Intern Experiences: Erin

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 My Summer Working on SpanishDict and Fluencia

My name is Erin Taylor, and I am going in to my senior year at Carnegie Mellon University, studying Mathematics and Linguistics. I worked as a Software Engineering intern with SpanishDict and Fluencia this past summer. 

Over the past three months, I worked on automating the feedback that is provided to
users of Fluencia, to give real time explanations for mistakes that are made throughout their lessons. This project was especially interesting, because of the crossover between technology and language. I found it very rewarding to be able to work with a team of technology experts, as well as a team of language experts, and bring those two fields together to improve the overall user experience.

I also liked the data-centered approach that was taken. Part of what has drawn me to linguistics is that I enjoy taking apart the patterns within language. Being able to draw on the resources of such a well established online reference as SpanishDict was key to the task of automating feedback for users. I was also able to see real users interacting with the product, and aggregate all the user inputs to be able to see how best feedback could be improved at any given step.

One of my favorite parts about working at SpanishDict and Fluencia was the freedom that I was given to define my work. I found that all team members were available for discussion and to share their expertise, but on the whole I was free to experiment with my project. The open discussion and freedom to try new things within the work environment made for an overall great learning experience, a very productive summer, and a lot of fun!