Stewart had been able to attend the internship in person, he would have had access to a state-of-the-art facility and would have been able to attend in-person lectures rather than viewing past recorded ones.

“But thankfully watching the recorded lectures was not that big of a hurdle, as I had experience during the spring semester learning from recordings and Zoom,” said Stewart.

Junior Teddy Friedline was one of the Rose O’Neill Literary House summer interns.

They said that their internship consisted mostly of social media work, researching the upcoming Sophie Kerr writers and helping with the Cherry Tree Young Writers Conference, which was held virtually for the first time this summer.

This required some experimenting on Friedline’s part, where they had to make a presentation about proper Zoom etiquette and also test out a virtual board game night.

While Friedline did express disappointment about not having been able to do the internship on campus, they were still happy they got the chance to do it at all, acknowledging that a lot of their work probably would have been the same whether they had been virtual or on campus.

“I know I would have been working on the conference regardless, and I know that I probably would have been doing social media stuff regardless; like a lot of the stuff I was doing, most of it would have been the same and the stuff that would have been the same was the stuff that was the most impactful for me and resonated the most for me,” Friedline said. “Like getting to influence the minds of the youth in the conference and getting to post about all these really cool writers who had been in Cherry Tree.”

After having done their internship Friedline reflected back and noted that they now feel much more comfortable writing when it comes to formal or professional situations, “Like knowing what tone is appropriate and finding places that I can still have fun with it because I like to add ‘Teddy sparks’ to things.”

Sophomore Lorna Cummings spent her summer online interning with the Maryland State Archive, and she said that she did purely for the fun of it.

“Being student interns during a pandemic, we could not visit the site, so they gave us three online projects,” said Cummings.

The projects consisted of a case study about enslaved people and slave owners during the War of 1812 and writing biographies for the Women’s Hall of Fame inductees that either were from or worked in the Baltimore area.

For her biography for the Women’s Hall of Fame, Cummings chose to write about Virgina Hall, a handicapped spy who worked in France during WWII.

“I was really drawn to her specifically because in 1942, right after France was occupied, she did a huge trek to the Pyrenees mountains into Spain dragging behind her prosthetic leg for like so many miles and I was just, so surprised by her story cause like I had never heard of her and I’m in love with history and was like ‘I need to do this for her.’ I was really excited, so I did a three-page biography on her,” Cummings said.

The third project, which also happens to have been Cummings favorite, was to transcribe a diary written by a businessman during the War of 1812 into a basic Word Document, to make it readable for the public.

“He had taken the time every day to record what the temperature was, what the weather was, he would spend time talking about like national and global events. So you could hear about what Napoleon was doing but you could also hear about the burning of the White House,” said Cummings.

Cumming’s work is made available for anybody to read on the Maryland State Archives website:

https://msa.maryland.gov/msa/educ/exhibits/womenshall/html/hall.html

http://slavery.msa.maryland.gov/html/casestudies/warcountycs.html

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