PKG Social Impact Internships: Harveer Singh (’22)
Harveer is in the class of 2022 at MIT and is currently majoring in computer science and microbiology. He did a PKG internship at Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation as a research intern working on the impact of COVID on higher education.
I’ve been working with Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation since the middle of the summer and I’ve had plenty of time to work and understand the objectives at hand. The goals I had written prior have been set into motion and seeing progress being made has definitely been the most rewarding part of this experience. This project was a real example of how economics plays hand in hand with trying to get optimal solutions that weighed multiple factors. It was especially relevant for me as a college student as there was a lot of uncertainty around what was going to happen. But beyond all of this, I got exposed to a lot of techniques used to research and analyze lots of data and information.
When learning in class it’s easy to read and memorize material and methods but it’s hard to internalize them without first-hand experience. After going through this experience it makes it easier to apply the work I did to other aspects of my life. Although the hard skills I learned were difficult to directly apply, it was the thought process behind them that was the most valuable. One of the most applicable areas for this is in my life. My decision making process has been completely revamped by this. The concept of gathering as much information as possible and weighing the pros and cons of doing something one way versus the other is exactly what the research ability taught me. This was something I started to realize over time, just making all the connections from my work to most things in my life. In addition to this, the impact on social issues also became apparent.
Beyond the scope of my work, I noticed how this line of thinking applies to different occupations. Being at MIT you get exposed to many different fields and the scope of practice of each and you sometimes feel like your work doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. That is, the technical skills we learn are often used in industry and it’s easy to overlook what else can be used for. This experience taught me about how the same skills can be used in social impact. Furthermore, this realization kind of gives me hope in the progress of these social causes that aren’t seen as sexy because they aren’t driven by profit. This inspires me to be wary of these causes and gives me the confidence to know that I can help in some way even if I don’t work on it full time.