In the third feature of our intern spotlight series, we're delighted to introduce Evan Allgair, a passionate learner who's been making strides in his role as a Model-Based Systems Engineering Intern at AVIAN. Pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Economics at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Evan brings a unique blend of skills to his work. His journey at AVIAN has been filled with immersive learning, hands-on projects, and mentorship. Let's explore his experiences further.
1. Give a general background/introduction of yourself. (what school are you attending, what are you studying, what's your internship focusing on?)
My name is Evan Allgair and I am a Computer Science and Economics double major attending University of Maryland Baltimore County. Throughout my studies in computer science, I have focused on Algorithm Analysis and AI/ML. I have been searching for internships this past year and attending various job fairs where I ran across an opportunity from AVIAN requesting a Model-Based Systems Engineering Intern. During this internship, I have focused on model development, the DoD defense acquisition process, digital engineering, and a tiny bit of the business development process.
2. What projects have you been working on for your internship?
A couple of projects I have been working on this summer have been testing and learning various AI-based applications to introduce to customers in order to improve efficiencies in the workplace, an “Introduction to AI” course to be presented to various customers, and a logical SysML model for a containment-based digital engineering environment. There is also more to come for us this summer.
3. What have you learned?
One of the objectives for us this summer was to learn the Defense Acquisition System (DAS). We have taken notes on a two weeklong course about systems engineering and the DAS along with attending meetings where AVIAN leadership has sat down to explain and answer questions as the number of details can be extremely challenging. We have also learned about the engineering process and the functions of System Engineers.
4. What’s your favorite project/task that you've worked on while at AVIAN?
Personally, my favorite project so far has been developing a live demo of an AI-based system for John Sliger, a Senior Systems Engineer, to present to the customer’s leadership. During this we coordinated with John on what he wants from the demo and we were given creative freedom to design the demo as we want. After the demo steps were approved and confirmed, we attended the in-person meeting where the demo was shown and received much appreciation from leadership and the rest of the company on our work well done.
5. What surprised you the most about the work you're doing/working at AVIAN?
What comes to mind initially was when I walked into the building for the first time and saw that the office is extremely home-like and made me feel very comfortable and welcomed, there are even coffee machines in every corner of the building. What comes to mind work wise was the amount of support and help I receive from the staff. I feel very comfortable asking the questions I have that might seem trivial to people but as I am entirely new to the industry they are very much needed.
6. Where do you see yourself in the next year? The next five years? What are your goals?
In the next year I see myself graduating college and starting my first full-time job where I focus on software engineering and the ML pipeline. In the next 5 years, I hope to develop my career by going to graduate school and earning a master’s degree in computer science. I would like to get my foot in the door to research involving computer science and health.
7. What were/are you looking to get out of the internship? Are you/did you get what you were looking for?
In this internship, I was very open-minded coming in, I knew I wanted to get experience as a professional, but I knew I should allow myself the opportunity to appreciate the work being done at AVIAN in supporting NAVAIR. I very well could like or dislike working at a defense contracting company, and that’s what I went to find out. Throughout my experience so far AVIAN has been a fantastic decision and I have been learning exactly what I set out to do.
8. Do you feel like you got the "AVIAN" experience?
If the AVIAN experience for interns was a supportive learning environment with the opportunity to grow professionally, then I definitely think I received the “AVIAN” experience. My director, Jeff Davila, has been extremely great at being clear on his objectives for us, and clear that he is also here to help us achieve our goals. He is very much someone that embodies a leader and also a mentor.
9. What rotation taught you the most outside of your normal discipline?
The rotation that taught me the most was the contracts and communications rotations. These were the most out of scope from my classes in college, so I started with about zero foreknowledge. During the communications rotation we were able to do a project with the Marketing Specialist and during contracts it prompted many questions for me but also taught me about how these contracts are designed and planned.
10. Why did you choose to intern at AVIAN?
I chose to intern at AVIAN because of the work they do and the impression that was made on me at the job fair. While I met many representatives from different companies, I was able to talk to AVIAN better and felt that they were much more focused on receiving the right people than trying to fill a number of interns.
From mastering complex systems to making significant contributions to AI applications, Evan's journey at AVIAN exemplifies the breadth of opportunities we offer to our interns. His time with us has reaffirmed his professional aspirations and paved the way for a future where he hopes to blend computer science and health research. His experiences highlight the supportive learning environment we strive to create at AVIAN. As we wrap up Evan's story, we look forward to sharing more from our summer interns in our upcoming posts.