This past summer I had the honor to join the Sub-Saharan Africa Data Team at the World Bank through the Data Science Internship Program. This invaluable experience would not have been possible without the help of Career Services throughout the whole application process, as well as the financial help through the Emerson Foundation - Data Science internship fellowship award.
During my time with the Data Team, I was involved in various different projects and I was exposed to a number of aspects associated with the respective field. While collaborating with an excellent group, I was able to apply and expand on concepts that I have been learning in the curriculum as a Data Science Major. In addition, I learned how to behave and mainly communicate in a professional environment, comprised of high-skilled individuals.
Within the first couple of weeks with the Bank, I was assigned to conduct research on how satellite imagery (night-time lights, agricultural activity) can be utilized to make accurate disaggregated GDP predictions for countries within the SAHEL Region. Moving forward, I began to familiarize myself with some more complex concepts regarding package development in RStudio. While learning about this concept, I was also introduced to Data Harmonization. This process involved gathering and consolidating data from various household surveys within the Sub-Saharan African Countries, ensuring homogeneity of over 300 variables. Through careful orchestration, these variables were unified into a cohesive framework, enabling a more streamlined and coherent analysis.
With the passing of the first half of my internship, my workload exponentially increased. After learning the basics, I actively contributed to the creation of potential R packages featuring over eight utility functions, all of which leveraged geospatial data. Through close collaboration with analysts within the Team, I conducted extensive testing and refining of these functions, successfully debugging over 80% of them. Our efforts resulted in enhanced performance and heightened accuracy across the board.
I am really grateful that I was a recipient of the Emerson Foundation - Data Science internship fellowship award, which gave me such an incredible opportunity to work for one of the largest intergovernmental organizations in the world. This experience was invaluable and will have a significant impact on my future career. I am eager to see what other Laurentians can do through this internship! Again, a huge thank you to the Emerson Foundation - Data Science internship fellowship!