She hopes to one day be a role model for young girls interested in the sciences.
That’s part of the reason SJC Long Island senior Vanessa Rodriguez applied for an internship with Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) this summer.
“I wanted to apply because, growing up, I did not see any female computer scientists,” Rodriguez, 22, said. “I know that in the future, there will be Hispanic little girls looking for computer scientists that they can relate to, a Latina computer scientist, and I want to be that person.”
Rodriguez, who ended up interning remotely with BNL due to the COVID-19 pandemic, also hoped the experience would help her find a potential career path.
“I thought if I attended the internship, it could give me insight into what career I want to pursue,” Rodriguez, a mathematics and computer science major, said.
Looking Toward the Future
As an intern, Rodriguez had the chance to build an app for smartphones. The app, now available for androids, can be used by scientists and doctors for medical isotope reference.
“Medical isotopes are used in imaging,” Rodriguez explained. “When a patient takes in medical isotopes, those can be tracked through the patient’s body. This app allows doctors to check for diseases or any form of damage inside the patient’s body, such as cancer.”
While there is a database for this (Medical Internal Radiation Dose) that can be accessed through a website, Rodriguez recognized that there are times when computers and WiFi aren’t always accessible; thus, there was a need for a mobile app.
“The internship helped me prepare for my future by giving me a sneak peek of what I could expect every day if I were an employee at Brookhaven National Laboratory,” said Rodriguez of Brentwood. “Hopefully, that is!”
After graduating next spring, Rodriguez said she wants to participate in SJC’s five-year dual degree program in computer science, which would allow her to receive her master’s degree in computer science from Hofstra University in just one year.