The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2015! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s post features Sally, a data-centric Engineering intern from UIUC who has been working on the Fraud Prevention team in Palo Alto.

Who are you?

I’m Sally Zhang and I’m a rising 2nd year CS Masters student specialized in Information Retrieval and Text Mining at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). I also received my BS degree in Statistics & Computer Science from UIUC in May 2014. I’m a data lover as well as a data-oriented engineer.

How did you get the internship at Groupon?

It was my first time presenting at Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) last year in Phoenix, and I was contacted by #GrouponU recruiters a month before the conference. First, I had a phone screen with a Technical Recruiter, followed by a technical phone interview with a Data Scientist in Chicago. I passed both. 🙂

Next, at Grace Hopper, I talked with several Grouponers about projects, teams, and life at Groupon. Props to Groupon for being a GHC Gold Sponsor and sending so many wonderful Grouponers in green jackets to the conference to support Women in Technology! After I flew back to campus, I finished a couple more technical phone interviews with Groupon. Although it was a thorough interview process that tested my coding, design pattern, project management, leadership and communication skills, I didn’t feel frustrated or tired at all! Everyone I spoke with was really friendly, helpful, and made me feel at ease. Three days later my offer from Groupon arrived, which made my day!

What do you do at Groupon? 

I’m a Software Engineering intern on the Fraud Prevention team in Palo Alto. My team and I strive to become “Fraud Busters.”

What happened in your first week?

Two days before my internship started, my manager called me asking if I’d like to join the team on a business trip to Chicago. I of course said, “YES!” So, on my first day, I received my work equipment, had onboarding and orientation, then booked my fight to Chicago. At Groupon headquarters, I spent the rest of my first week meeting with the Fraud Operations team! It was a great adventure because I learned more about Groupon’s architecture and teams, observed the team’s manual review processes, met more Grouponers, and had a lot of fun. I love my team; they’re always welcoming and patient when answering any questions I have. After successfully setting up the development environment, I was ready to start pushing code in the following week.

[At Lean{in}tern Summer Kickoff event with Groupon girls (Amanda, Bria, Kavya)]

What are you working on?

This summer, I worked on two data engineering projects. The first project touched the backend data infrastructure of the anti-fraud platform where I not only learned a lot about how fraud detection systems work at Groupon, but I also learned to work with Ruby on Rails for the first time. I was so excited to see that my code had been pushed to the production codebase and set a foundation being built upon by other members of my team. The second project was on the fraud data analysis side where I evaluated two models for classifying Groupon Local purchases as fraud/non-fraud. I used various kinds of ETL frameworks, tools and languages including Splunk, Hadoop, Teradata, Accertify, Python/Bash/SQL, etc. Besides my main projects, I also worked on a GeekOn project with several interns and full-time employees. Our project was one of the local finalists!

[Women@Groupon Volunteer Day at Sunnyvale Full Circle Farm]

What have you done outside of work?

Groupon had a lot of cool events for us interns this summer! We went to a Giants game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, visited California’s Great America Theme Park in Santa Clara, volunteered at Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale, went to ComedySportz in San Jose, etc. Aside from those events, I also hung out with other interns and participated in a lot of events for Bay Area interns, especially those supporting Women in Engineering.

In June, I went to the huge 2015 INTERNAPALOOZA event in SF and spent two days hacking at Summer Hack Day 2015 at Dropbox HQ, which was the first hackathon for women interns in the Bay Area. In July, I attended Lean{in}tern Summer Kickoff at LinkedIn HQ with three other interns to represent Groupon and show Groupon’s efforts in increasing workplace diversity. I also took part in Taking Flight: An Evening for Women in Engineering at Airbnb HQ where we listened to a really inspiring panel that highlighted the career paths of multiple women who had taken different routes in their technical careers. I had a really productive, inspirational and fun summer!