Internship Spotlight: Ananya Luthra

I started my journey at McGill University, Montreal in Fall 2020 as a Bachelor of Arts freshman student. Since day one I was clear I wanted to study Computer Science and Economics as my majors in the following years. As I know internships in your field of study provide you with an early exposure and experience of work culture during your degree which makes you well prepared for your future job or graduate studies, I started searching for an internship in the field of Computer Science as early as August 2020, a month before I started my studies at McGill.

The first interview that I faced was on September 2nd, 2020, and after facing a few interviews I got selected for a research internship at University of Denver which is located in the province of Colorado, United States. University of Denver is well known for its research reputation and students from here have worked in the field of research with NASA also. I was selected to work under the supervision of Dr. Sanchari Das, who is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science. Her research interests are Security and Privacy, Internet of Things and Cybersecurity. After the discussion, my supervisor gave me a project to work on a topic of my interest, "Systematic Literature Review Project on Autonomous Vehicles" focusing on their Security and Privacy.

The internship had the commencement date of June 14th, 2021, and 20th August was the date to conclude with providing me partial completion letter of the project. As my supervisor knew that I was a freshman student, she asked me to have knowledge of data analysis, RStudio, Python and statistics before the start of internship. I completed an online course on data analysis, with Python and Statistics on Coursera to develop required skills for the internship.

During this internship I had to perform certain duties and I was required to search any similar review papers that had been already done in the past so that my paper work would be new and different and not the repeated one. I searched hundreds of papers on Google Scholar, IEEE, DBLP, ACM, and Science Direct. I collected and downloaded the papers from all the platforms and also filtered the papers after 2010 that were related to Security and Privacy of Autonomous Vehicles. I had to analyze all the data and removed duplicate entries of the papers. I also carried out Meta-Analysis of the abstract of every paper manually and wrote an automated script that itself analyzed the sorted lists of papers. Towards the final step I carried out thematic analysis of the complete data. By the end of internship, I wrote a draft covering the entire research work done by me and submitted it to my supervisor. Throughout the internship period, I had meetings with my supervisor on a secured Zoom link of University of Denver. Initially meetings were fixed on Monday and Wednesday but as the work progressed my supervisor fixed a daily meeting to observe my work.

As this internship was based on a review project related Security and Privacy of Autonomous Vehicles and the topic is not covered under any course that I will study at McGill during my undergraduate degree, I shall not be earning any credit for this research work. An internship during my freshman year has provided me with an early learning opportunity and exposure to a research work culture that will boost my confidence in the field of Computer Science for my future.

It has also evolved me as a more responsible and disciplined person at an early age as throughout the internship I had to complete my work in time and present it to my supervisor in a way that she wanted me to do. Though it was a remote internship, and I was doing it from my home country (India), there was challenge to meet the time difference of 13 hours; still, I always managed to be on time to attend the meetings with my supervisor.

This research internship at University of Denver was unpaid but it was funded by "The Faculty of Arts Internship Awards" at McGill. This fund really helped me a lot to perform at my best during the internship period as I needed some books related to Python language and a high configuration laptop for computer programming especially for this internship and this award funding provided me the financial support for those reasons. As I have successfully completed my internship now, I look forward to fulfilling my responsibilities towards the Arts Internship Office, and other students who need my support as a mentor.

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