Clinc and Community (Intern Files #019)

 Matthew Rhodes, Clinc, 2018 HF Intern

Matthew Rhodes, Clinc, 2018 HF Intern

During my time at Clinc I have grown so much as a developer, entrepreneur, and team player. I walked into my internship with little to no knowledge about machine learning or deep learning concepts. Since, Clinc has not only taught me how to develop complex AI models but has also given me the tools to learn more about Artificial Intelligence. I have had several meetings with the CEO, Jason Mars, who has given me priceless advice on how to develop a successful startup and maintain a company’s core values. One of the models that I have learned about is the Bidirectional long short term memory model (BiLSTM). I used this model and trained it to be able to recognize when a user wants to make purchases from a retailer. In addition to this, I trained a separate BiLSTM model to be able to inform a user about the Billboard Hot 100 list and all the songs/artists on it for the past 40 years. If you were to ask, “What was the best song of 2016?” my model would reply with the song that was on the top of the hot 100 list (which happens to be Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself"). I’ve also become better at identifying and using recurrent neural networks and more specifically concepts that are used in natural language understanding: N-grams, bag of words, word embeddings, sentence embeddings etc.

While I have learned a lot from the experience, it hasn't just been all hard work. We had multiple big events like going to Cedar Point, playing knocker ball, going to a Tigers game, volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, and more! Cedar Point was a blast because I ended up going on rides with people from all over the company meaning that I bonded with a lot of new people that day. During our day of service, I helped clean out the basement of a house in Ypsilanti, dug up all of the dead bushes in the yard, and tore down some of the drywall inside. 

Volunteering with Habitat was a great experience. I got a chance to really connect with the coworkers that I usually don’t get to see outside of work while giving back to the community.

Every week Clinc hosts after work activities like playing basketball, soccer, football and they couldn’t be more fun! The vibe that I get from Clinc is that it is a startup filled with super talented people that love to help the community, build deep ties, and see each other grow. Never have I worked at a place where it feels like the people I am working with are more like friends than coworkers; I could not be more thankful that Hacker Fellows has given me this opportunity to be a part of such an amazing company.


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Matthew Rhodes, 2018 Hacker Fellows Intern, is completing his degree in Computer Science at Michigan State University. He is working with Clinc for Summer 2018.