What do you get when you mix 13 college students, seven different majors and one trading software firm in downtown Chicago? An irreplaceable summer internship experience, that’s what. We are already halfway through our 10-week summer internship at Trading Technologies, and boy, what a time it has been.
But let’s take a trip back for a second. It’s June 5, 2017 around 9:45 a.m. and I’m walking through a glass door into a room with green walls, funky couches, various game tables and twelve pairs of complete strangers’ eyes staring right back at me.
Do I… (a) Run? (b) Slowly back out of the room, no one saw me right? Or (c) Sit down and hope for the best?
I’m totally kidding, it was not that intimidating. In fact, it was the exact opposite. All of the interns were chatting with each other, asking typical questions like: “Where are you from?” “What’s your major?” and “What team are you going to be working with this summer?” I didn’t think the atmosphere could get any more welcoming, but then it did.
Over the first couple weeks, each intern spent time meeting with their managers, getting to know their teams and learning about what projects they would be working on over the summer. That’s right, projects. I guess our managers weren’t lying when they said we wouldn’t be fulfilling the cliche intern act of “fetching coffee” and, instead, would be gaining actual hands-on experience in our fields. We also learned the details of the intern trading competition, which actually just began this past week. Everything is running pretty smoothly so far, but I heard things have gotten pretty intense in past years. A little healthy competition never hurt anyone though, right?
The overall office hospitality has exceeded expectations. It instantly felt like we were a part of the TT family, and not just a distant second cousin that no one ever talks to. (You might laugh, but I’ve heard horror stories from other friends’ internship experiences.) I mean, how cool is it for the interns to receive an open invitation from the CEO to stop by his desk just to chat?
But what was really exciting was the immediate sense of comradery among the interns, almost like we met prior to this summer (even though no one actually had). The variety of personalities and interests has made for a very well-rounded and enjoyable group of interns-turned-friends that I am very honored to introduce.
So, without further ado, I present to you the 2017 TT Summer Interns:
Alex Markowitz, University of Chicago.
Alex will enter his junior year in the fall and is majoring in Computer Science. This summer, Alex is working with TT’s Web Team. His projects consist of helping to build and maintain the web interface of the TT trading platform.
Intern Superlative: “Most likely to set a bagel on fire before finding the perfect toaster settings.”
Ben Rubin, University of Pennsylvania.
Ben is a rising junior with a Finance and Statistics major. He is working with the Product Management team here at TT. His projects focus on designing and managing updates to the TT platform, ranging from Monitor to User Setup, in order to improve functionality and user experience.
Intern Superlative: “Most likely to hold an eternal grudge against a restaurant that he was disappointed by.”
Cassandra (Andie) Renfrew, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
Andie will be entering her senior year in the fall and is majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Math and Business. Here at TT, she is working on developing software with the Business Operations (BizOps) team. Her main project this summer is to move the last of TT’s Windows-hosted servers to a Linux box in order to comply with company standards.
Intern Superlative: “Most likely to be one of the first people in the office every day (and get all of the good muffins/bagels before they run out).”
Dan Volcheck, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dan is a soon-to-be junior and is majoring in Computer Science. This summer, he is working with the Edge Server team. His project is to work on modifying code in order to fix bugs and remove unimportant log messages.
Intern Superlative: “Most likely to say yes when someone asks ‘Roti for lunch?’”
Daniel Ruswick, Northwestern University.
Daniel is a rising junior majoring in Economics. This summer is actually his second consecutive summer as a TT intern. This go-around, he is working as a part of the Data Services team. He’s developing python scripts that gather specific data and produce an algorithm.
Intern Superlative: “Most likely to bring you to a restaurant you’ve never heard of but will definitely want to visit again.”
Jake Johnson, Illinois State University.
In the fall, Jake will be entering his junior year with a major in Business Administration. This summer, he is working as a member of the IT support team here at TT. His projects include conducting a scan audit and maintaining and updating the various technologies throughout the office.
