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Pandemic Hobby Becomes College Student's Ambition

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

For many, the COVD-19 pandemic brought everything to a standstill. Some people kept busy by picking up new hobbies, just like Los Angeles Mission College student Mikayla Ward did. What started as a hobby to keep her occupied during the pandemic, led to something really enjoyable for Mikalya, which then led to an internship opportunity to explore and use her new skills.

In her own words, Mikayla shares her internship experience as an intern at Avenda Health, some of her internship responsibilities, and advice for other students interested in pursuing an internship.


NK: What led to your decision to study computer science at LA, Mission College?

MW: During the pandemic, I started studying computer programming as a hobby and realized that I enjoyed it a lot. I eventually felt I'd reached the limit of what I could reasonably teach myself and decided to enroll in the computer science program at LAMC. Through Network Kinection I found out about the BioscienceLA BioFutures program and applied for a summer internship.

NK: What were some of your responsibilities at Avenda Health?

MW: I was contacted by the director of engineering at Avenda Health, who hired me and a group of other interns for a data science project. We worked to label prostate MRIs to assist in the development of a deep learning model, to eventually create a safer and effective method of identifying and treating prostate cancer. Along with the labeling I was also tasked with a few programming projects, to help with sorting through hundreds of these datasets. It was challenging, as I am still only in my first year of schooling, but with the help of my mentor I was able to figure out how to approach those projects.

NK: What would you say to other LA, Mission College students interested in taking their first career-related opportunity?

MW: I would say interning with Avenda was a very valuable experience as I learned a great deal in a short amount of time. I would tell other students to not be afraid to go for an opportunity when it arises, even if you don't feel confident, you'll get it. I'm still very inexperienced in programming and felt like I would be unqualified for the position, but in the end, I was able to make it work and learned a lot in the process.


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