With interests in
Artificial Intelligence and Biotech
Portraits by ChiChi Ubina
Produced by Maya Hurst
Living in Fairfield County: 17 years
High school: Greenwich Academy 2021
Favorite song as a child: “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey
Favorite book from school: The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Diner order: Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream
Favorite phone game: Wordscapes
Kaia Close is a rising junior at Duke University where she is pursuing a Biology major with minors in Economics and Chemistry. She always planned on pursuing the Pre-Med track as an undergraduate and knew that a minor in Economics would provide her with the business knowledge that she hoped to gain.
In the fall of her sophomore year, Kaia took a course that focused on financial markets. During this class, Kaia and her classmates engaged in competitions where they would pitch presentations for real-life investment firms. Competitive by nature, Kaia truly enjoyed this aspect of the course and thus began to envision a more business-oriented career for herself. However, she is unwilling to relinquish her passion for medicine; Kaia shared her hope to integrate her two professional interests in the future:
“After I took this class, I was sure — I really, really like the financial aspect too, but if I’m going to do finance, I want it to be in a place where I know I’m also making a positive difference in people’s lives… it’s more meaningful for me to be working in a financial sector where I can apply my medical knowledge and be investing in products that are life-saving to individuals.”
This summer, Kaia is working in a position where she can achieve these goals as an intern for Longitude Capital, a healthcare venture capital firm where she works in the biotechnology sector. She had interviewed for the position in November of 2022 and was offered the job in early January 2023.
This six-week program is partially remote and includes a week-long trip to the company’s Menlo Park office in San Francisco. Kaia is living at home during this time and explained that she will also be working in-person in their Greenwich office later in the summer. She shared an overview of the program, which provides both training and exposure to the field. Interns attend classes to study skills such as accounting, valuation methods and using Excel to prepare for the finance world. Beyond this, they are given industry exposure as they listen in on company sector meetings, work on individual projects, and present pitches to the investment team. During her trip to California, Kaia will spend her time in the Menlo Park office meeting investment professionals, attending a workshop led by a Stanford professor, and building connections with those in the medical and health technology fields.
When asked about the biggest things she’s learned so far from this position, Kaia explained that she has found it especially interesting that, in this sector, one must be in tune with the nitty-gritty science behind the pharmaceuticals in order to understand the mechanisms behind the drugs; this knowledge is crucial when investing in healthcare companies. Beyond this, she has also realized how much more risk there is associated with venture capital versus the later-stage private equity; oftentimes in healthcare venture capital, it comes down to knowing the science and trusting your gut.
Following her work at Longitude Capital, Kaia will spend some time working with a doctor at the Celiac Disease Center, where she will be able to shadow endoscopies and learn the intricacies behind celiac disease diagnoses. Here, she will work on a project related to celiac disease pharmaceuticals.
During her free time, Kaia says that she often catches up on work, spends time with her parents barbequing or cooking, sees her friends, walks her dog, and bakes.
Lived in Fairfield County: 20 years
High school: Brunswick School 2021
Favorite song as a child: “Stronger” by Kanye West
Favorite book from school: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Diner order: The full breakfast — scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, pancakes
Favorite phone game: Stackball
Ali Hindy is a rising junior at Stanford University, where he is pursuing dual degrees in mathematics and computer science with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence. Ali has been interested in AI and computer science since high school and has known since then that he wanted to make an impact in the technological field in the future, especially in terms of today’s cutting-edge innovation in Artificial Intelligence.
This summer, Ali is living with a couple of roommates in Tribeca, where he works as a remote software engineering intern for Microsoft — a position he was offered in October of 2022 after applying last August. In this position, Ali is part of a team with two other interns, engineering software for AI systems.
Since Ali is working West Coast hours from the East Coast, his typical day begins around 9am, when he will head to the gym for a workout, make breakfast, and then focus on research until his work day begins around noon. As the day begins, Ali and his team members will conduct a daily “sync” meeting to determine where they are in their project and what their focus should be for the day. Twice a week, they additionally meet with their manager. Ali will then work on his tasks for the project until around 8pm, after which he will typically spend time with his roommates. Ali emphasized how this position has reinforced the importance of maintaining consistent and accurate communication with his team members, as well as the necessity of being able to figure things out on his own and teach himself new skills on the job.
In addition to his position at Microsoft, Ali is advising a climate tech startup and is additionally continuing his research with Stanford University’s Autonomous Systems Laboratory, where he began working as a research assistant in 2021 and has since become an undergraduate research fellow.
In the past, Ali has engaged with quantum computing research, was the co-founder of an odd jobs service during the COVID-19 pandemic, worked as a data science intern with Point Pickup, was on the innovation team for Yakera, and interned with Ellington Management Group as a quantitative research analyst.
During his free time, Ali enjoys exploring New York City and visiting his friends and family back in Fairfield County.