Meghna Banerjee graduated from UC Santa Cruz’s Baskin School of Engineering winter 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Her interest in computer science was piqued when she took AP Computer Science in high school in India. During her undergraduate program, Banerjee completed internships at Lyft, Microsoft, and Datadog and participated in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Internship Program (CUIP). She will be attending Harvard this fall to pursue a master’s in computational science and engineering.
When did your interest in computer science begin?
My interest in computer science began when I took AP Computer Science in high school. Growing up in India, it’s very common to have computer science incorporated into the curriculum. My experience made me realize that exposure to computer science early on aids in diversity. I’m glad I did get exposed to computer science because it’s a lot of fun. Since I enjoyed my computer science classes so much, I wanted to continue in that direction after high school.
Why did you choose the Baskin School of Engineering for your undergraduate degree?
First of all, the campus is beautiful. I knew being a part of the UC system, the computer science program at Baskin Engineering was going to be well established. After doing my research on the courses offered in the computer science program, the research happening, and the faculty at the Baskin School of Engineering, it was an easy decision for me to come here.
You were a part of the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Internship Program. What was that like?
There were multiple aspects to that internship program. I got exposed to working with UC leadership and administration and being a part of efforts that support students. My internship was very unique. It was an intersection of technology and ethics, which builds off of Crown College’s theme. My internship with Crown faculty focused on the ethical implications of bias in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Tell me about the internships you participated in while you were an undergraduate.
Freshman year, I was a part of a Pinterest freshman scholars program. Sophomore year, I was a software engineering intern at Lyft in San Francisco. During the summer of the pandemic, I was at Microsoft, and in fall 2020, I interned at the New York-based company, Datadog. Through my internships I got the chance to build software in machine learning, front end UI automation, and open source libraries. Doing internships fully remote during the pandemic was a hard adjustment. Not being able to ask questions as much as you need and finding a balance between work life and home life was challenging. I eventually got the hang of it.
What is one of your favorite memories while at Baskin Engineering?
My favorite memory was taking Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Applied Machine Learning together one quarter. It was a lot of applied machine learning work. The projects were really interesting and it was fun to work in groups. It was interesting to think of a problem and work together to come up with a solution. One of the projects I got to work on during that quarter was making a music recommendation system. My group and I used unsupervised machine learning, which allowed us to cluster music together that had similar sounds.
What’s next for you?
After I graduated in March, I started interning at Google DeepMind as a software engineering intern. My plan is to intern at Amazon this summer and then begin a master’s program in computational science and engineering at Harvard in the fall.
I’m really grateful for all the resources I had at Baskin Engineering and the faculty who helped me along the way.