For this Lyon College student, basking in the sun and planning beach trips can wait, but furthering her education and gaining experience cannot. This summer junior computer and data science major Aisha Mahmoud has temporarily become a Little Rock native as she completes, not one, but two internships with Stone Ward, an advertising agency in the area.
Stone Ward has recently partnered with Lyon College to offer a three week long internship through the Lyon College Data Science Partnership Program with Stone Ward to one Lyon College student in the discipline. Along with this, they also offer a Camp Reality Summer Internship, open to anyone, that runs for eight weeks.
By the end of the summer, Mahmoud will have completed both of these internships through Stone Ward. Though when information about Stone Ward on this opportunity was first passed over Mahmoud’s way, she almost let the opportunity slip out of her grasp.
“I heard about the internship from my advisors/professors Dr. Sonnier and Dr. Birkenkrahe in an email,” Mahmoud said. “I saw that it was for an advertising company and automatically assumed it was for creative people in the filming department, writing department, etc., and moved on.”
Luckily the topic of the internship came up again a couple of months later and her advisors clarified that there was a place for data science in the internship — specifically within media.
Upon learning more of the details about this internship from both her advisors and Stone Ward themselves when they came to give a talk at Lyon College, she realized that this internship would be a great opportunity for her to utilize her knowledge of data science.
When it came time to apply for the internship, her previous experience and completed work from her classes at Lyon College came in handy.
“When you apply, you have to include a previous work, and the work I turned in was from a project that I had previously done in class for Dr. Birkenkrahe's DSC 101.” said Mahmoud.
She continued, “I highly think this developed project is the reason I got selected for the internship! Dr. Birkenkrahe's class was a great preparation for building up resume experience in projects.”
After spending her initial three weeks doing the Lyon College specific internship where she worked on a specific project remotely, she transitioned into the Camp Reality Summer Internship at Stone Ward where she started to work alongside other participating interns in-person.
Camp Reality is split into two types of work. Interns will have an independent project to handle, and they will be assigned a group where interns will work together on a separate project.
“At my internship, I'm helping look at trends in data and demographics to tell clients information such as who they should target/advertise to, where to put up a billboard, how sales have been doing in the past year, how the ways people consume media are changing, etc.”
Mahmoud continued, “We interns are also doing a “Building Good" project. We're taking on a client this summer and working with them to reach their goals.”
For most who participate in an internship, it is usually about testing the waters and confirming whether their interest in the area is fitting or not. For Mahmoud, this is exactly what she hopes this internship with Stone Ward will do for her.
“I'm super excited about getting real hands-on experience working with data! It's one thing to do everything in class but it's another to actually apply what I've learned. It makes me excited to feel like I'm really using my knowledge for a bigger purpose.”
She continued, “I want to take away the experience as well as the knowledge on if I truly see myself in this career, as that's what an internship is all about -- getting practice and seeing if it really is the fit for you!”
Mahmoud plans to utilize her knowledge from her time at Stone Ward and the connections she has made there while she continues her studies in computer and data science at Lyon College, and hopefully after she graduates as well.