Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Alejandro Christlieb, I am a Mexican third year bachelor student doing the Math-Computer Sciences double major, and a minor in chemistry.
Can you quickly explain what the Bachelor Thesis consists of?
The bachelor thesis consists of a two-month academic internship, where students can first handedly engage with researchers in any topic of their choice. It is a very good opportunity for everyone interested on pursuing a career in academia to explore what research really means.
What was the subject of your Bachelor Thesis?
I did my bachelor thesis with the economics laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique, CREST, in a project aimed at predicting poverty from phone metadata in Senegal. Being a computer science student, my role was to develop the technological framework, where we explored the possibility of applying federated learning (privacy-preserving machine learning). In fact, me and two other bachelor students went to Dakar for almost two weeks to work with the ANSD (Agency of Statistics and Demography of Senegal), and Sonatel, which was a very enriching experience.
What are the skills that you were able to acquire during this project?
The bachelor thesis really pushed me to develop both autonomy and critical thinking. Throughout my project, I needed to execute the full research pipeline individually, assessing my progress and adapting to the emerging challenges. It was a process that really pushed my scientific skills and help me develop academically.
What advice do you have for future students who will have to carry out this project?
Overall, I have two main pieces of advice for future bachelors. First of all, I recommend bachelors to look for a topic which interests them and that makes sense for their future aspirations; the thesis is a very good opportunity to explore in depth your interests! Secondly, I also want to advice students to not stress too much over the thesis. I know sometimes doing an individual research project can seem intimidating, but in the end, professors are quite open to supervise students and the process is much smoother than you would think. So in short, relax and find a topic you enjoy!