Kat NewcombInternship: New Light Technologies

Ballet dancer in the airNovember 11, 2019 | Recently, I’ve been developing my project at work into a fully functioning script. I am now able to write a program that can download software, place it into a specific file, check to see if that file has been updated, and if it has, place the new information into the current file and the old information into an archive folder. Now that this piece of the project is complete, I’m working on converting the individual files into CSVs and merging them into one collective document automatically. This project has been a struggle but has also taught me about my strengths and weaknesses in the workplace. I have learned that the most important concept to achieving a specific task is to as the right question. This project has allowed me to develop my oral communication skills as well as fine tune my researching capabilities. Through advice from my coworkers and helpful video tutorials, I have been able to create this amazing project based in the Philippines. I am really thankful that I can take away a huge project this semester to showcase my work and improvement. This project will be very useful to me in the future as I display my capabilities to other employers. I am really looking forward to finishing this semester strong and have really enjoyed working at New Light Technologies thus far.

In addition to my work, I have also been taking several dance classes at the Washington Ballet. In my spare time, I really love dancing ballet and have been doing so for the past 15 years of my life. While this is the first year that I am not training daily, I could not imagine a life without dance. Taking classes at the Washington Ballet is very convenient and a lot of fun to meet new teachers and dancers. I have been making valuable connections with the faculty, who have worked with my teachers in the past. Dancing allows me to maintain physical exercise while relieving stress and having fun.

Blog History

Kat NewcombInternship: Northern Lights Technologies

Gap Ambassador Katherine NewcombOctober 21, 2019 | American University had parents weekend about one week ago. Many parents and family members came to visit their kids at school and see all of the activities available on campus. My family and I traveled to Utah for the weekend to surprise my grandfather for his 80th birthday. When we rang the doorbell at my grandparents’ home, he was in disbelief and was very surprised that we had come so far for his birthday. We went out to a very nice restaurant, celebrated with neighbors, and even traveled into the city for shopping. I really love going to Utah because of the beautiful scenery and cannot wait to go back for Christmas.

In the meantime, I have been working on a fascinating project for my work. I have been tasked to find multiple categories of information for the Philippines. My job is to create a way to web scrape the data so that each time you request it, the code uploads the latest version of the content. So far, I have been learning a lot about back-end coding and creating the necessary processes to automatically download and gain access to database libraries. This information will allow New Light Technologies to provide cost of resources to those who are predicted to experience a natural disaster. This has taught me a lot about web design and how companies interact with data when creating a user friendly application.

On Friday, I went with one of my friends from the mentorship program to the United States Supreme Court for a tour. One of the biggest projects in our American Politics class is the United States landmark paper where we are given four choices to write a descriptive paper about either the United State Capitol, the African American History Museum, the United States Supreme Court, or the White House. The tour was very fascinating and we were surprised we were not able to photograph in the courtroom. The guide discussed the art in the room, the legal proceedings, and description of how justices are chosen. It was so fascinating to learn that while the court is not in session, the justices are reading thousands of cases to prepare for the hearings in October.


October 7, 2019 | Two weeks ago, I began my internship with New Light Technologies. NLT is a company that provides innovative, technological solutions to a wide variety of companies and government associations including but not limited to FEMA and the World Bank . Specifically, I have been assigned to work with Project Ptolemy, which is NLT’s natural disaster sector. Its’ purpose is to assess resource cost, destruction rates, and any other necessary aid before a disaster can occur. When a hurricane hits, NLT plays a large role to relay information to the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) about how many buildings are destroyed, how much food will need to be provided, and other important factors that help the government understand how to best provide for those in need. I have been assigned to learn GitHub, Python programming language, and web scraping. This will help NLT gather as much information on any given location to help assess resource costs.

After many readings and videos, I learned how to write a program that can take information from any website in seconds. For practice, I have written codes that strip data from the stocks on CNN, USA Today, and the top data companies in the US. As difficult as program development can be, I have been fascinated by the ability to instantly get this information and to solve multiple puzzles every day. I believe I am gaining valuable insight to my career in the future as computer science plays a significant role in the business world. Even though I am looking to major in Business Administration with a concentration in strategy and innovation, I am still interested and recognize the growing importance of computer science.

In addition to my internship, I have also attended several field studies with my US Government class to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the State Capitol. We were given the opportunity to visit several exhibits that depict the era before and after the Civil War. I particularly enjoyed seeing my course readings come to life in the museums and am excited about our future class discussions concerning the ongoing political news. I have really enjoyed my time at American University thus far.

Fall 2019 Gap Students on a site visit

Kat NewcombInternship: Northern Lights Technologies

September 23, 2019 | My first few weeks at American University’s Gap Program have been exciting and very busy. I was given the opportunity to attend the Internship Fair, meet new students, apply and interview for internship positions, and begin my classes. The internship process has taught me a lot about what I value most in my work, what my strengths and weaknesses are, and helped me begin to form an idea of the type of environment I would like to work at in the future.

I really enjoyed interviewing at multiple companies because it gave me a chance to see the inner workings and the kinds of projects they were working on.

This past year, I wrote a paper about creativity and innovation and wanted to choose an internship this fall that reflected those ideals. Specifically, I really enjoyed my interview with New Light Technologies and have accepted a position to work for them beginning September 17, 2019. I will be working on Project Ptolemy, a project that analyzes data for disaster management. I look forward to developing my programming skills and conducting new research projects with New Light Technologies’ team.

I have also really enjoyed the opportunity to make new connections here. I have met some really amazing, kind people from the American University Mentorship Program. We have taken trips to Georgetown for acai bowls, to Tenleytown for shopping and restaurants, as well as the Wharf for a more formal dinner and gelato.

I have been so impressed with everything I have seen and have been able to make some wonderful memories already. I really like the fact that American University Gap students are given the ability to make friends with not only their classmates but other freshman students too. While it may have been challenging at first to acclimate to a new environment, so many of the other students are going through the same process.

Since the American University Mentorship students also intern, it is easier to relate and form community with them despite the fact that we will not be attending the same school next year. I look forward to the rest of the semester and to gaining real-world experience from my internship.