Every summer, Education Analytics welcomes a new cohort of interns to support our teams. Not only is the summer an ideal time for students to complete a paid internship, but it is also when demand for our services is highest, as our teams dive into data analysis from the previous school year and deliver results before the upcoming school year. The intern program began at EA in 2014, when our Analyst team wanted to grow their pipeline of future programmers by hiring students who might not have prior programming experience but demonstrated an interest in developing programming skills. Since 2014, the internship program has grown, affording us the opportunity to bring on additional interns to support projects on other teams at EA, including Software Engineering, Data Strategy, Impact, Business Development, Finance & Accounting, Program Operations, People Operations, and the Future Forward program.
EA benefits immensely from the diverse range of perspectives and insights that interns bring to our organization, and we wanted to highlight this year’s cohort and their achievements. We invited them to share their thoughts about their internship experience at EA and reflect on how they think the workforce and the education field are going to change as AI continues to gain mainstream interest and popularity.
Meet the 2023 Summer Interns
Carly Benson, Analyst Team
Carly Benson attends Yale University, and she returned to EA for her second summer as an intern on the Analyst team. She was excited to work with new data visualization tools and grow her SQL skills.
Bhenzel Cadet, Analyst Team
Bhenzel Cadet attends Bucknell University and was an intern on the Analyst team. Bhenzel was most excited to improve his coding skills, learn R, and learn how to web scrape.
Mahnur Khalid, Analyst Team
Mahnur Khalid attends the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and was an intern on the Analyst team. Mahnur was most excited to create data visualizations using R and conduct research.
This year’s cohort of interns was an enthusiastic, vibrant group of students who displayed incredible drive in their work and a strong commitment towards learning more about EA. I was particularly impressed by the creativity and depth of their independent projects and their dedication to forming community with one another, even when part of their cohort worked remotely. Their contributions from the summer will be of great use in new and ongoing projects at EA and we are very grateful for their innovation, time, and energy!
2023 Summer Intern Projects
Along with completing other assignments and projects assigned to them by their team mentors, EA interns spend a significant part of their internship designing a project of their choosing to work on throughout the summer. The intern-led projects serve as a unique opportunity for students to explore a question or issue they are interested in finding a solution for. Throughout the process of developing their projects, each intern is given guidance, support, and feedback from their mentors to ensure they are on-track and prepared to present their projects to EA staff at the end of the summer.
To demonstrate the wide range of work from this year’s cohort, below we highlight the projects some of our interns completed.
“My intern project involves creating external documentation, like sample base code and SQL queries, that analysts and researchers at our partner organizations can utilize once they have Stadium implemented. The goal behind this project is to give our partners a bit of a starting point with Stadium and make the product feel more accessible to them.”
“This year, I worked on an intern project centered around public data. My primary responsibility was to develop an automated web scraping solution to gather data from various websites for all 50 states. The aspect that interests me the most about this project is the opportunity to apply my technical skills in a practical and impactful manner.”
“I looked at the demographics of the student population that EA serves across growth projects and compared this population to the US student population and to the EA staff population. I hope that my project will help to spark a lot of new questions and conversations at EA that are student-specific, especially surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
“My main project this summer was updating the Future Forward website. I love crafting media content and creating things that are visually pleasing, and I’m learning a lot about Future Forward and the education space in the process.”
“My intern project was about investigating income indicator metrics and reliability within public data. This project was interesting for me because it gave me an equal opportunity to conduct outside research on the prompt but also apply coding skills towards creating visualizations for the data I found and understanding the data better.”
“For my intern project, I studied a rich dataset that included survey responses from parents, students, and educators in K-12. I analyzed data at a school level and studied how parents, teachers, and students perceived the school environment and I tried to see if there was a pattern between perception over time, and whether there was an association between those perceptions and how students perform after high school.”
Q&A with the Interns
We wanted to hear from this year’s cohort about their experiences at EA this summer, what they hope to take away from their internships, and how they think AI is going to influence the workforce and the work we do in the education sphere. Here’s what they had to say:
What interested you in working at EA?
- Bhenzel: “I was thrilled to learn about EA’s focus on supporting diverse, often under-represented student populations and its commitment to building a team with a breadth of educational experiences. I was also excited about the opportunity to work closely with the full-time analyst staff at EA, and to build my programming, statistical, and technical communication skills.”
- Carly: “As a statistics and education major, it’s still relatively difficult to find something that combines both fields, so this position on the Analyst team was very appealing to me. I also like that EA is in the education space, but still very technologically advanced. Being in a technical field, or wanting to go into a technical field, there’s a lot of opportunity out there, but not all of it feels impact-driven, so I really wanted to do something where every single day I felt like I was doing something meaningful.”
