Matt Schleifman ’21

Plexus Knowledge LLC, New York, NY

This summer, I worked remotely at Plexus Knowledge as a software engineer. Plexus seeks to redesign the traditional paradigm of note-taking. By creating a visual, graph-based representation of the user notes, Plexus allows the user to explore and retain their knowledge in a meaningful way. Over the summer, the Plexus team aimed to release version 2 (V2) of the web-app, majorly overhauling most aspects of the previous iteration. I was primarily in charge of improving how notes are displayed to the user in web-form. The task was very challenging. Taking ownership over such a large aspect of the application required a deep understanding of the tech-stack of Plexus and previous code that had been written by multiple people over the last two years. Additionally, the remote nature of the internship meant that I was required to troubleshoot by myself much of the time. Accordingly, my output at the beginning of the summer was relatively low. As time passed, I became much more experienced and comfortable writing my own code and replacing old code. I also became increasingly familiar with Plexus’ tech stack, and by the end of the summer, I implemented several key features in the web-view that will serve as the foundation for future versions of the web-app.

The overarching goal for the summer was to finish V2 and begin beta testing. We ultimately wound up a few weeks short of that goal. V2 essentially rebuilt Plexus from the ground-up, taking more time than we anticipated. However, we are confident that in several weeks’ time, we will be able to begin beta testing. We are incredibly excited about the potential of V2 and are excited to see how people react to it.

Professionally, Plexus solidified my interest in front-end web development. My coding experience academically had been limited to smaller-scale, independent projects. Plexus was a great experience because it taught me many things about professional programming. I gained a strong understanding of JavaScript and ReactJS, a popular front-end framework. These skills give me a solid foundation on which I can continue to grow my professional skills. Upon graduation, I plan on pursuing a job that uses these same skills. Without Plexus, I would not have a comparable opportunity to learn these skills in such a hands-on environment. In the upcoming year, my last at Williams, I will continue to hone these skills and prepare for a career in a similar field. I am also planning to supplement my job search with classes at Williams that will prepare me to enter the tech industry, in particular start-ups. I am planning on taking classes on machine learning, artificial intelligence, and game theory in my last year. I’m extremely grateful for the amazing opportunity that ASIP has given me this unusual summer. It allowed me to explore a field of computer science that I now plan to go into full time!