My Summer Internship at Cambridge Spark

Olivia competed against hundreds of applicants to land a 12-week Data Science internship within the technical team at our London office, working on our AI-powered learning and development platform, K.A.T.E.®.

Read more about her background, what she worked on and her experience of working for Cambridge Spark.

There was a focus on my learning but I was also treated as any other employee, enjoying the perks of working from home, socials, and normal team meetings."

Tell us a bit about you and your background

My name’s Olivia Bryant and I have just finished spending twelve weeks of my summer as a Data Science Intern at Cambridge Spark. Originally from Canterbury in Kent, I am about to start my junior year at Harvard University studying the data science track of their statistics concentration.

When I am not studying, I am the Director of Internal Relations for the Harvard Open Data Project, the Chief Whip for a debating society, and I run a knitting circle. 

I felt incredibly welcomed by the team, both in the London office with the tech team and the business team in Cambridge."

What did you do during your time at Cambridge Spark?

When I started my internship, I felt incredibly welcomed by the team, both in the London office with the tech team and the business team in Cambridge. The first project of my internship was focused on analysing data on student submissions on K.A.T.E.® I was given a dataset with both the code and results for submissions made to one of the projects on K.A.T.E.® and I was trying to look at how students learn to code. It was interesting to see the wide range of methods for tackling problems, common mistakes students make, and how quickly they learn their mistakes. This was helpful not only for making K.A.T.E.® work better for students but also for myself as it encouraged me to assess how I fix my mistakes and gave me some suggestions on how to tackle problems better in the future.

The next part of the internship involved making projects for K.A.T.E.® that could allow students to showcase the skills they have learnt.

Projects

The next part of the internship involved making projects for K.A.T.E.® that could allow students to showcase the skills they have learnt. I was given a lot of freedom on what datasets I could use so I wanted to focus on industries that have typically not been associated with data. The first project I made used The Museum of Modern Art’s collection dataset to show students how data can be applied to creative industries. The project allows students to look at the demographics of the artists in the collection, the source of the artwork, how the collection has changed over time, and the opportunity to imagine themselves as a museum curator building a collection.

It was really rewarding to be able to use actual government data to show students how the skills they are learning can be applied to real-world and unusual problems."

The second project I made was focused on farming, an industry that is being revolutionised by data. I took data from the UK Government’s website on bovine tuberculosis to look at how the disease has spread and affected British cattle. It was really rewarding to be able to use actual government data to show students how the skills they are learning can be applied to real-world and unusual problems. Whilst I have lived around farms my whole life, I don’t think even I appreciated how data science can benefit the industry, especially as it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of tech.

The internship [...] taught me about the inner workings of a startup, an experience I would not have gained if it weren't for the welcoming and transparent culture of Cambridge Spark."

How was your time at Cambridge Spark?

My twelve weeks at Cambridge Spark have been a rewarding and challenging experience. As an intern, there was a focus on my learning but I was also treated as any other employee, enjoying the perks of working from home, socials, and normal team meetings. I really got to understand the company and its vision which helped me with my work, even if my role was temporary. I think that sometimes companies make the mistake of not involving an intern in the everyday running of the company, perhaps making them work with the other interns or not immersing them in the culture of the company, but this was certainly not the case at Cambridge Spark.

I got to meet all of the incredibly motivated and exceptional members of the Cambridge Spark team and by the time I left, I felt like a member of the team and not just an intern. The internship has not only helped me develop my data science skills but also taught me about the inner workings of a startup, an experience I would not have gained if it weren’t for the welcoming and transparent culture of Cambridge Spark.

I got to meet all of the incredibly motivated and exceptional members of the Cambridge Spark team and by the time I left, I felt like a member of the team and not just an intern."

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