Summer Internships Yield Fellowships for Two UM Students

Bailee Bellevue and Jake McCall selected for the C Spire-Nokia Bell Labs Fellowship program

UM seniors Bailee Bellevue (left) and Jake McCall have been selected for the 2019 C Spire-Nokia Bell Labs Fellowship Program. The electrical engineering majors both interned at C Spire last summer. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – Before last summer, Bailee Bellevue and Jake McCall had taken a few classes and worked on a few projects together. Neither of the two University of Mississippi seniors knew that the other had applied for and been accepted into the 2018 summer internship program at C Spire.

Stationed in different departments, Bellevue and McCall each excelled in their work performances, so much so that both have been chosen to participate in a joint fellowship program between the company and a renowned research organization in information technology and communications.

Bellevue and McCall were selected for the 2019 C Spire-Nokia Bell Labs Fellowship Program. The program offers college juniors and seniors majoring in computer science and electrical or computer engineering at UM opportunities to conduct relevant industry research alongside some of the world’s leading scientists, engineers and technologists.

“My selection came as a wonderful surprise,” McCall said. “Finding out that Bailee had also been chosen was equally wonderful. She’s very hardworking and dedicated to whatever she does.”

Bellevue was quick to praise McCall for his leadership and willingness to help others.

“Jake will help you with whatever it is that you don’t understand,” Bellevue said. “I remember how once  he spent two hours with me before a final exam, helping me grasp a concept I wasn’t clear about. He’s just that kind of person.”

While both students are electrical engineering majors, neither expects to work in the same department as the other during their fellowship experiences. McCall is leaning toward computer programming; Bellevue’s choice is to remain within her field of study as she completes her senior design project.

“I worked in the systems integration department and with the team that dealt with insurance vendors,” said McCall, a Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College student from Millington, Tennessee. “I learned a lot more about programming and how to work in a company setting to accomplish things more quickly.

“Thanks to my mentor, I learned how to be more efficient in my work by not wasting time trying to figure out something that another employee could easily help me with.”

McCall said his professors have prepared him for the future by showing him the importance of hard work.

“If anything, during my electrical engineering studies, I have grown a deeper appreciation for the value of a good work ethic,” he said. “My professors have also done a great job in instructing me. They have satisfied my curiosity with every question I arose and have fueled my desire to learn more.”

Bellevue learned about the C Spire-Nokia Bell Labs Fellowship program through the C Spire information session during fall 2017 and the career fair. She applied during Christmas break 2017.

“This past summer, I was a RF design intern at C Spire,” said Bellevue, a Provost Scholar from Mandeville, Louisiana. “I helped with 5G spectrum planning. My internship helped me understand an engineer’s role in a telecommunication company like C Spire, providing experience with business presentations and technical aspects of the telecommunications business.”

The fellowship program doesn’t start until after summer, but Bellevue hopes she’ll be working at the Nokia Bell Labs New Jersey office on a future technology project for C Spire.

“After graduation in May, I plan on returning to C Spire to begin working with the RF design team,” she said. “My Ole Miss education has given me the engineering foundation to adapt to new technologies and systems.”

While he isn’t certain exactly what his duties as a fellow will entail, McCall plans to use his experiences as research for his Honors College thesis. He is already applying to graduate schools to pursue his doctorate.

“The idea of my thesis is to achieve localization using multiple inertial measurement unit sensors,” he said. “I am looking forward to writing a meaningful paper on the topic and developing a better understanding of IMU’s limitations.”

Fellows must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average and have an interest in working in a related technology field after graduation.

“These students are some of our best and brightest and represent future leaders in our industry,” said Stephen Bye, C Spire president. “This fellowship program allows them to hone their academic and research skills by working on projects that will make a difference.”

The Mississippi-based diversified telecommunications and technology services company has long supported academic excellence in colleges and universities, but in recent years has focused on working with educators, schools and community-based training efforts to help students and learners turn their education and training into a professional career.

Bye and Marcus Weldon, Nokia Bell Labs president, share a passion for technology innovation and in 2017 developed a fellowship program that is tailored to the specific needs of the future workforce in the Southeastern U.S.

“We’re very excited to partner with C Spire for this fellowship program, as it provides these students with incredible opportunities to work with Bell Labs researchers to help us invent the future,” Weldon said. “We’re always looking for bright minds to join our team, and this fellowship program is an innovative way for us to tap into the tremendous talent found at Ole Miss.”