'What I did this summer'

Returning interns work on government research projects

When high school student Devon Minor first heard of an internship opportunity at Raytheon BBN Technologies, he doubted that he’d get selected. His only work experience was working as a summer camp counselor.

“I thought I was going to work in an ice cream shop that summer,” Minor said. He had never heard of Raytheon BBN Technologies, which is part of Raytheon Intelligence & Space, and hadn’t considered applying for an internship until college.  

Not only did Minor, and fellow intern Aadhya Puttur, start their first internship just weeks after high school graduation in 2019, they both returned this summer for a second internship, this time virtually.

They both found out about the Raytheon BBN Technologies internships when they attended the MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute, which Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies’ business, sponsors. During the four-week program, high school students take a wide range of project-based courses, learning about advanced technological concepts including artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomous systems.

As they finished their internships and prepared for their sophomore year of college in the fall, Puttur and Minor reflected on what they learned – and how it has better prepared them for a career in a STEM field.

Puttur, for example, took part in a project that included artificial intelligence and computer science.

“I’ve been able to work on code that uses real-world examples that will help unmanned vehicles assess their environment and choose what tactic or plan to use next based on the current circumstances, without human input,” Puttur said.  

Her experience at Raytheon BBN Technologies has allowed her to use computer science on real-world applications.

Nate Soule, a Raytheon BBN Technologies scientist who supervised Minor during his first internship, was so impressed with his quick integration into the team that he brought back Minor for another internship this summer.

Minor formed a meaningful mentee-mentor bond with his boss and teammates, according to the intern.

“Thanks to my teammates, I learned that there are a million ways to solve a problem. Getting to tackle challenges facing the country sort of in real time is inspiring and motivates me to work my hardest,” he said. “And, I have some of the same challenges working virtually as my co-workers who are parents, but instead of a child playing loud video games in the next room, it’s my younger brother.”

Minor used his internship to develop a way for security forces to locate Apple iOS devices, such as iPhones and iPads, in an indoor environment.

“I’ve had the opportunity to dig deeper into the fascinating field of machine learning, and it’s definitely something I want to pursue in my education now,” he said.

Soule said Minor “grew into it very quickly, not shying away from participating in deeply technical discussions in large group meetings.”

Interns at Raytheon Intelligence & Space are eligible to come back each year as they go through college and carry that experience into a job with the company.

Meanwhile, Raytheon BBN Technologies has opened a few more internship slots for next year. Several students who participated at MIT Beaver Works this summer have already completed the application for a summer 2021 internship. Raytheon BBN Technologies invites back its college interns, who work hard and perform well, each summer while they're in school, and some are offered jobs upon graduation.

Soule sees some positive traits among these younger interns.

“Since they don’t have years of academic or industry experience, they don't come in with many preconceived notions and are very open to new ideas and different approaches to problem-solving,” he said.