SRISHTI-22 : Journey of an Intern
I am Yashashree Chandak, a passionate third-year student of Information Technology at Pune Institute of Computer Technology. Since May 2022, I have had the incredible opportunity to work with Dr. Vishnu Sreekumar at MANDALAB as part of my SRISHTI internship. This internship has been a transformative experience, opening doors to the world of research and nurturing my skills in the field of Natural Language Processing (NLP). Join me as I take you through my journey and share the invaluable insights gained during this enriching period.
Discovering SRISHTI and IIIT Hyderabad:
Driven by a strong desire to delve into the realm of research, I embarked on a search for summer internships that would provide a solid foundation for my aspirations. Amidst exploring opportunities at various prestigious institutions, SRISHTI caught my attention. The research culture at IIIT Hyderabad, coupled with the inspiring stories of IIITH alumni like Shradha Sehgal, who graciously offers guidance, motivated me to apply for an internship here. Little did I know that this decision would shape my professional growth in profound ways.
Exploring the Fascinating Field of NLP:
The focal point of my internship revolved around studying the intriguing interplay between memory and language. Our research aimed to unveil whether language could reveal signatures of memory retrieval. Engaging in every aspect of the project, from data collection and processing to employing diverse machine learning models, I delved deep into the world of NLP. The project also entailed understanding the cognitive aspects of memory, unravelling the mysteries of human recollection.
Overcoming Challenges and Nurturing Growth:
Like any research endeavour, my internship presented its fair share of challenges. However, with the unwavering support and guidance of my mentor, Dr. Vishnu Sreekumar, I found the strength to overcome them. Dr. Sreekumar’s dedication, ambition, and flexible approach allowed me to explore ideas at my own pace. Witnessing his unwavering commitment to his work motivated me to push beyond my comfort zone and strive for excellence. Throughout this journey, I embraced the philosophy of continuous growth, always seeking to expand my horizons.
Unveiling the Hidden Potential:
My internship experience was not limited to theoretical knowledge but extended into the practical realm of research project development. From inception to execution, I embarked on a transformative journey, honing my skills and gaining insights into the intricate process. As I traversed through various stages, I had the privilege of contributing to research publications that resonated with top-tier conferences. These experiences have equipped me with the tools needed to navigate the intricate landscape of academia and research.
Embracing Collaboration and Networking:
Despite the remote nature of my internship, I had the opportunity to connect with Dr. Vishnu and fellow lab members through online platforms such as Slack. Engaging in regular lab meetings and journal club discussions allowed us to share progress, ideas, and delve into fascinating research papers. Though I occasionally envied the physical presence of my colleagues, who enjoyed games of frisbee and chess with Dr. Vishnu, the virtual collaboration proved to be an enriching experience. The lab became a space for shared learning, where knowledge was freely exchanged.
Highlights and Achievements:
One of the highlights of my internship was the acceptance of our abstract for the 9th Annual Conference of Cognitive Science (ACCS9) at IIT Delhi. Although I couldn’t attend and present due to university exams, it was a significant recognition of our work. Additionally, our research work has been accepted for presentation as a poster with abstract publication at CogSci 2023 (Sydney), a prestigious conference in the field.
Stepping Towards Future Endeavours:
Recently, I was selected as one of the six recipients across India for the Adobe India Women In Technology Scholarship 2023, sponsored by Adobe Research. This accomplishment not only validates the research work conducted during my internship but also paves the way for future opportunities.
Personal Growth and Reflections:
This SRISHTI internship has played a pivotal role in shaping me into a well-rounded individual. It has provided me with abundant opportunities to explore new avenues, discover my interests, and acquire a deeper understanding of conducting impactful research. From honing my coding abilities to enhancing my communication skills, every aspect of this journey has contributed to my personal and professional growth.
Words of Advice:
To current students seeking internships or research opportunities, I would encourage you to seize the benefits that such experiences offer. Approach mentors with confidence, as their support proves invaluable in both good and challenging times. Stay active on social media platforms, engaging with a diverse range of individuals and seeking advice. Explore social forums where organizations frequently post opportunities and connect with past scholars to gain further insights. As I reflect upon my SRISHTI internship experience at IIIT Hyderabad, I am filled with gratitude for the invaluable knowledge gained, the skills honed, and the meaningful connections established. This journey has solidified my passion for research, equipped me with invaluable experiences, and set the stage for a future dedicated to making a positive impact through technological innovations.
Supervisor’s Comments about Yashashree