The highlight of our summer is hosting the Jump ARCHES Summer Internship, a two-month program that provides undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Illinois with the opportunity to work with Jump ARCHES grant recipients on their projects. While we’re eagerly awaiting our return to campus in the fall, many aspects of the university continue to function online, including the Jump ARCHES Summer Internship.
At the beginning of the pandemic when we were unsure whether the internship could take place in-person, the concept of pivoting to online learning was still daunting. As companies across the globe began to cancel or shorten internship programs both for practical and financial reasons, we knew we could make a virtual internship work at HCESC.
“Being able to provide internships to students is so important, and I’m grateful to be a part of an organization that has continued to offer this experience during this uncertain time,” said Lydia Lee, Simulation Engineer at HCESC. “Although transitioning the internship to be completely virtual wasn’t easy, I’m glad that we were able to onboard all the interns successfully with projects that they are excited about!”
Out of our 11 interns, seven of them are studying Computer Engineering or Computer Science, three are studying Electrical Engineering, one is studying Mechanical Engineering, and one is studying for their MS in Library and Information Science. Many of the projects they are working on are centered around using virtual reality technology. Junior in Computer Science Jacqueline Chen said, “There are a lot of really cool projects happening that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to see or work on. I’ve definitely increased my understanding of the kinds of skills and tasks research involves and have grown as a result of this process.”
This internship is unique in that it provides engineering students with the opportunity to apply what they learn in class to healthcare, a core value of HCESC and Jump ARCHES. Junior in Mechanical Engineering Peter Chien said, “I love that I’m able to leverage my strengths in mechanical design and product development to spearhead the hardware aspects of my project. I also have the opportunity to work extensively with electronics and programming, allowing me to grasp crucial skills and concepts I wouldn’t otherwise find in my standard university curriculum. I truly believe [the project I am working on] has the potential to be scaled up and implemented in the real world for disinfecting facilities, which is a use-case more relevant now than ever before due to COVID-19.”
Another exciting aspect of the virtual internship is that it allows students to partake in research from all across the globe, when normally they would either need to stay at their on-campus apartment or find a summer sublease. From Champaign, to Abu Dhabi, to South Korea, our 11 interns are becoming pros at navigating research from afar! The interns meet as a group every Friday over Zoom to discuss the progress they have made each week on their projects.
We look forward to spotlighting our interns and the projects they are working on throughout the summer! Stay tuned here on our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make sure you don’t miss a thing!