Shubhra Tewari ’21 Learns Code to Develop New Programs with Stormlight Consulting

Vague terms like computer science, software engineering, and web development have been floating around my head for several years now. To be honest though, when I first decided to incorporate them into my education and future career, I’m not sure I even knew what they meant or what kind of work they entailed. I had taken a computer science class in high school and another one when I first got to Whitman, but all I knew was that whatever internship I got was going to involve coding to solve problems of some kind. Now, as I make my way through my internship with Stormlight Consulting, I have a much better understanding of the kind of work a beginner in the software industry might do on a daily basis. And it is awesome.

Since my internship is remote, not only have I gotten an exercise in self-discipline and flexibility, but have also improved my communication skills, since my supervisor and I check in over video chat a few times per week and I need to be able to explain the work I am doing, what I need help with, and what my next steps should be on a current project (or what my next exciting project should be!).

To quickly learn the basics of important web development languages and concepts, I have taken a huge variety of online courses, including Python, HTML, JavaScript, HTTP, Amazon Web Services, Flask, and GitHub. My supervisor and I have worked to develop projects that help me learn more about these concepts and apply them to actual programs that his company is developing.

My first project was a simple website called Charity Finder, which helps people find a charity to support based on a particular interest or passion they have. Using HTML templates with a few modifications and a file that gives the data for the charities, I was able to create this website as a marker for what I have learned so far.

Since then, I have dived into work with Amazon Web Services, helping contribute to my supervisor’s latest project by managing secrets such as API keys and becoming more familiar with DynamoDB. It is so exciting to be able to initiate many of my own projects and learning through this internship, and to have the support of a supervisor who is always ready to answer my questions and help me complete different goals.

I now see not only the vague concept of computer science as something I have wanted to center my education around, but also the countless problems that can be solved with different applications, and the amazingly diverse ways in which the software industry can change the world. As a young woman of color going into this heavily male-dominated industry, I could not feel more honored to have the opportunity to keep learning and studying these concepts, and eventually, hopefully, use them to help encourage more women to join in!

Experiences like Shubhra’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff

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