Fabila learns importance of becoming a lifelong learner

Angel Fabila has acquired new computer science skills following her summer internship with the Information Technology Department at CUNA Mutual Group

The Cornell College junior worked with software and quality engineers at the company and said she realized how important it is to be a lifelong learner because there’s a lot to learn in the field of computer science–from web development to cloud computing and artificial intelligence. 

“I’ve learned the importance of asking for help because most of the time, you’ll be overwhelmed with so much information, you’re dealing with different types of systems and you’ll easily get lost,” Fabila said. “You can’t just write code, you need to know how the process works.”

Fabila, who grew up in the Philippines and moved to Iowa in 2013, says she valued her experience with One Course At A Time as she embarked on this internship.

“The block system really helped because in the software engineering industry you work in sprints, usually two weeks, towards a goal,” Fabila said. “It can be very intense. Plus, I became a fast learner with the block plan so it made picking up new technologies and programming languages much easier.”

Fabila kept in touch with her Cornell mentors, sending weekly updates to Professor of Computer Science Leon Tabak throughout her internship. Both Tabak and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Ajit Chavan also visited Fabila at CUNA Mutual Group. 

“Throughout the summer, Angel shared with me what she was learning about how to work with a team to propose a project and carry it through to completion,” Tabak said. “I anticipate drawing upon that newly acquired knowledge in our laboratory at Cornell College, where we also emphasize the importance of teamwork. Her experience and enthusiasm will make my teaching easier. Internships benefit the students who are employed and also their classmates.”

Following this internship, Fabila has larger goals of working with her professors to share what she has learned about the skills students need to work in corporate America. She has also her goals set on a future profession.

“I want to be a machine learning engineer, focusing more on the analytics part,” she said. “I really like debugging data and building predictive models.”

Now that the summer has come to a close, she’s also realizing the importance of networking with Cornell alumni.

“We have several alumni who are very successful in our field,” she said. “A few people I’ve networked with include a few Cornellians like Harper Reed ’01, David Keith ’01, and Ian Dees ’06. They’ve all been helping me figure out what I should do to become better at my craft.”

While and Fabila’s internship is over, she’s looking forward to working with Nick Adamou and other computer science majors who had summer internships. They’ll share their new skills and ideas through a revival of the computer science club, C4 (Cornell College Computing Club) with study groups, hackathons, networking, career development opportunities, and other competitions.