Andre Biehl '25

Internship: Imazon 
Location: Brazil
Program: John C. Bogle '51 Fellows in Civic Service
Concentration: Operations Research & Financial Engineering

Why did you choose your internship?

I choose this internship because I worked with them in high school and I know they are very dedicated and hardworking people who are very committed to solving a lot of issues we're facing today regarding climate change. I wanted to gain technical skills and marry my interests in computer science with sustainability a little more, and get some more experience with machine learning. 

What have you learned?

I really learned a ton of things, but two come to mind. The first is how complex and nuanced some really simple sounding problems can actually be. As an example I spent six out of the seven weeks in the office really cleaning data for the model itself, not even training it, just because getting clean data in the first place is surprisingly difficult. 

The second thing is kind of related to stakeholders. I really found it interesting and important to learn from stakeholders first hand. Indigenous communities, riverine communities, and policymakers during trips to the Amazon because it's from there that the technical solution should arise because they are the ones who see the complexity and problems firsthand, not just models. 

What has been most memorable for you? 

The most memorable moment for me was seeing a jaguar on a trip to the Pantanal, which is unfortunately an endangered ecosystem. It's now dry but it used to be a wetland. I turned to my right while we were in a Jeep and just saw a flash and it was a 200-pound jaguar eying our car and just stalked us for a bit. Then eventually it proceeded off to hunt some boar it was going after. That was certainly memorable.