Intern Log: Sean Cody

Sean Cody
Friday, September 02, 2016 

This summer, I have been working with Alycia Weinberger to identify and clarify companions of 24 newly imaged stars in the Beta Pictoris moving group.  Specifically, I implemented algorithms to correct for blemishes caused by the camera optics, center the stars in the image, and identify companions difficult to see with the naked eye. 

Sean Cody sitting in the Duke Gardens at Duke University. Photo courtesy of Sean Cody.

In college, I plan on majoring in mathematics, as well as physics or computer science.  However, this internship has led me to be interested in astronomy as another possible path.  Perhaps the most valuable thing the internship taught me was to know when to handle problems myself, and when to ask for help.  The difficult nature of the tasks and welcoming community made me open up and feel comfortable to ask for help if I needed it. 

A funny moment that was memorable from the internship was passing the time while my code finished running by switching on my Pokemon Go app. I turned around in my chair and noticed that all of the other interns were doing the same.  We then collectively decided to check how many Pokemon spawned in the area and, finding that it was depressingly few, decided to give up our Pokemon Go aspirations and return to our codes.

Cody's workstation. Photo by Sean Cody.

This internship has offered a unique work experience that I would not have been able to obtain anywhere else. As a high school student, one hears all sorts of internship horror stories; my internship at DTM was a marked exception.  I initially worried about the potential hurdles many interns face—not being acknowledged or spoken to, receiving absolutely no guidance. In contrast, however, the staff at DTM made a concerted effort to include us interns in the community, and made sure that we knew exactly what we were doing.

Written by Sean Cody, September 2, 2016

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