Intern Superlative: “Most likely to slide in a sentence about cars during almost any conversation.”
Jonathan Wexler, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Jonathan majors in Computer Science and will be a junior this fall. He is working for the FIX team this summer. His project centers on building an improved code that better mediates and directs the FIX messages sent from TT.
Intern Superlative: “Most likely to go to great lengths to find gelato.”
Justin Duda, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Justin will be entering his fourth year as a Computer Science major. Here at TT, he is a part of the SET team, which stands for Software Engineering in Test. He is working on a service that will automatically run specific tests when a developer tries to merge their code into certain parts of the TT code base. These tests will make sure that the code is up to standards.
Intern Superlative: “Most likely to be found with a bowl of almonds.”
Pavel Kleyner, Northwestern University.
Pavel is a rising junior and is majoring in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. This summer he is working for the Prices team. His project focuses on creating tools for monitoring price and instrument data that TT receives from exchanges.
Intern Superlative: “Most likely to decorate his desk with an impressive amount of empty LaCroix cans.”
Sam Fazel-Surjui, Carnegie Mellon University.
Sam will be entering his junior year and majors in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is working with TT’s Monitoring Team this summer. For his project, he will be working with certain tools such as Splunk, Icinga and Graphite to make sure the TT platform is running smoothly. He will also be monitoring traffic to help reduce security threats from malicious attackers.
Intern Superlative: “Most likely to use a picture of anyone but himself as his own avatar.”
Samuel Lee, Carnegie Mellon University.
In the fall, Sam will be entering his senior year as an Electrical and Computer Engineering major. This summer he is working with the Diagnostics Team at TT. His projects include monitoring data center loads, automating error detection and recovery, and data visualization.
Intern Superlative: “Most likely to be the last intern out of the office.”
Varun Dubey, Georgia Institute of Technology.
Varun is one step ahead of the rest of us interns—he has already received his Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science from Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani. He is currently in his second year at Georgia Institute of Technology working toward his Masters in Quantitative and Computational Finance. Varun is a part of the TT Web team, and he will be working to improve and create new features for the TT platform and its components (i.e., Autospreader®, MD Trader®, Market Grid, etc.).
Intern Superlative: “Most likely to be able to help other interns with their projects.”
And lastly, me…
Anna Pristach, Loyola University Chicago.
I am a rising senior majoring in Marketing with a minor in Finance, and I am working with the wonderful Marketing team this summer. So far, I have been putting my writing and editing skills to the test on different blog posts and social media posts, helping plan the MarketsWiki World of Opportunity event with the John Lothian News team, exploring the analytics behind TT’s website, and dabbling in a little photography here and there.
Oh, and how could I forget—indulging in the vast variety of coffee, La Croix and ultimate snack foods that are constantly stocked in the (very impressive) kitchen.
Although each of us has been busy with our own projects, there’s still been plenty of time set aside to spend together as a group. We’ve attended two lunch-and-learns already—one with CEO Rick Lane and another with Global Head of TT Customer Support Molly McMahon—and have two more on the docket with CTO Drew Shields and VP of Customer Success Kara Grygotis. These provide the perfect package deal: the interns can visit with each other while also having the opportunity to speak with members of the TT leadership team who we don’t normally work with on a day-to-day basis.
Outside of work, we’ve even gotten together to attend some events throughout the city, like the Taste of Chicago and the #ChiInternsUnite events hosted through the Illinois Technology Association (ITA). There are a couple more fun things in the works, but like any good summer plans, they’ll probably be officially decided the day of.
It’s a little crazy, and definitely bittersweet, to think how fast the first half of our internship has come and gone. I think I can speak on behalf of all of the interns when I say how thankful we are for this insightful and delightful summer internship opportunity from TT. It has been very refreshing to have something that makes waking up at 6:00 am NOT dreadful (I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a morning person).
I look forward to whatever exciting and (possibly) unexpected things the last month of our internships have in store for us all.