Top moments for Aalto Science Institute’s summer interns

28.08.2014

The final seminar for Aalto Science Institute summer interns was held at the beginning of August. For slightly over two months, a total of 12 trainees worked at our school in research groups or as mentored by an AScI research fellow. Now was the moment to present the results of the work. All presentations were expertly done, clear and lucid.

The trainees came from round the world – from India, Mexico, Russia, Germany, the USA, Tanzania, Vietnam and Russia. The objects of their interest were mathematics, machine learning, neural networks, physics and medical technology.

Things are also going well with the host. The total number of applicants for Aalto Science Institute’s summer trainee programme has almost quadrupled since the outset of 2012. This year, applicants totalled 114 – the ones selected who are now ending their practical training period. AScI currently has seven research fellows, whose tenure at Aalto University lasts three years.

Magdalena Navarro, hailing from Mexico, worked under the direction of Professor Riitta Magdalena_Navarro_AScI_intern_2014.jpgSalmelin and doctoral student Ali Faisal at the brain research unit of the O.V. Lounasmaa laboratory. This young woman had just completed her bachelor studies at her home university, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México – ITAM, in the areas of applied mathematics with numerical optimization and machine learning as her areas of specialization.  

Magdalena related that her friends had participated in AScI’s summer intern programme a couple of years ago, and recommended it warmly. Indeed, a place at the brain research unit was offered to her to apply her very own field – machine learning.

‘It’s been really nice working at O.V. Lounasmaa laboratory’s brain research unit, and working with my mentor, Ali Faisal, was particularly rewarding. Although Ali had his own hurries with preparing his doctorate, he always had time to help me. I learned a great deal from him,’ says Magdalena. ‘During the trainee period, I got a lot of new ideas about how machine learning can be utilized in various fields of science,’ she continues.

She is returning to Mexico at the end of the summer and will perhaps look for work in which she can put her studies to use. Her advanced studies will have to wait a moment. She may return to do them at AaltoUniversity.


Derek Pitts
from the United States studies biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he is particularly interested in information technology. Derek_Pitts_AScI_Intern_2014.jpgHe especially hopes to be able to work in the area of mobile applications in the future. At Aalto Science Institute, his mentor was Eve Hoggan, one of AScI’s research fellows.    

Derek had applied for several intern positions, and was accepted for a number of them. He nevertheless chose AScI, because it offered him the combination of biomedicine and information technology in a manner that interested him. Derek will continue on from Finland to Hamburg to another university as a trainee, and intends to return home for Christmas.

‘My trainee period at ASc has been a simply fantastic experience, the same as the cooperation with other interns. A big thank you to our hosts – also for the fun we’ve had outside work,’ Derek enthuses. ‘My professional goals were reached, and I got more of a sense of certainty in my programming skills and in utilizing information technology in biomedicine. Now I know I want to work in the area of information technology,’ he sums up.

Derek, too, considers it possible that he will take up advanced studies at Aalto University, and he is especially interested in the Master’s Programme in Mobile Computing.

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