Intern success

Audra Koch proudly displays her painting.

As a graduate student in computer science, I was excited to learn about a machine learning internship at Brewer Science. Although much of my coursework has focused on machine learning, I have already learned much more during my internship by applying those algorithms to real-life applications.

During my time at Brewer Science, I experimented with neural networks to analyze the performance of gas and water sensors. One of my greatest challenges was creating a neural network that could work with complex numbers to better reflect the nature of electrical signals.

Although I was intimidated at first since I had practically no background in signal processing or working with imaginary numbers, I became more familiar with these topics through reading books and learning from my coworkers. There’s no better feeling than when difficult code finally compiles!

My role has also expanded to that of a “data scientist,” which I find is very similar to detective work! Using statistical software, I discovered several interesting patterns in the gas sensor data. After I presented my findings to the team, I realized just how important feedback and collaboration are for finding answers. Understanding the context of the data and how to interpret the results is just as important as knowing the statistical tools, and this knowledge comes only from communication with the domain experts.

Besides learning directly from my coworkers, I felt tremendous freedom in getting to learn from online resources and books. The most surprising thing about my internship is the amount of flexibility I had to learn about whatever interested me, and then I got to use my new knowledge in a way that benefits the company.

Most importantly, I appreciate working for a company that reflects my values. It is evident to me that the number one priority for Brewer Science is the well-being of the employees. The company mission, “A company of the people, by the technology, for the customer, to achieve fulfillment,” is backed up by a culture that trusts employees to do good creative work and pays for a 30-minute wellness break every single day. There are also many volunteer opportunities.

This summer, I volunteered at a horse camp called Power of Hope, which provides children with equine therapy. That day connected me to some amazing, compassionate people with a whole new perspective on life. Another thing that surprised me about Brewer Science was its emphasis on art. As someone who works in the tech field, I never thought I would have a company display my paintings at an art exhibit!

Overall, I would highly recommend the internship experience at Brewer Science. The skills I learned here are invaluable, but so are the life lessons I learned from the people. The cross-disciplinary focus and values of the company are some of the reasons I plan to apply for a full-time position after graduation.

Editor’s Note: The feature photo above was taken from Brewer Science’s Facebook page with the following caption: “We celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Pure Enjoyment Art Show with an Opening Reception on Friday, followed by dinner on the historic Walnut Street, one of the oldest streets in Springfield! Matt Bowie, Process Engineer, and Audra Koch, Machine Learning Intern are two of the featured artist this year! Matt’s photograph taken at Arches National Park , and Audra’s acrylic painting of an owl will be on exhibit at the Springfield Regional Arts Council The Creamery Arts Center…” 

Ironically, Matt Bowie contributed last year’s internship essay on behalf of Brewer, and now he is a process engineer!

Audra Koch

Audra Koch spent the summer of 2022 as a machine learning intern at Brewer Science.…

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