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Julien Taupenot, Intern, Federal Aviation Administration Office of National Security Programs & Incident Response (AXE)

Major:  Economics (B.A.)

Class Year: 2022

LinkedIn Profile




What was a typical week like in your internship position?

My main responsibility throughout this internship is to assist agents in the analysis of data. I often create data visualizations, transform databases, and advise agents on best practices for data collection. I do not have a fixed schedule due to the remote nature of my work. Instead, I configure my schedule around my work responsibilities and deadlines. Although I work Monday through Friday, the duration of work can vary anywhere from an hour to eleven hours on a given day. 



What do you enjoy most about your current position?

What I enjoy most is that I have never been assigned "busy work." LEAP agents rely on my analysis. I provide them with insight into various airspace security threats through data visualization dashboards and written reports. Using my analysis and recommendations, agents then develop strategic planning initiatives to ensure the security of the national airspace system.



How did your coursework help you in your internship?

In spring 2021, I enrolled in a data analytics economics course taught by Federal Reserve Board (FRB) staff, at Howard University through the DC Consortium of Universities Program (ECON181). I learned about this opportunity through the ECON Blog. It's a great tool! In this course, I obtained the statistical programming skills necessary to understand the fundamentals of data processing in R. Furthermore, I researched whether a student loan deferral program could act as a renter relief program during the ongoing pandemic. Lastly, I presented my findings before the Federal Reserve Board economists. Working with large FRB datasets and overcoming data quality issues through data cleansing allowed me to learn data manipulation techniques to ensure accurate analysis. I used this knowledge extensively when working with drones and laser incident information tracking systems. Moreover, my previous experiences coding in R quickly enabled me to learn new data analysis expressions in excel and learn new visualization tools such as Power BI. Next spring, I hope to enroll in Data Science for the Social Sciences (BSOS233) to learn Python. 



How did you locate your internship position?

During the spring 2021 semester, the FAA had an information session during UMD's virtual career day. After the session ended, all the students left the session while I remained to ask some questions. I then got the intern program managers' email. After sending an email following up on our conversation (and then three more follow-up emails), I was referred to a summer internship position with the FAA's Division of Economic Analysis within the Office of Aviation Plans and Policy (APO). I got the job with APO for summer 2021. When working with APO, I worked on a data analytics project with AXE. My work was very well received, and I networked my way to an internship with AXE.



Advice for students:

Tell them what you want to learn and what you hope to accomplish from your internship in your cover letter or when speaking with hiring managers. Then talk about what you have been doing so far to pursue your interests. I wanted to build on my foundation in data analysis that I learned from the FRB. They put me in exactly the right division and assigned me projects related to my interests.



Anything else you want to share with students about your experience?

Feel free to message me on LinkedIn if you have any questions!