Life at Viam
September 28, 2022

Recap: Viam’s First Summer Intern Program

Written by
Emily Cardner
Head of People

In the summer of 2022, Viam launched our first official internship program! It was an exciting few months having our 9 interns work on novel robotics problems and integrate into our teams. Before they left, I had the chance to interview some of our interns about their time here this summer.

Meet the Interns Interviewed:

Evelyn Fu, MIT 2024

Aiden Glickman, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2023

Marco Nocito, MIT, 2024

Martha Johnston, University of Michigan, 2022

Max Horowitz, Cornell, 2023

Olivia Miller, Marquette, 2022

Shreya Kapoor, MIT 2023

Emily Cardner: Since Viam is such a new company, how did you find out about our internship program?

Marco Nocito: I first heard about Viam through a Handshake posting on my college’s job board.

Martha Johnston: I just found the application online while searching for internships.

Shreya Kapoor: I heard about Viam through Marco, who is another intern at Viam. We were working on a robotics pset together at school and I was complaining about there not being many robotics startups in NYC, and he told me to check out Viam!

Emily Cardner: And what was the interview process like?

Aidan Glickman: Interviewing at VIAM was super straightforward and not unnecessarily stressful. I heard back pretty quickly after submitting my resume and hopped on an informational call. After that I had a preliminary technical round, then a final round interview that covered Algorithms, Systems Design, and a conceptual conversation. It was really interesting because most of the employees interviewing me had just started a few weeks before our call!

Emily Cardner: What did you get to work on this summer?

Olivia Miller: I worked on the developer advocacy team making demo robots for user testing events! My favorite project was a robot that makes chocolate covered strawberries.

Evelyn Fu: I worked on the RTK GPS project for the Robotics Development Kit team, where I added the ability to use extra precise RTK GPS in the Robotics Development Kit. I also worked on writing a motion planner for Ackerman steering rovers.

Max Horowitz: This summer I worked on Viam’s Data team and was involved in designing Viam’s data upload & sync process between the robot and the cloud. A very cool project I worked on this summer was implementation of partial file uploading. It’s a super relevant issue. In the case that a robot shuts down while uploading captured data to the cloud, we want to persist the progress of that file upload. This avoids uploading duplicate data, and it helps us optimize upload time.

Aidan Glickman: I personally overhauled our systems related to pointclouds (the method we use for representing sensors in 3D space) while working on the computer vision team.

Emily Cardner: How was your mentorship during your internship?

Max Horowitz: Mentorship at Viam has been amazing, and it’s one of the main reasons I want to come back full time. My mentor has not only guided me to complete good work, but he has also shown a desire to help me improve as a software engineer which is very important to me. Beyond my contributions to Viam’s codebase, I feel that I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be a software engineer; specifically, how to break down general problems, anticipate future problems, design a technical solution, and implement that solution in production.

Martha Johnston: Great! great! My mentor and everyone on my team have been very supportive of my work and encouraging.

Shreya Karpoor: The culture at Viam is built on having a passion for learning, exploring, and asking lots of questions. Everyone I’ve interacted with genuinely wants to share their expertise so we can solve hard problems together! We also have a lot of inside jokes and have fun while we work!

Evelyn Fu: My mentor has been amazing throughout the summer. She’s always available for questions and has guided us whenever we got stuck, while also letting us have a lot of freedom and creativity with our projects. She’s also encouraged us to explore fun project ideas that we are interested in and provided us the support to get started with unfamiliar topics.

Emily Cardner: It wasn’t all work this summer! What was your favorite social activity during your internship?

Olivia Miller: My favorite intern social activity this summer was the NYC pizza tour!

Aidan Glickman: It’s not technically one of the intern social activities, but my favorite social thing has been engineering show and tell. Not only is it awesome to hear about what everyone else in the company is working on, but I’ve had loads of fun building and presenting goofy projects (like a marker glued to a tripod or a robot that makes twizzlers stale) in addition to the more substantive work that I do every day.

Emily Cardner: How does this internship compare to others you have had?

Martha Johnston: I’ve had a lot more freedom to work on the things I want to do, and working on the things that actually contribute to the company instead of doing things that feel like busy work.

Aidan Glickman: My experience this summer struck the perfect balance between the different aspects of internships I’ve had in the past. It was self guided enough that I could work on things that were interesting to me and got do real research and problem solving work, but being surrounded by so many other people that are knowledgeable in so many different fields made it much more fun and more useful than roles I’ve had in the past where I was the only (or one of very few) technical people.

Shreya Karpoor: Personally, I enjoy working at smaller sized startups, so Viam has been a nice internship fit for me. I like that I can explore problems that interface with multiple teams and am able to contribute directly to our product.

Emily Cardner: How has working at Viam changed how you think about the potential of robotics?

Max Horowtiz: Historically, the robotics industry has been bogged down by high barriers to entry. The idea that anyone with a generalized software background can leverage Viam to create value in robotics is very powerful. I hope a growing community of engineers can realize the value that we’re creating at Viam.

Shreya Karpoor: I’ve been interested in robotics for a while now, but this was my first industry experience with robotics. Viam has grown and evolved so much since even the beginning of my internship. Working here has really shown me that robotics is a really fast-paced, high growth space, and I’m quite excited to hopefully be a part of the industry.

Evelyn Fu: I learned at Viam about the problems that could be solved using fleets of robots, such as cleaning trash from the ocean, or maintaining forests to prevent forest fires. Before coming to Viam, I only really thought of robots individually or in small teams, so I think the idea of robotics at a large scale really changed how I perceive the potential of robotics.

Interested in joining Viam’s Internship Program?

We have opened the Software Engineering intern role for the summer of 2023! Feel free to apply here.

Life at Viam
September 28, 2022

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