Name: Foqia Shahid
Class Year: 2023
Major: Mathematics, Computer Science
Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan
Internship Organization: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Job Title: Research Fellow
What’s happening at your internship?
Simply put, geometry processing as a research field is concerned with the construction, manipulation, and simulation of 3D shapes and models. Concepts from mathematics and computer science are combined to design algorithms that are used for computer-aided design and scientific computing purposes.
As a research fellow at the Summer Geometry Institute (SGI), I’ve had the opportunity to conduct research in this field with faculty and research scientists. After an initial introduction to the field during the first week, we began working on various projects and research topics. I’ve worked on two projects: “Improved 2D Higher-Order Meshing” with Professor Marcel Campen and “Geometric Modeling for Isogeometric Analysis with Engineering Applications” with Angran Li and Kuanren Qian. While each project has its own unique demands, my work so far has been about exploring new ideas in the field and possibly implementing them as well.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I wanted to gain research experience in the mathematical and computational fields which is why SGI seemed like the perfect program to apply to. Geometry processing is a relatively new but vastly growing field of research. I was curious to see what kind of work was being done by researchers in the field. As I am also considering graduate school, I thought this would be a good opportunity to network and learn about graduate school programs.
What has been your favorite part of this internship?
The geometry processing community is an extremely welcoming and diverse community. Many groups are often underrepresented in research and so I was excited to see that SGI was actively seeking to increase diversity. Fellows from all around the world were joining in their own time zones, tutorial week was open to more students than the program accepted, and we got to work with professors and faculty across the globe. As an international student myself it was exciting for me to have this global reach through the program.
What skills are you learning and why they are important to you?
Since the projects last for a week or two, everything has been very fast paced and I’ve had to get myself familiarized with new concepts and technologies in a short amount of time. Consequently, I’ve also had to learn how to be comfortable with not knowing everything. For a given weeklong project, it’s not always possible to read all the past research papers or learn the required programming language. Through SGI, I became comfortable with learning on the go. I’d start each week by skimming through research papers and downloading the relevant software, however much of the learning was done during the week as the need arose.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.