When Nia Anderson started thinking of career paths as she neared graduation, she saw herself as a business analyst. With the support and knowledge from her virtual summer IT Innovation internship with PepsiCo, and a growing interest in artificial intelligence, this Penn State World Campus student now wants to take a path within data science.
“AI is one of the most popular emerging technologies and has the ability to make a grand impact in manufacturing,” said Anderson, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Information Sciences and Technology online. “My internship project lets me research technologies, such as computer vision, and prepare for the use of the technology by developing data for its machine learning capabilities.”
The bachelor’s degree in IST is offered online through Penn State World Campus in partnership with the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology, whose faculty teach the courses.
The project, Anderson said, is centered on leveraging computer vision in manufacturing facilities to assist PepsiCo in its business-critical efforts to make, move, and sell products. Her prior experiences from classes made her qualified for the job, which she landed after an interview during the College of Information Sciences and Technology’s career fair in the fall 2020 semester.
“In my interview, I was excited to discuss my role in a group project I did for IST 210: Organization of Data, where I worked with Microsoft SQL Server,” she said. “This worked out wonderfully because that was one of the projects mentioned on my résumé that my interviewer was interested in hearing more about.”
Although the internship is virtual, Anderson looks forward to receiving hands-on and real-world experiences. She is working closely with AI, something she had not expected when she started searching for internships.
“I want to take the next three months to get well integrated into the company and have the value of the work I produce extend beyond my summer internship with PepsiCo,” she said.
Anderson said the internship has already taught her so much, but there is still a lot to learn.
“I am always up for a challenge that has me eager to come into work day after day. Before the internship started, my manager told me that I would be working on a project that is connected to a computer vision initiative — but I did not have any previous knowledge of the technology,” she said. “Today I feel confident in my ability to speak on the topic of computer vision and am excited to present my project on it at the end of my internship.”
Learn more about the degree on the Bachelor of Science in Information Sciences and Technology website.