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At LEAP, nearly 300 Mount Holyoke students present about their internships and research experiences. You will hear from future policy makers, activists, entrepeneurs, data scientists, teachers, researchers, and market analysts. Most will tell stories of unmitigated success and transformative learning. Others will share details of unexpected challenges they faced, and how they were required to shift and adapt in response. Students worked in 42 countries in every imaginable field. They will discuss important issues of social justice, relate how they met challenges of communication and expression in new contexts, and talk about how to find and succeed in summer internships.

LEAP is designed to give students who aspire to undertake internships and summer research the opportunity to learn from their peers. It is also for the whole Mount Holyoke community where family, friends, faculty, staff and our alumnae come together to celebrate the work and contributions of the presenters.

We are hugely impressed by students in College 211 and inspired by their individual success and collective learning. Their work in bringing the LEAP Symposium to fruition was exceptional. We thank the faculty, staff, alumnae, donors, and internship and research providers whose contributions have make this event possible.

LEAP presenters: Congratulations.
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Friday, October 20 • 3:45pm - 4:40pm
Academia vs Technology: a Common Technology Crossroads

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A very crucial moment in a student’s life is to make a decision regarding their career post-graduation. As students in computer science, the panelists have all faced the common dilemma of deciding between pursuing academia or industry. Researchers in academia lead cutting-edge innovations in labs and mentor young minds as teachers in various universities. Software engineers join companies of all sizes to design flexible and scalable solutions, and work on some of the most complex challenges in large-scale computing. As a panel with experience in gaming research, full-stack engineering at WalmartLabs, VR research, front-end engineering at Amazon and ubiquitous computing research, the panelists aim to create a discussion that will provide the attendees information regarding these common crossroads and how they tackled the dilemma. The panelists will also draw from their experiences and compare the skills learned at college and those that were required at their summer work.


Barbara Lerner

Associate Professor of Computer Science

avatar for Xijie  Guo

Xijie Guo

Through Conducting a Research Internship in Germany: Challenges and Reaffirmation of Sticking with Computer Science, Computer Science Major
As a computer science major who loves experiencing new culture and lifestyle, conducting a research internship abroad was perfect for me. Through matching by DAAD RISE Program, I interned at University of Rostock and conducted research in the field of ubiquitous computing. The research... Read More →
avatar for Tracy Keya

Tracy Keya

The intersectionality of Roles: Product Manager and Software Engineer, Computer Science Major
Having spent previous summers involved in teaching high school girls how to code, it was time to gain some industry experience. Last summer, I was a software engineering intern at WalmartLabs in Sunnyvale, CA. This being my first technical internship, I was more than anxious to be... Read More →
avatar for Jenny  Lee

Jenny Lee

Virtual Reality is Real, Computer Science & Math Major
In recent years, virtual reality has become a new favorable technology because of its potential in gaming. Games in a virtual reality environment can bring players unprecedented experiences. This summer, Jenny worked on an independent research project on virtual reality game design... Read More →
avatar for Madeleine


US Fish & Wildlife IT Internship Provides Useful Perspective Between Government and Academia, Computer Science Major
My internship at the Hadley Regional Office of US Fish & Wildlife exposed me to a variety of real-world IT problems and issues. One of my main tasks was manning the Help Desk, where I interacted with people all over the East Coast, from North Carolina to Maine. I worked five days... Read More →
avatar for Aastha  Niraula

Aastha Niraula

Summer at Amazon, Computer Science Major
I worked as a software development engineering intern at Amazon this summer. Specifically, I interned with Amazon Video and worked on front-end engineering. Using languages like JavaScript, TypeScript, CSS and HTML, I designed, implemented and tested a real-time graph reflecting the... Read More →

Friday October 20, 2017 3:45pm - 4:40pm EDT
Kendade 203