My internship at A2I2: Aleks Pasquini
In this series, we’re spending time with some of our staff who began their journeys at A2I2 through our internship program. This time we sat down with Aleks Pasquini, current PhD candidate at the Institute, to hear about what he learnt through completing an internship with A2I2.
What got you interested in doing an internship with A2I2?
I’d just finished my undergraduate degree and wasn’t too sure about what my next move would be. My options were to either pursue a Masters degree, or go into the workforce.
I’ve been interested in computer science since the end of high school, and someone I know who works with A2I2 recommended I speak with their Head of Translational Research, Raj Vasa, about potential options. We had a great chat about computer science, and what the future looks like for the industry.
Out of this arose an opportunity to join A2I2 as an intern; I was ecstatic! At that time the pandemic had just started and things were very unsettled, yet I felt very fortunate to be given an opportunity to explore this exciting field.
What were some exciting things that you did during your internship?
Straight away I was placed on a commercial project; it felt a bit like being thrown in the deep end! But I was really excited as I’d never had the chance to work on a client-based project before. I got first-hand experience to see how work in the real world evolves from start to finish.
What did the experience teach you?
One of the most important things A2I2 taught me during this time was the process of how a project actually works. I was given the chance to manage a project that started out as just an idea, which I delivered as a functioning outcome to a client.
I got a strong sense for how things work in a commercial environment, where there are deadlines, and development updates that need to be delivered to clients. My undergrad taught me a lot about the theory around this, but the internship challenged me in putting it all into practice.
Also, I learnt many coding tips and tricks which have served me quite well since!
How has A2I2 supported you to achieve your goals?
The Institute has taught me so much about leadership, coding, and creative ways of approaching problem solving. The senior staff here have always been happy to help me out with any questions I may have, and they have always provided me with constructive feedback that has expanded my skills, particularly with coding.
Something I really appreciate about A2I2 is that I’m encouraged to be curious and to make mistakes. The learning environment is incredibly supportive, and to be surrounded by people who are invested in my development is a privilege.
You’re now studying a PhD at A2I2 – what are your future career goals, and how will the Institute (and the PhD) help you to achieve them?
I’m striving for a cybersecurity leadership position; it’s something I’m really passionate about. Most of, if not all of our personal information is on the web – I want to have an impact on how we can keep Australian people safe.
My PhD with A2I2 is helping me develop the higher level of thinking that is required for this kind of leadership, especially around problem solving. In undergrad and Masters study, problems are set with defined solutions. However, with a PhD, there are many problems and it’s up to me to find a solution on my own through my research.
Applications for the A2I2 High Achievers Internship Program are currently open. Visit our Internships page for more information.