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September 2020

Name: Aalap Parimalkumar Rana

Major: Robotics (Master of Engineering)University of Maryland, College Park

Career Goal: Through this internship I have gained industrial experience in ROS, machine design and navigation and autonomous maneuvering of robots. This internship has also provided me an opportunity to develop robots from the ground up. My career goal is to develop robots with a high level of intelligence and autonomy in a dynamic and multi-robot environment.

What is the culture like at your internship site?

The company “Kick Analytics LLC” is a small robotics startup, based out of Bethesda. I am part of a small team working from College Park consisting of 3 members. We use Agile Software Development practices to achieve a high degree of collaboration and transparency. We maintain the JIRA board to check our progress and conduct regular meetings to discuss issues. The work culture is flexible, we have the freedom to experiment with new ideas and the President is highly encouraging and supportive.

Who are the clients that you all work with? Who is the end-user?

Our client is DNR Chesapeake Bay.

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

Currently, I am working on moving robots autonomously with obstacle avoidance to a GPS location to sense gas leakage. I am also modifying the robot design to incorporate sensor systems and making the robot lightweight and multi-functional.

I had a background in electronics and programming but was unaware of the mechanical aspect of robotics. During the internship, I learned about mechanical designs and used tools like SOLIDWORKS to develop CAD models for the robot. Additionally, I assembled a 3D printer and used it to form a lightweight version of the robot. This helped me acquire a new skill in CAD modeling.

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

For the interview, I had reviewed my previous academic projects and topics in ROS. I would suggest everyone have a look at the company profile, products, and recent work. This will help in highlighting relevant skills and projects during the interview call. Do prepare for behavioral questions along with technical questions.

How did you find your internship position? Did you use a career center for help with a resume?

I had reached out to the president of the firm on LinkedIn along with my updated resume. Yes, the career center has helped me make my resume apt and informative.

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

A remote internship is different from the normal on-site internship as there is very little interaction between employees, and new interns require additional training and support to understand the current product. To overcome this problem for the first few weeks we had constant meetings with the team to discuss our doubts on previous documentation and codes. We were given full access to all code repositories which we could use.

Moreover, developing a fully functional robot requires proper hardware tools and workshop facility, we were provided with all kinds of tools and had the flexibility to order any component we needed, which made the assembling process easy and fun. For increasing the throughput of the development process in remote internship proper management and work allocation is critical. To achieve this, we used tools like JIRA to manage work allocation and used GitHub to maintain codes.