Linh Nguyen spent the first week of her data science internship at Nasdaq this summer familiarizing herself with the underlying architecture of cloud technologies like Kubenetes, Apache Kafka and Amazon Web Services. She also had to figure out “what the heck a WebSocket is.”
By the end of her 10-week stint with the global financial services company’s Cloud Data Service team, Nguyen and her fellow interns from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brown University had developed a product that was just weeks away from production: a WebSocket (the two-way communication protocol used by web applications like email and Twitter) that can provide clients with a live market data feed.
“It’s kind of unbelievable considering we didn’t know much about the technology when we started out,” says Nguyen, a rising senior double-majoring in computer science and mathematics. “We are really proud of what we accomplished with the help of Nasdaq engineering support.”
Nguyen, an international student from Vietnam, landed a spot in the Nasdaq Futures Internship Program in early March, just before the coronavirus pandemic hit. She was relieved to learn that the program could continue remotely, although she knew it would be a much different experience than her software internship the previous summer at CAMP Systems International in Merrimack, N.H.
“It was a little awkward at first. Instead of your manager walking you around and introducing you to people, you would just talk to people when you got a Zoom link. But it turned out to be really awesome,” says Nguyen, who enjoyed working closely online with the two other interns on her team, which dubbed itself “Cloudy with a Chance of Data.”
Since they couldn’t network in person, Nguyen’s team took the initiative of inviting at least three different full-time employees to meet with them for 30 minutes on Zoom each week. She ended up learning from dozens of people in fields such as market surveillance, data science and index business.
For Nguyen, who was originally looking at business schools when applying to colleges in the United States, the Nasdaq internship opened her eyes to career paths in financial technology.
“Fintech offers the best of both worlds,” says Nguyen, who chose to study math and computer science at UML on the advice of her older brother, Viet, whom she lives with in Manchester, N.H.
Nguyen hadn’t been exposed to much computer science or coding as a high school student in Vietnam, but she quickly realized it was like working with pieces of a puzzle.
“One of the things I like about computer science is that I can leverage all those little pieces and put them together to make a product that I want,” she says. “The professors at UMass Lowell show us how, if you apply these really simple things on a larger scale, you can build something much more complex, like voice recognition.”
One thing Nguyen never imagined she’d learn about at UML was how tiger salamanders chew. But as an undergraduate research assistant in the Konow Lab her junior year, she worked with Asst. Prof. of Biological Sciences Nicolai Konow to study the functionality of the amphibian’s jaw muscles.
“I knew I wanted to get experience working in a research lab,” says Nguyen, who helped build 3D computer models with data taken from an X-ray camera.
“I’m having fun at UMass Lowell,” says Nguyen, who sees graduate school in her future after she gets a few years of work experience.
“Hopefully with Nasdaq,” she says. “I really like the team and it would be perfect to work with them again.”