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Watson Lab welcomes high school interns with access to AI and cognitive APIs

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Key Points:
– We’re kicking off Watson Lab’s high school internship program for the spring semester
– The curriculum prepares the students to work as Software Developers at IBM during their Senior year.

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It is that time of year again. At Watson Lab we are piloting a high school internship program for the spring semester. We love to welcome visitors from the community to learn about our projects with AI and Cognitive Computing and experience some of the groundbreaking work we’re pursuing behind the scenes. Computer Science students from Connally High School from Pflugerville visited us last spring. They shared impressive results on their projects, like a Serious Games designed game called Medical Minecraft. They had showcased their game at the Interconnect Conference, with IBM at SXSW Interactive, and Google Fiber Space. When they shared this and other solutions with the Watson Lab, Ray Chancey the head of the lab said, “Wow, you guys are amazing. I love the energy. We need to find a way for you to come work with us in the lab somehow!”

My team could tell that the teachers’ methods and passion were preparing the students to excel. One of the teachers, David Conover IBM Champion for Cloud 2016 & 2017, introduced me to the Superintendent of Pflugerville ISD. Together with other partners in IBM, we designed an internship program. The school curriculum prepares the students to work as Software Developers at IBM during their Senior year. My Lead Engineer, Amrish Chaubal, worked with David Conover to identify key milestones we would need the students to meet during their journey from Freshman to Senior class. The Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent worked with the Principal and teachers to work the internship into the curriculum. I worked with teams at IBM to gain support to pilot the program for one semester.

This is part of a bigger IBM effort to introduce students to AI and cognitive APIs that they can build with and learn from. For example, you can read about similar workshops we previously hosted.

For the pilot, I selected seven students to work together as a team in our offices half time for 6 weeks. They are 4 weeks into the internship and already got their hands dirty with electrical engineering, C++ programming and cognitive computing theories. They will showcase their project next week. Stay tuned for more on their project.

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Advisory Project Manager, IBM Watson

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