High School Internship: Then and Now

High School Internship: Then and Now with Patrick MacArthur, a 2007 High School Intern

Recently I had the opportunity to interview an outstanding UNH student and UNH-IOL employee, Patrick MacArthur, to learn about how he started out as a High School Intern and where his journey has taken him over the years. I hope you enjoy reading about his experience as much as I did writing about it!

The year of 2007 marked the second year of the UNH-IOL’s high school summer internship program; we had 12 applications and five internship positions. Patrick MacArthur was a rising senior at Pinkerton Academy and was one of the applicants that was accepted into the program, later moving on to become a very successful student and employee. When asked about how the program evolved over the years Patrick stated, “In my year, we were not placed into consortia but rather worked as a group on a single project related to IPv6 support in the then-upcoming Windows Server operating system product.” The program is now in its 11th year, it has certainly grown, with a record number of over 90 applicants and external funding for 12 students to participate in this year's internship.

Patrick’s says, “I found the program challenging but realistically so. There is a lot to learn in the first few weeks in order to complete the project, but we were given ample resources to do so.” During his experience as a high school intern he realized that he wanted to study Computer Science, knowing that he had the opportunity to work at the IOL, he decided to pursue UNH. After four years of hard work and dedication he completed his UNH Computer Science degree in 2012. For a senior research project, Patrick chose to research and present on Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA), a high performance networking technology used in the world’s top supercomputers. He applied this research to Professor Robert Russell’s Extended Sockets Implementation (UNH EXS), which is used to provide a programming interface for RDMA similar to the sockets interface which network programmers are familiar with. Patrick was able to utilize the IOL’s resources for his project because the lab maintains a small HPC cluster for its testing program for the OpenFabrics Alliance and he has access to perform research. Additionally, he have been given the opportunity to attend the annual OpenFabrics Alliance workshops attended by many of the developers of RDMA solutions.

In 2012 Patrick applied for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, which if granted would fund him for three years to conduct his research. After receiving the award he chose to continue his time at UNH and employment at IOL while obtaining his Ph.D. in Computer Science. Currently he is working on an integrated solution to access low-latency storage using RDMA that works entirely in userspace. This will serve as his research “vehicle” which will be used to research further improvements in remote storage access to lower the amount of time spent in software processing. While doing so, he will complete his degree within the next two years.

Patrick’s focus on his education and his future career in research has not stopped him from watching the high school internship grow each year. He is a valuable resource to all students that work at the lab and his recommendation to students interested in technology is that they take a computer programming course and that they should use any and all resources and opportunities that are available, especially the IOL’s internship. Patrick says the internship helped him, by providing a “taste of electrical engineering and computer science problems and convinced me that I wanted to study computer science.” This kind of confidence in choosing a major is one of our outcomes of the program.

When I asked Patrick what he would like to see happen with the IOL’s internship program, he stated, “I would like to see the internship program continue to improve and grow into a premier internship program for students interested in computer science and engineering.” If you are interested in studying computer science or engineering and want to explore opportunities, don’t hesitate to contact me or visit our website for more information on the high school internship program.