Unlocking the Future: My Transformative Summer Internship 

Ruohu Lin, SEAS Masters of Computer and Information Technology, 2024

The summer experience available to students like me, coming from a First-Generation Low-Income background, is nothing short of remarkable. It’s an opportunity to gain invaluable industry experience that will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of our careers. As a budding software engineer, the chance to immerse myself in a real-world tech environment was a dream I eagerly seized upon. This is the story of my enriching journey as a Full Stack Software Engineer Intern at Square Fare in the vibrant heart of New York City. 

Square Fare, a trailblazing tech startup, is revolutionizing the food industry through cutting-edge automation and personalization. I stepped into an Agile development environment where I led initiatives to automate intricate processes like customer onboarding, nutrition analysis, and personalized email communications. Utilizing the power of cloud APIs, HTML, and CSS, we managed to condense tasks that once took a full day into mere seconds. The impact was profound, not just in efficiency, but also in the seamless customer experience we delivered. 

The highlight of my summer journey was crafting an advanced automation tool that would redefine personalized dining experiences. Armed with NumPy, I championed a test-driven approach, meticulously documenting every step. The result was a groundbreaking tool capable of generating bespoke menus complete with specific weights and allergy substitutions. A task that once occupied an entire team for a week was now a one-person marvel, completed within a single hour. 

Perhaps my proudest achievement lay in developing an intelligent algorithm. This algorithm automatically adjusted ingredient multipliers, ensuring not only balanced results but also freeing up part of the nutrition team from a painstaking manual task. The impact was twofold – an enhancement in efficiency and a testament to the transformative power of technology in revolutionizing traditional domains. 

As I reflect on this transformative experience, I’m reminded of how technology is an enabler, a catalyst for change. From automating processes to enhancing customer experiences, my journey at Square Fare has been a testimony to the potential that lies within innovation. The fusion of creativity and technology has the power to redefine industries and reshape how we interact with the world around us. 

My summer at Square Fare has illuminated my path as I venture into the realm of software engineering. It’s given me insights into the profound impact of coding, not just in streamlining operations, but in revolutionizing the way we live. As I move forward, I am confident that my experiences here have armed me with the tools to make impactful decisions, to drive change, and to contribute to the ongoing tech revolution. 

In the grand tapestry of my career, this summer internship has been a thread that has woven experiences, skills, and knowledge into a dynamic whole. It’s a chapter I will forever cherish, an adventure that has propelled me closer to my aspirations and further ignited my passion for technology. As I continue my journey, I carry the lessons and memories of this transformative summer that have equipped me to unlock the doors of the future. 

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2023 GAPSA Summer Internship Funding Program that is coordinated by Penn Career Services. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

By Career Services
Career Services