Seasons of Learning: 700+ Interns Take NVIDIA by Storm

by Lauren Finkle

There are no coffee runs in sight for NVIDIA interns. Unless it involves building vehicles to make those runs autonomously.

This year, more than 700 interns have joined NVIDIA across 30 global locations, most during the summer. Representing 120 schools and universities, these interns are working in teams as wide-ranging as machine learning, autonomous vehicles and robotics.

When they’re not on the job, interns are treated to a host of opportunities, such as exclusive talks with senior NVIDIA executives and researchers, tickets to events at Avaya Stadium and free NVIDIA SHIELD TVs.

They also get to take part in NVIDIA-sponsored volunteer events, including sorting food at Second Harvest Food Bank, preparing dental kits for local children and helping out at the Tech Museum in Silicon Valley.

Here are a few of the interns who made a difference at NVIDIA this summer.

Matl Wins Luck of the Draw

A Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, Carolyn Matl is interning in NVIDIA’s Robotics Lab in Seattle.

Matl discovered her passion for robotics while pursuing a B.S.E. in electrical engineering at Princeton. One of her major’s core requirements was “Building Real Systems,” a class in which students built self-driving miniature cars. Matl says, on the experience of combining hardware and software knowledge, “It was an aha moment for me. I thought, ‘I would love to keep doing this sort of work in the future.’”

But Matl’s internship at NVIDIA was luck of the draw — literally. While she was aware of NVIDIA’s Robotics Lab from the company’s presentations at various conferences, it never occurred to her that she could intern here until a fortuitous twist of fate.

NVIDIA was one of the sponsors of the 50th anniversary celebration of WICSE — Berkeley’s organization for Women in Computer Science and Engineering — of which Matl is a member. At the event, she entered her name and information for a chance to win an NVIDIA swag-filled raffle.

While Matl didn’t take home a prize, NVIDIA reached out to ask for her resume, and the rest is history. “I didn’t win any swag, but I did get the job,” she laughs.

At the Robotics Lab, Matl is working on the manipulation of granular materials in a kitchen setting. “This brings together so many subjects — physics, graphics, statistics, machine learning. And we have experts from all of these different fields within NVIDIA. Being here allows me to collaborate with so many people that I wouldn’t necessarily have access to at one lab,” she says.

Looking ahead, she hopes to work in an industrial research lab after graduation.

Hyder Works Hard and Hangs Ten

As a computer science major at McGill University, and vice president of both the Computer Science Undergraduate Society and the competitive programming club, Andrea Hyder was up to the challenge of interning on NVIDIA’s software engineering team. 

She spent the summer documenting the verification of the NVCC compiler optimization. Hyder leavened that work by putting together the first intern surfing day, which has now evolved into a club with its own Slack channel. 

Hyder said that, aside from her exciting work, the cohesive intern program made her summer a memorable one: “This is my first time at a job where there’s been so many diverse people that want to do the things I want to do.” Hyder also went backpacking and rock-climbing with her fellow interns during her time in the Bay.

Hyder is now back at McGill for her senior year, after which she plans to join the tech world.

Second Time’s the Charm for Curtin

Jack Curtin is no stranger to NVIDIA — this was his second stint interning with the technical marketing team at the company.

Now a junior at Binghampton University, in New York, the computer science major had his sights set on NVIDIA for several years before his dream became reality in the summer of 2018.

As a veteran intern this summer, Curtin worked on the BERT natural language processing model, training a network on multiple nodes. He said that his manager and the rest of the staff at NVIDIA encouraged him to follow his passions — he had the chance to explore and work on several different projects, allowing him to gain more knowledge in deep learning.

Curtin, captain of the water polo team back at Binghampton, took excursions with the intern surf club to help stay in shape.

He hopes to return next summer, for a third go-round, potentially in a different department. After graduating, Curtin says that he’d like to return to NVIDIA again as a full-fledged employee. “I have all the T-shirts, so it’d be weird to not work here,” he jokes.

If the stories above sound like the internships you’ve always wanted, read more about NVIDIA’s internship program.