Student Activities in Summer 2014

  • Savanna Bonds, Cowden Associates, Pittsburgh, PA

    During the summer of 2014 I worked at Cowden Associates in Pittsburgh as their Retirement Actuary Intern. I learned a great deal about what retirement actuaries really do as well as how single and multiple employer pension funds work. I was also exposed to the health and benefit and compensation fields. I did most of the daily work that an actuary or an actuarial analyst would do. I calculated benefit payments when someone would retire (early, normal, or late) and when there was a death of a participant. The payments were actuarially converted based on the different types of payment (life annuity, joint and survivor, etc.) and the different starting times of the payment. I worked on balancing banking information to make sure everything lined up and calculated the correct amounts that were used as the initial values in ProVal. ProVal is an actuarial program that does many of the difficult calculations for actuaries and these calculations would be placed in the actuarial reports that I would put together in preparation for client meetings where the reports would be presented. I worked on government forms and filing which were created through the program called Relius. I also used Microsoft word, excel, and access. There were multiple other projects I worked on including computation of the interest rate based on the CPI values and working with bond rates. 

    Tyler Cochenour, Highmark, Diversified Business Solutions, Pittsburgh, PA

    Highmark is the largest health insurer in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware. The company is broken into three parts, Highmark Health Services, Allegheny Health Network, and Diversified Business Solutions (DBS). During my time with Highmark, I worked in DBS as an application development intern on the ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) team. My primary job was to work in the data warehousing sector using a popular data warehousing tool, called Informatica. With Informatica I created source to target mappings so that other parts of the business would be able to access information that they needed. I worked creating basic mappings and several intermediate level mappings, and in the process I learned how to use the program at an intermediate level. Inside Informatica, SQL language is used, and obviously that implies that I was required to learn this language as well. Along with working in Informatica, I also worked with a group of four other interns in giving Highmark Insurance Groups Sharepoint site a complete overhaul so that the employees would be able to find important information easier. Entering the internship I knew very little about the SQL, and I never even heard about Informatica. In all, before my internship began, I knew nothing about what I was getting myself into, and after finishing the program I can say that working with Informatica, or application development in general, is something that I could really see myself doing in the future, and I would recommend Highmark as an employer to anyone out there looking.

    Derek Hanely, NASA IV&V, Fairmont, WV

    As a part of the Robotics Intern team, our project—Robotics Image Processing and Interpretation—involves supporting the Robotics Capabilities Development (CD) Initiative at NASA IV&V.  Our team is assessing the usefulness and effectiveness of computer vision algorithms that may be used in future NASA missions including satellite servicing, asteroid redirect, and Mars 2020 rover missions. More specifically, we will work to characterize and interpret image processing algorithms in conjunction with robotic control systems to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in a variety of different conditions. This will allow us to more fully understand the robustness of each algorithm and the breadth of its operational envelope. In order to test each algorithm’s range of capabilities, we will manipulate various conditions including lighting, image noise, resolution, sharpness, and attitude (position and orientation relative to camera) to simulate optimal and adverse conditions. 

    In addition, our team will construct an experimental test environment to demonstrate real-time control of a robotic arm utilizing computer vision algorithms. This test environment will contain simplified versions of asteroid redirect and satellite servicing missions so we can test the performance of each technique under various conditions and verify the operational envelope with empirical data.

    All of this work will be utilized to generate a technical reference for future computer vision work at NASA IV&V. This reference will be used by IV&V analysts, and will contain documentation related to the operational envelope and performance of each algorithm under various conditions. This will assist analysts in assessing algorithm performance and determining the reliability of methods used for assurance of NASA missions.                                                                                          

    Amber McClure, Nittany Eye Associates, State College, PA

    This summer I have had the pleasure of interning at Nittany Eye Associates, which is a practice consisting of five partners and two associate optometrists. The practice includes four office locations to better serve the eye care needs of the State College Area. I have spent time shadowing and performing technician work in the Geisinger Grays Woods single doctor office and the Tyrone single doctor office in the practice as well. Most of my days consisted of shadowing and gaining a perspective of the daily practices of Dr. Cymbor and his two technicians, as well as performing pre-testing work. The pre-testing work that I have learned over my course as an intern will be what I will learn and use throughout optometry school. During clinical training for optometry school, most optometry students are required to perform all testing required for a particular patient. Therefore, it has been a very rewarding and educational experience that I will be able to carry with me and use often in my goal of becoming an optometrist. Overall, I have spent over 250 hours at Nittany Eye Associates this summer shadowing the optometrists, shadowing in optical to learn more about glasses and lenses, gaining knowledge and experience in the contact lens lab, and performing pre-testing work.

    Lisa Vatavuk, Ameriserv Financial, Johnstown, PA

    During the summers of 2013 and 2014, I worked as an intern at Ameriserv Financial. I worked as a PC Administrator at the main office in Downtown Johnstown. My largest project at the company was replacing all of the teller computers at all of Ameriserv’s seventeen branches. My job was to build new teller computers by assembling the parts, installing the company’s software, and implementing security to keep customer information safe. Then I traveled with the other PC Administrators to each of Ameriserv’s different branches to replace the old computers with the new ones. Once I was finished installing the new PCs, I brought the old ones back to my office and sanitized the hard drives to protect customer information. In addition to replacing the teller computers, I also assisted employees with their computer issues, replaced computers for Ameriserv’s work space recovery site, taught employees how to use new computers and laptops, and even assisted with the project in which we upgraded all of Ameriserv’s ATMs. Between the two summers, I built approximately 200 machines for Ameriserv and learned a lot about bank security policies, hardware, software, and ATMs.