This summer, computer science major Stepan Sharkov ’23 completed a virtual internship at CentraleSupélec, a French research institute in engineering and science. The internship was supported by the Global Studies Internship Program and the France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.
Over the course of seven weeks, Stepan focused on ways to use machine learning (ML) coding to analyze cell division. Seeing the applications of machine learning in biology was exciting because “I was able to see the interaction of CS in other fields,” he said.
Knowing machine learning is essential for any computer scientist interested in artificial intelligence, Stepan explained. Through the internship, “I learned a significant amount of theory of ML, as well as the practical usage of it in Python and scikit-learn libraries. I have also learned how to use ImageJ data processing tools to get data for ML,” he added.
During his time at CentraleSupélec, Stepan has also learned about the importance of asking thoughtful questions of his supervisors and colleagues. “I have learned that asking questions directly and asking more and more of them until the subject becomes clear is extremely important in a remote setting, because you have to know what your supervisor wants from you to the smallest level of detail,” he shared.
While his internship was supposed to take place in Paris, it shifted to a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I wanted to have an internship in France to improve my French and learn more about the culture. Although the internship ended up being remote, I have learned about the culture of working in France through work with my supervisor Behnam Taidi,” Stepan said.
The experience he gained through this internship has prepared him for the future, both academically and professionally. “I can refer to this experience as the most influential one professionally in future interviews and job applications. Also, when I take machine learning classes at Stanford, I will already know a significant amount of information, which will help me to succeed.”
He is hoping to publish a paper on the research he conducted at CentraleSupélec by the end of the calendar year. “I really loved this internship, and I would love to apply again for an internship next year in France,” he said.
The France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies brings faculty and students from across Stanford’s departments and schools together and into contact with colleagues in France, to explore issues of common intellectual concern, to advance collaborative research, and to foster interdisciplinary inquiry.
Visit the center’s website for information about funding opportunities including fellowships, internships, conferences, and collaborative research projects.