Student first from university to win Canadian internship

By Benjamin Brumbaugh, The Penn (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)

IUP is a university of firsts for many students, including those winning prestigeous internships.

Zane Billy (junior, finance and management information systems) is the first IUP student to be selected for a Fulbright Canada-Mitacs Globalink internship.

Billy is a member of the Cook Honors College and is the lead analyst for the financial services sector of IUP’s Student Managed Investment Portfolio (SMIP).

He is also the vice president of the American Philanthropic Organization chapter at IUP, a member of Special Olympics IUP and a member of the Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity.

“The Fulbright-Mitacs Globalink is intended for U.S. students interested in coming to Canada to undertake advanced research projects for 10 to 12 weeks (between May and August) in their area of interest,” according to

“Projects will be drawn from a broad cross-section of research topics covering all academic disciplines and students will be placed with a university research project and undertake research projects under the supervision of a professor. Students will be given the opportunity to take part in professional training as well as extensive opportunity for cultural, social and recreational experiences.”

For Billy, this internship gives him opportunities to fulfill his dream.

“As someone who is interested in blockchain, decentralized apps and potential use cases but not majoring in engineering or computer science, this internship gives me the opportunity to learn in a controlled environment and give me an edge over other management information systems professionals,” Billy said.

“Aside from the initial competitive edge, being named a Mitacs Globalink fellow opens me up to graduate school opportunities in Canada and allows me to network with scholars from across the world in connection to both Fulbright programs and the Mitacs Globalink program.”

Billy looks forward to the work that will be happening with the scholarship.

“I will be working closely with my host professor to conduct a literature review of both the mechanics of smart contracts and my host professor’s writing on multi-attribute reverse auctions. Following that, we will review how to write smart contracts and prepare to migrate an existing reverse auction framework into a smart contract to deploy on a blockchain network.”

“My time in the honors college has given me the vigor to dive into new topics and create new perspectives in academic conversations, and my advisers have done well exposing the opportunities to do such on a larger scale – it was the natural next step to take my curiosity into a more formal setting,” Billy said.

Billy’s internship will be completed virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions.

He worked with IUP’s National Achievement Scholarships Office during his application process for the internship.

“I think all academically strong students should at least consider applying for national achievement scholarships,” Dr. Christian Vaccaro (sociology), the director IUP’s Office of National Achievement Scholarships, said. “I am happy that students like Mr. Billy step forward to give it a try.

“Like most academically strong students, Mr. Billy was enthusiastic about his major, future career, research topic and was willing to put the time and effort into the application process,” he said.

Billy was encouraged to apply for this internship by some of his professors who have seen potential in him.

“It was Zane’s budding curiosity about new things, new ideas and new ways of learning,” Dr. Lynn Botelho (women and gender studies) said. “He is also able to dig deep when necessary, handle well-meant corrective criticism with style and keep his eye on the big picture.”

“Billy is an intellectually curious person with a deep interest in the application of information technology to finance,” Dr. Pankaj Chaudhary (information systems and decision sciences) said. “His internship is in the area of block chain and smart contracts, which aligns with his interests and where he ultimately wants to be professionally.”

He is dedicated, intelligent and respectful and completes all his work on time with high standards. It is the combination of his intellectual curiosity and his interest in application of cutting-edge technology to finance that made him a good candidate for this internship.”

Internships and opportunities like this can be very helpful to students as they move from student life into the professional world.

“What I tell students is that they are often ‘smarter’ than they think,” Botelho said. “I tell them to go for it, work hard and be willing to learn in the process.

“If they get a ‘no,’ that is still a good thing. They learn so much about themselves and their own abilities in applying for scholarships, grants and jobs.

“They usually end up ahead of where they started, even if they do get that ‘no,’ and they will never get that ‘yes’ unless they try.”