February 2021

Intern of the Month - Feb 2021

Sudharsan Balasubramani, Masters in Robotics, University of Maryland

Career Goal – how will this  internship move you closer to your career goal?

My career goal is to become a successful R&D Robotics Engineer, who can design and develop Robotics products that are useful in people’s daily life.

Thanks to John Crupi, CEO at Kick Robotics, I started as a Robotics Research and Web Engineer – Intern at Kick Robotics, it has been a great experience where I was fortunate enough to start product and software development from scratch and lot of freedom to design and experiment with different ideas, algorithms, & concepts and collaborate with others to develop the desired final product. The constraints in the product development were challenging and extremely rewarding to develop and see the product giving us the result we want despite the constraints and challenges endured.

I am incredibly happy and glad to work on various aspects in a robotics product development process like design & prototype hardware, interfacing embedded components, circuit fabrication, software design and development. I am confident that getting better at what I do at Kick robotics will be fruitful in achieving my career goal.

1. What is the culture like at your internship site? 

Currently, my internship is a remote work, so I work from home. It is very casual because of Covid, but we communicate often use Slack to communicate.  We have group meetings bi-weekly.

2. Are you working on any exciting projects that you want to share? Have you learned any exciting new skills that were unexpected?

The customers are those who require wide area environmental monitoring on both and in water. Currently, we are working with researchers from the University of Maryland Extension using our robots to monitor nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay.

3. Are you working on any exciting projects that you want to share? Have you learned any exciting new skills that were unexpected?

Kick Robotics has a low-cost, autonomous environmental platform which uses wireless mesh technology to communicate over long distances. I have been involved with developing the software for onboarding and communicating across robots using ZigBee technology. This requires deep understanding of wireless low-bandwidth communication as well as understanding storing our telemetry data in the Redis database system.

4. How did you prepare for the interview? Can you share any tips for your fellow students?

I prepared myself ahead of the interview by thinking about projects that I worked on during my academic life. I spoke about various tasks that I have completed and strategies I have used when working with a team.  During interview, I tried to have  confidence and enthusiasm for the internship role.

My suggestion to fellow students would be to keep learning in your area of interest and prepare yourself well on things that you already know and be thorough with it. This way you can be more confident in your interview process and be able perform better.

5. How did you find your internship position?

I found this internship via a posting in careers4engineers portal at UMD, CP. Yes, career center helped me tailor my resume and helped me whenever I want to apply to a specific job posting with unique requirements. They are immensely helpful and responsive even after I graduated from the university.

6. Please share anything that you think makes a strong remote internship.

Understanding the goals and objectives of your employer and having good communication. Because there are other interns who are remote, working as a team could be difficult. However, using collaboration tools like Slack to share ideas and keep other teammates apprised of your work is important and beneficial.