Wael Baalbaki ’22

Whooo’s Reading, San Diego, CA

This summer, I interned as a statistical researcher at Whooo’s Reading (WR), an educational platform, empowered through AI, that aims to bring the students out of the ‘multiple choice questions’ routine, while facilitating the workload for the teachers. Although my role, and the associated projects were very specific, I learned all about the ins and outs of a startup.

My main function was studying our customers, their activity, and their interest, in hopes of developing ways to boost user retention. At first, I felt like there are many ways to approach the task at hand, and this was quite intimidating. However, with guidance and research, I took the first steps in defining an active user on our website, and analyzing their activity to further refine that definition. By the end of the internship, I had come up with a system that classifies all users of our product, starting with the students, then their associated teachers, and then their schools, based on the student/teacher activity on the website.

Given the nature of my position, I was immersed in lots and lots of data—new and archived—resulting in a repeating process of data manipulation, filtering, and analysis, as well as having to tie together multiple data sets, or cross-analyze them to reach some results. The final result was a self-fulfilled system that increases in accuracy the more iterations it is repeated. My system classifies our user base based on activity alone, taking into account some standards for activity set by the organization. My other projects had the common theme of finding ways in which we can affect user activity and retention.

The people at WR were absolutely, incredibly awesome. We started the summer with a team of ten people—six staff and four interns—giving me the opportunity to work closely with many of the founding members of the startup and developing a personal relationship with each of them.

The most significant effect this internship had on me was showing me what it is like to have a real job and to work on significant projects knowing that people are counting on you and your results for the good of their growing company. I’d say I learned tons about responsibility and time management, as these were most crucial during this internship.

I would like to thank the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and Ms. Dawn Dellea for managing this program, and linking with this great opportunity to learn and earn. And, I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Case for their generous support, which gave me the opportunity to explore my budding passion in a professional setting.