IST intern analyzes data to help inform operations at Bank of America

Hope Damato
August 10, 2021

(Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of stories highlighting College of Information Sciences and Technology students and their summer internships.)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Before coming to college, Izaak Lustgarten started a company in his home country of Venezuela, called Hats2Help, which sold fashion apparel with Venezuelan-inspired designs. His team donated a large percentage of their profits to buy food and medicine for people living in extreme poverty and distributed resources to hundreds of children.

Eager to strengthen his entrepreneurial skill sets and drive at Penn State, he continued to build on his professional development through a number of opportunities; first, as an intern at a Miami-based startup that aimed to connect extreme sports enthusiasts with professionals in that same sport for coaching. Then, in his second year, he interned at a venture capital firm that invests in Israeli startups that focus on technology.

“The College of IST helped me land these positions because of the technical skills and approach that my professors have taught me,” he said. “Without it, I probably wouldn’t have felt comfortable to even apply to positions like this.”

This summer, as a junior, Lustgarten is working at Bank of America as a global quantitative analytics summer intern. He analyzes data to help the bank make informed decisions for its digital banking. One of his favorite things about the internship is that every project is different, making no two days alike and giving him the opportunity to develop a well-rounded skill set.

In the future, he hopes to continue to work with Bank of America as a quantitative analyst and make new connections with his coworkers. He wants to put his technical skills to the test and gain knowledge from the people around him, at his internship and in the classroom.

“The College of IST and its faculty are all willing to help students,” he said. “Every time I had an idea for a startup, app or new company, I would discuss it with some of my professors and they were always very willing to guide me. It’s not a unilateral relationship; it goes both ways and I really like that.”

Lustgarten said that it was common for people that he knew in Venezuela to study engineering, and a few of them attended Penn State. After hearing about their experiences, he initially applied to the industrial engineering program, but switched his major to the information sciences and technology, design and development option, because he wanted to learn how to code.

He expands on his knowledge outside of the classroom through his participation in an organization that develops the professional skills through hands-on interaction with the Israeli economy called TAMID Group and the student run venture capital fund, Happy Valley Capital. He was also the vice president of the International Student Organization at Penn State Altoona, where he spent his first two years of college.

“I liked that Altoona is a small campus compared to University Park,” he said. “Coming from a relatively small school in Venezuela, going into Altoona first helped me a lot in adapting to main campus.”

His flexibility in moving many times throughout his career has adapted him to a constantly changing environment. He says that the things he likes the most about Bank of America is their values and their approach to work and decision-making.

“I’m looking forward to continue learning as much as I can,” he said. “I’m talking every day with people that know a lot more than me in areas I’m deeply interested in.”

Last Updated August 10, 2021