Internship Spotlight: Where Are They Now?

During the summer of 2023, the Data Science Building at Swansea University welcomed a cohort of interns to the Population Data Science Summer Internship Program.

This program facilitates exposure to a diverse range of opportunities, with interns actively acquiring real-world experience, gaining access to anonymised data, and utilising technical systems/platforms. The Population Data Science award-winning team provides mentorship and guidance, allowing interns to develop their skills and gain valuable experience for their future careers.

As we gear up for the incoming wave of interns, let’s take a moment to reflect on the journeys of Shamsudeen Mohammed and Sambhav Dave, both integral members of last year’s internship cohort. Join us as we explore their accomplishments and current endeavours, offering insights into the transformative power of the Population Data Science Summer Internship Program.

A spotlight on their work last year

Shamsudeen Mohammed

During his time with Population Data Science, Shamsudeen’s project was: ‘Using the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) in routine data research’. With guidance from his line manager Dr Hywel Turner Evans and mentor Carys Jones, he noted:

“I developed my skills in data analysis using R and gained experience working in a multidisciplinary team. I also gained an understanding of SAIL Databank’s information governance policies and procedures, which gave me insights into data protection and confidentiality.”

Alongside this, Shamsudeen received the Internship program’s ‘Best Presentation Award’.

Sambhav Dave

Sambhav’s project during his internship was: ‘Python Package Development for Concept Library Client’. He was supported by his line manager Artur Zinnurov & mentor Ting Wang. He was motivated to apply for the internship due to the overall subject area, and when looking at the experience he gained, he noted:

“I have gained a significant number of technical skills that I didn’t know before. I have gained industry-level software development experience as well. This will surely help me in my future career.”

Where are the interns now?

Following on from last summer, we checked in with both Shamsudeen and Sambhav to see where they are now, and how this experience has helped them further their careers and aspirations…

Shamsudeen Mohammed

Please summarise what you were doing before starting the internship

“I was a research degree student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine when I applied for the internship. I applied because of my interest in population health research and my aspiration for a career in population data science. I was thrilled to receive an offer for the internship.

What did your internship project involve?

My internship project involved the use of electronic primary care data from the SAIL Databank to examine the risk of endogeneity bias when using the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) in health research. WIMD is an area-based composite measure that ranks geographic areas in Wales based on eight domains of deprivation. Researchers commonly use it to account for area-level deprivation, but the methods of incorporating WIMD in studies can vary, potentially impacting study results.

The SAIL analytical services team provided a collaborative and supportive atmosphere, with real-world experience and a sense of the work environment. I had the privilege of being mentored by Hywel Turner Evans, whose pivotal role in my internship journey cannot be overstated. Hywel’s patience and guidance were instrumental in helping me understand the workings of the SAIL Databank, its data management practices, and information governance protocols. His supportive mentorship approach allowed me to take ownership of aspects of the project under his supervision, further developing my data analysis skills. The internship also improved my project management skills and taught me the value of teamwork in a multidisciplinary environment. Beyond the technical skills, Hywel provided vital career mentorship. With his encouragement and the team’s support, I delivered an impactful presentation at the population data science intern showcase and was awarded the best presentation for my work on the WIMD project. The panel’s encouragement inspired me to pursue publishing the findings from the project, recognising the potential impact it could have on research across various disciplines.

What happened immediately after the internship & did it equip you to find employment in a chosen field?

My work with Hywel and the SAIL team did not end with the internship. I continued to work closely with them, and we successfully wrote up the analysis into a manuscript and submitted it to a peer-reviewed journal for consideration. After the internship, I continued to reach out to Hywel for career advice as I entered the final year of my PhD programme. His insights were useful through my job applications, interviews for postdoctoral positions, and leveraging the highly marketable data science skills I gained through the internship. A few months after the internship, I received offers for postdoctoral positions at the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The summer internship was truly transformative, thanks to the exceptional mentorship, innovative research opportunities, and supportive team environment. I am grateful to the SAIL Databank and the internship organisers for providing a platform that has shaped my career trajectory in population data science. I highly recommend the summer internship to any student looking to develop practical data science skills and exposure to population health research.”

Sambhav Dave

Please summarise what you were doing before starting the internship

The internship was a three-month part-time stint for me, as at the time of the internship I was a full-time MSc (Computer Science) student at Swansea University Bay Campus.

What did you do during your internship?

I played the role of a Python developer helping the team to make an API client serving the researchers at the university in carrying out their research tasks efficiently using Python programming language.

What happened immediately after the internship?

I continued my studies since the summer break was over. But I joined as a Student Teaching Assistant at the university, immediately after this internship. I also was searching for job opportunities on the side since my course was about to end in January 2024.

Did it equip you to find employment in a chosen field?

Oh absolutely. I honed my skills in software development using Python and Django framework. Frequent guidance and strong moral support from Hywel, Artur (my immediate supervisor), and the whole of the SAIL team helped me in my assignments whenever I was stuck or whenever I reached out to them for any sort of advice as such. Lastly, I have returned to India (my home) and have joined a product-based company as a Senior Automation Test Engineer. I believe this internship experience surely added a couple of brownie points due to which I sort of already had one nice job at hand as soon as I landed in India. Overall, a great experience, thanks to everyone at Swansea University and SAIL for providing this opportunity.

Looking back at what Shamsudeen and Sambhav have achieved highlights the benefits of this internship program, showcasing how it equips individuals with the skills and experiences needed to thrive in their chosen field. With the next cohort of interns currently going through the selection process, we look forward to see what this summer holds and what projects and career milestones lay ahead.

Find out more about last year’s internship program here: https://popdatasci.swan.ac.uk/about-us/summer-internship-programme/