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Expanded Opportunities for Summer Internships

April 13, 2017

This year, the Graduate School introduced two new summer courses dedicated to applied research experience. These Continuing Practical Training (CPT) courses will facilitate doctoral student participation in summer internships and provide them with high-level professional experience outside the academy. GSAS has already seen an increase in summer internships, and many more international students are taking advantage of the new CPT opportunities than ever before. Yale students will be interns at companies that include Tesla, IBM, Microsoft, Uber, Intel, Vimware, Ellington Management Group, and more. Google alone will host at least six Yale graduate student interns.

Here’s a sampling of who they are and what they will be doing.

Xiaochen Wang (Public Health) will work in the Statistical Innovation Department of Takeda Oncology, a pharmaceutical company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At Takeda, she will simulate clinical trials using electronic medical records (EMR). Wang anticipates that the work will relate closely to her PhD research in biostatistics, which focuses on how to use EMR data to deliver better treatment to patients. EMR includes hospital patients' admission information such as diagnoses, procedures, medications, test results, and more. “It would be very exciting if we could find some causal relation from EMR that sheds light on the treatment of diseases and precision medicine,” she says. Wang was born and raised in China and earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Fudan University. While doing research on breast cancer, she identified several pathways closely related to metastasis, and “realized that I could apply statistical methods to public health and improve patients' outcomes,” she says. She switched from math into public health and came to Yale three years ago to pursue her goal.

Several students will spend the summer at Google. One is Zeyu (Zach) Wang (Computer Science), who will focus on image creative automation. His research interests include digital heritage, VR/AR, 3D graphics, visual perception, and artificial intelligence, and he plans to focus on computer graphics and vision for his dissertation. Wang is pleased that this internship will give him with useful practical experience in the field. Born and raised in Handan, China, he earned his undergraduate degree in the Department of Machine Intelligence in the School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science at Peking University.

Also interning at Google this summer, Natalie Doss (Statistics and Data Science) will work on a problem related to prediction with big data. Her Yale research focuses on clustering problems. “In clustering, the goal is to partition data into groups of points so that the data within each group are close to each other but far apart from the data in the other groups,” she says. “I think doing a practical internship will help me whether I go into academia or industry,” she says. Doss was born in Florida, grew up in Ohio, and went to the University of Chicago as an undergraduate.

Yuzhe (Vincent) Zhao expects to gain valuable industrial experience working on deep learning and “ads blindness” at Google this summer. Deep learning is a machine learning technique that performs better on some tasks than traditional machine learning, Zhao says, and ads blindness research is a method to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising. His dissertation project explores machine learning theory and its application on discrete random variables. He is also interested in crowdsourcing and natural language processing. Zhao comes from Shanghai, China, and did his undergraduate studies at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Chun Hu (Pharmacology) has a summer internship at Genentech in San Francisco, where he will work in the Molecular Oncology Department studying how phagocytosis is regulated in innate immunity. Phagocytes are cells that protect the body by ingesting harmful foreign particles like bacteria or dead cells, and phagocytosis is the process they use. “Working closely with Genentech scientists will help me tremendously in preparing for a career as a translational research scientist,” he says. The project will allow me to answer basic questions about phagocytic signaling in a cancer biology context, while simultaneously exploring the potential to design combinational therapies for patients in need. I will also learn many cutting-edge techniques to be used in my dissertation research.” Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Hu came to the U.S. to earn his bachelor’s degree at Emory University.