- Linh: “Initially, I was just looking for opportunities to explore the intersection of education and data science, and that’s when I stumbled upon EA’s website. I quickly discovered that EA is focused on being human-centered and is actively working to improve public education, so EA’s mission is what drew me in. The environment at EA also seemed very nice and welcoming and my experience at EA so far definitely aligns with that initial impression.”
For Carly, our returning intern who started at EA in June 2022: What interested you in continuing your internship with EA?
- Carly: “I enjoy the people I work with and the work environment at EA because we have so much variety in our work on the Analyst team. There are always opportunities to work on new things or try new projects, so I knew I was still going to have a super valuable experience here as a returning intern this summer.”
What have you learned during your time here that you’ll be able to apply to your studies and/or future employment opportunities?
- Sarah: “A specific skill that I learned was how to work with data using data.table and ggplot2 in R. These tools have helped me to efficiently manipulate and visualize large amounts of data in customizable and replicable ways. I’ve also learned about the different roles that are involved in working with education data. Projects at EA involve a variety of individuals, including data strategists, analysts, engineers, and researchers, all with specialized skills that help with making data-driven decisions.”
- Mahnur: “I was able to learn R, data cleaning, data quality assurance, creating visualizations, and a handful of technical skills applicable towards data analysis. I’ve also been able to learn better time management skills, understand the culture of a professional workspace, gain independence and understanding within my work schedule, and learn how to lead my own research and analysis.”
- Linh: “Working with education data at EA feels very different from working with dummy data sets at school. Real world data is much messier, and I’ve spent a lot more time cleaning data sets and getting to know data sets before doing data analysis; whereas the data I work with in class is already in a tidy format, so there’s a lot less cleaning and exploration.”
How do you think AI is going to change the workforce in the coming years?
- Bhenzel: “I have only recently begun to see the advancements in AI technology and how it can easily omit the process of repetitive and mundane tasks. I am excited to dive deeper into the computational aspects of AI and what it will do for our society. Although this is all true, I also think individuals need to pay even more attention to the need for data privacy.”
- Kasia: “I hope that AI changes the workforce for the better. I think it will automate routine tasks in a way that allows employees to focus more energy on creative, empathic, and complex work, while also creating new jobs to implement and manage AI.”
- Linh: “I think in the education space, there are still aspects of this field that cannot and should not be replaced by AI. A great deal of empathy and nuance goes into making these decisions at the educational level. I think that yes, AI can support and assist in making those decisions but ultimately, there is a human lens that cannot be replaced.”
Have you seen AI create changes within your own educational experiences at school? If so, how?
- Mahnur: “Within my educational experiences, AI has changed my understanding of technology and its possibilities. In the past, I’ve been prompted by a professor to write a paper about a topic by myself and then a paper about the same topic using AI and compare them for research purposes. Experiences like these have changed my perspective on AI and also helped me learn how AI can impact the educational side of things, both positively and negatively.”
- Kasia: “ChatGPT was a controversial topic in my last few years of college, as many professors considered it a mechanism for cheating on assignments. As a communications major, I had many conversations about the efficacy of AI communications tools and the way they impact creative thought/expression.”
- Carly: “Not necessarily changes, but we’ve become more aware of AI and policies have been implemented to determine when you are and aren’t allowed to use AI. I had one professor last semester who would ask ChatGPT statistics questions and then he would put the answers on our homework, and we would have to figure out what ChatGPT got right and wrong, which I feel like was a good exercise in working with AI because ChatGPT would often respond with inaccurate information.”
It was a pleasure to work with this cohort of interns. During their time at EA, I watched them build coding skills in multiple languages and make significant contributions to analyst projects. They were enthusiastic learners and had a great camaraderie. Their enthusiasm extended to office contests, too - nobody stood a chance against the interns when it came to any game or scavenger hunt!
EA’s internship program continues to be an asset, year after year, in helping support the work we do with and for our partners, while also infusing the unique perspectives each cohort brings into the organization. The intern program is one of the strategies we use to ensure we continue to foster a diverse pipeline of talent and maintain an inclusive work environment. We hope that the internship program will continue to steer interested and passionate students towards a career path in the fields of education, data, and technology. In the past, EA has been fortunate to bring on several of our interns as part-time or full-time employees after the completion of their internships—and whether with EA or other organizations, the primary goal of our internship program is to help students find meaningful and impactful work.
Interested in working for EA?
Check out our Careers page for current opportunities to join our team!