Life at Citrine

Citrine Informatics regularly takes on summer interns. A great way to get fresh thinking and find great talent.

Aastha Sharma

Aastha Sharma, summer intern

Aastha Sharma was on our DARE (Data and Artificial Intelligence Research) team as an intern during Summer ‘21. 

Why take an internship at Citrine? 

I am a PhD candidate specializing in ultrafast photophysics research in Josh Vura-Weis’s research group at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After attending Materials Research Society Fall 2019 Conference, I learnt about Citrine’s data driven approach for accelerated materials research and development. As an experimental materials scientist, I firmly believe that over the next decade, high-performance computing, automation and machine-learning will transform the way we perform materials science research. As Citrine is at the forefront of this technology, I wanted to learn from the best people in the field.

What did you focus on during your internship?

I focused on researching and implementing methods to quantify chemical similarity in formulation specific problems.  

What did you learn from your internship and how did your internship help you achieve your goals?

This was my first research experience in an industrial setting. I learnt that it is important to prioritize some tasks over another and efficiently use my time, especially in a fast-paced research environment. Everyone in the Data and AI Research Engineering team are scientists with exceptional software engineering skills. As someone with limited coding background, being a DARE member was overwhelming at first. However, with their guidance, patience, and mentorship, I was able to learn and pick up computational skills which will be useful not only in my PhD research, but also in my future career.   

What was your favorite part of being an intern at Citrine?

I really enjoyed my time at Citrine. My mentor, Gregor Robinson, was very supportive and genuinely invested in my growth throughout the internship. I also enjoyed being a part of the Women @ Citrine group and the conversations during those meetings. Citrine’s push towards employee growth is an important value from my perspective. 

Andrew Dibnhol, Summer Intern

Andrew Dinhobl was on our DARE (Data and Artificial Intelligence Research) team as an intern during Summer ‘21. 

Why take an internship at Citrine? 

Since I graduated with my Bachelors in Chemical Engineering, I’ve spent time in a few positions doing industrial chemical engineering, but I’ve always been interested in technology and problem-solving. More recently I have been pursuing my Masters in Computer Science with a focus on software, data, and machine learning (ML). I wanted to get exposure to how these tools are applied to challenges in the sciences, so I was excited when I saw the opportunity an internship at Citrine offered.

What did you focus on during your internship?

My project focused on the featurization of time series data, which means trying to find ways to extract useful information from data that spans time, for the training of ML models.  A lot of the processes and properties associated with materials and chemicals take the form of time series or, more generally, curves. In a small data setting, it can be difficult to create useful features without overfitting (too closely matching to the training data rather than generalizing) to the data you have. My work focused on finding methods to select useful features and benchmark how they impact the larger ML problem.

What did you learn from your internship?

I learned how to conduct a research software project to answer questions that could expand the capabilities of an organization. This was valuable because it’s a very common scenario: someone has an idea, now we need to explore it to determine whether it’s worthwhile to pursue and productize. To that end, the internship helped me achieve my goals because I gained experience looking at real-world technical problems, choosing what to explore, and implementing a prototype.

What was your favorite part of being an intern at Citrine? 

My favorite part of being an intern at Citrine was that I could discuss technical, and sometimes not so technical, ideas with my mentor and the wider DARE team. 

I liked the company’s focus on Inclusion, because even as an intern who would be there for only a few months, people went out of their way to help me with my project, include me in discussions, and learn about my goals. I felt welcomed as a member of the team.

Anything else you’d like to share about your internship experience? 

I had a lot of fun with the internship! Now that I’m going back to school, I will be taking a powerful set of tools that will make me more productive in research and software projects.

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