Bermudian biomedical student impresses Colombian tech firm
This summer, university student Kameron Young was looking for a challenge.
When the 19-year-old saw a virtual internship advertised by a Colombian tech firm, she thought perfect. There was just one problem. She did not have all of the skills they were looking for.
Nediar, based in Medellin, Colombia, wanted someone who could programme in C#. Ms Young did not have that language. And they wanted someone with experience in augmented reality. She did not have any.
But she did have a few things going for her.
And at 16, while still a student at the Bermuda High School, she conducted a genetic study, with the help of biomedical researcher and lecturer Carika Weldon, and presented the results at the Bermuda Principles Foundation’s 3rd Annual Conference in February 2019.
“I told Nediar these are my skills and I am willing to learn to get the internship,” Ms Young said.
The interview with Nediar was conducted entirely in Spanish, but Ms Young was cool with that. She did a year-long immersion programme in Seville, Andalusia, Spain, through the International Centre there, and is fluent in Spanish.
She was accepted into the eight-week virtual internship in Colombia in February, and started in June. She spent the months in between, studying the programming languages she would need, through courses and YouTube videos.
She did the internship while based in London, where she has just finished her foundation year at Queen Mary University of London.
One concern for her was the time difference. Colombia is six hours behind London.
“But usually Nediar would have a biweekly meeting,” she said. “It would be at 3 or 4pm my time, which would be 9am their time. That would be the only time we could really meet. I could do my work in the morning when I woke up, and then finish in the evening. It was actually quite easy. If I had problems, I could e-mail and they would get back to me right away.”
Founded ten years ago, Nediar’s primary focus is designing and manufacturing services of special tools and ground support equipment for the aeronautical industry.
Additionally, they also have a business unit focused on creating virtual experiences with 4.0 technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality. The primary objective is to support training and education processes within organisations, not only in the aeronautical industry.
“Working with Nediar was my tech dream come true,” Ms Young said. “I worked with a team to develop an augmented reality app, using Unity and Vuforia (programming development environments), that showcased a 3D model and included descriptions of its components.”
Her tasks were a bit daunting, at first, because she had never done anything like it.
“As I was new to Unity and Vuforia, I appreciate the team being patient with me as I learnt the technology,” she said. “I am proud to say that I completed this internship in Spanish and helped to create the app in both English and Spanish.”
She also spent a week writing a manual for her work, in both Spanish and English.
After the internship, Juan Jaramillo, project manager at Nediar, said Ms Young was one of the most outstanding interns they had ever had.
“She has shown a lot of commitment, energy, and attitude,” Mr Jaramillo said. “We are glad to have Kameron, and I hope she has learnt as much as we have in these short eight weeks. We hope that she will be able to successfully complete her studies in biomedical engineering. We wish Kameron all the best for her future and hope that she can even become part of Nediar’s staff in the future, like another of our international interns who finished his internship and was soon hired by our company.”
Ms Young enters the first year of Queen Mary University of London’s biomedical engineering programme at the end of next month. Her long-term goal is to become a bilingual surgeon with a focus on robotics.
Her interest in technology was inspired by her late grandfather the trade unionist, Kenyetta “Burning Spear” Young.
“From really young, he would show me things on the computer,” she said. “He would say this is how you do Microsoft Word, or this is how you make a spreadsheet. Then we would do little breaks, and I would play games with him on the computer. He would say this is not what I taught you to use the computer for.”
Now, her Instagram handle is @burningspearsnumba, a nod to her grandfather, who died in 2016.
“He was influential in helping black workers get their rights in the workplace,” she said. “I have very big shoes to fill.”
However, as a young teenager, she wanted to be a virologist. Her work with Dr Weldon gave her an interest in medicine, more generally.
“But I really did not want to let go of technology either,” she said.
She saw a way forward when she attended a TEDx talk in Bermuda in 2018, given by roboticist Ayanna Howard, currently serving as the dean of the College of Engineering at Ohio State University.
“I went up to her afterward,” Ms Young said. “I told her that I didn’t see a degree that said medicine and technology. I asked her what she recommended. She said I should do biomedical engineering. That is how I got into it. I was in my last year in high school.”
Ms Young plans to eventually go on to medical school. In the meantime, she is hoping to do more internships like the one she did at Nediar, maybe a bit more geared towards engineering.
The internship was virtual, but she would love to go to Colombia.
“I asked if Nediar would have any other internships in the future,” she said. “The said if they did, they would let me know.”
She is now working to get certified in Unity.
“I don’t want to do the internship and not continue to use those skills,” she said. “I want to get certified while I still remember everything.”