Name: Vitalii Stebliankin
Hometown: Yekaterinburg, Russia
Ph.D. Student, SCIS, Bioinformatics Research Group (BioRG);
In Summer 2020, I was lucky to work in Assurant Inc. as a Data Engineering Intern. During my internship, I worked on a data processing pipeline migration from SQL Server into a Databricks cloud platform. I developed an end-to-end data transformation process that includes calculating earnings, premiums, and summaries of the Domestic Mobile line of business. By exploiting the Spark framework, I improved computational time and resource efficiency. This project will allow the Data Analytics team to run the pipeline more frequently, and Assurant will be able to adjust business decisions after receiving the most up-to-date information.
Assurant is a great place to start your carrier. A friendly and supportive atmosphere will never let you feel uncomfortable. My manager, Manuel Alayon, was carefully monitoring my work progress and was very generous with help and suggestions. Assurant assigns interns with the project that has potential value to the business. While working on the industry-based big data frontier, you learn much faster when you feel that your work is making the difference. Flexibility is also the strength of the Assurant. They quickly adapted to a COVID pandemic and made the internship program entirely online. Toleration in working hours flexibility allows you to balance work, study, and personal life.
Besides Assurant, I was actively involved in several other projects. For example, I volunteered at The FIU Academy For CS Education, led by Dr. Giri Narasimhan. The goal of this non-profit organization is to make Computer Science accessible to all students and increase the participation of females, minorities, and the economically underprivileged in STEM fields. We collaborated with code.org and successfully organized 2-week long Computer Science Principles (for high school teachers) and Computer Science Discoveries (for middle school teachers) programs. At the same time, together with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, we organized a week-long CS Teacher Certification Training Workshop that aims to help participants to pass the Florida Teacher Certification Examination (FTCE). All training sessions were handled online with the Zoom platform. Overall, we trained over 30 teachers this summer and received only positive feedback.
As you can see with an example of Assurant and the Academy for CS Education, COVID-19 can’t stop industrial and educational workflows. However, no matter how adaptive you are, there are still many aspects of personal and professional life that are missing because of the social isolation. The danger of the SARS-CoV-2 virus motivated many scientists around the globe to narrow the focus on this problem. FIU is no exception. During the summer, I have joined a newly formed multi-disciplinary COVID-informatics team. The group includes members of School of Computing and Informational Sciences (Dr. Giri Narasimhan, Dr. Ananda Mondal, Dr. Trevor Cikovski), Department of Physics (Dr. Prem Chapagain) and Biological Sciences (Dr. Jessica Liberles) in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education, and Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (Dr. Charles Dimitroff and Dr. Kalai Mathee). The team recently received National Science Foundation RAPID Award with the aim to computationally find possible antibodies from known vaccines that will work against SARS-CoV-2. I will start working on the parallel computing and machine learning aspects of the project starting from August 10, when the Assurant internship is finished.
Overall, Summer 2020 was quite productive for me. In Assurant, I got real-world enterprise data analytics experience and learned new techniques in parallel computing and database management. Volunteering in the Academy For CS Education gave me inspiration and a sense of the importance of computer science in education, industry, research, and day-to-day life. COVID pandemic taught me that adaptation is the key to success.
Thank you for your time in reading my summer experience.
Sincerely, Vitalii Stebliankin.
Written by: Vitalii Stebliankin