Innovation Aug. 19, 2021

Engineering an Impact

I’m nearing the end of my Summer internship with The Climate Corporation with the Data Pipelines Engineering team.

In many ways this internship has been the perfect evolution of my interests and the places in which I feel I can grow and contribute the most as I enter my career in data science.

I began my university career with an emphasis in biology – I’ve always been interested in plant science. The more I learned, the more I came to understand that the future of plant science lies within data science. I’m now a Computer Science major and have switched Biology to be my minor. 

To me, agtech is the best application of plant biology and sustainability; if I’m looking to stay within the domain of plant science, agriculture is the place to do it. There’s so much potential to help farmers improve the way they manage their farms, right-size their farm inputs, and maximize the productivity on the land without taxing it too hard.

Opportunities to shine don’t only come in the form of day to day project work; here, the internship team celebrated this year’s intern class on the Climate LinkedIn page!

Roles that emphasize using large-scale data to derive insights are plentiful at companies of all sizes; my priorities as I finish my education, though, are to look for organizations that marry a focus on data science with lasting societal impact and an emphasis on environmental sustainability.

So what can an intern do to help drive the future of farming?

Turns out, a lot! Interns can’t always expect the kind of experience I’ve had during my time at Climate. Not only have my manager, mentor, teammates, and colleagues welcomed me and valued the contributions I’ve made in the last several months, but I’ve been working on a project that will be impactful for farmers, for the Climate FieldView platform, and for the environment as well.

Each class of Climate interns is given an opportunity to showcase their project and progress at the end of the Summer – here is my presentation, complete with layered farm data!

Most of my time is spent with my team, the Data Pipelines group within Climate’s Engineering Division. I do also get to partner with other teams in the Science Division as well – without getting into too much detail, I’ve been working with these teams to optimize the ways we map data layers to fields. 

For this data it’s not as much about mapping equipment passes on a field, it’s about ensuring we’re accurately representing exactly where things are happening on the field so we can help farmers generate reports that represent what’s really happening at what points on their fields.

And not only have I gotten the opportunity to flex my computer science skillset well beyond what I’ve done before, but I’ve gotten a chance to explore topics and teams outside my own direct project responsibilities while I’ve been here, from People Operations and project management to Science and R&D, and all across Engineering. I’ve been included in the process from strategy to execution.

At the end of each of our work sprints, the team takes time to give kudos and recognition to those who have gone beyond. I’ve gotten those a few times, and want to end my time with kudos given to the colleagues I’ve made and the ways they’ve cared, about the impact I’m making on the platform, the impact they’re making on me, and the impact that we’re making to help make farming better.


About the Author

Julia Pratt, intern with the Engineering Data Pipelines team at The Climate Corporation, is a rising senior at Saint Louis University, majoring in computer science and minoring in biology. Her main professional interests include plant science and agriculture, data analytics and engineering, and backend engineering. Because she sits still at her desk inside all day long, her main hobbies are running, hiking, climbing, and gardening. Rainy or cold days lead to jigsaw puzzles inside.

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