Amazon scientist Olga Moskvyak laughs out loud when asked whether she’s tried Vegemite.
“I can eat it, no problem, but I prefer avocado smash,” says Olga who moved to Australia from Russia eight years ago, admitting that despite her extensive scientific training, she has no idea exactly how much of the black stuff is best to spread on toast.
“My son recently asked me to buy him a jar of vegemite because he tried it at school and he liked it. Now he makes his own sandwiches and he knows how much to put on bread - because I don’t know how much is enough!”
Olga, who grew up in a small town near Moscow, and husband, Artem, a software engineer, came to Brisbane to further their studies and build a new life.
She started at Amazon as an Applied Science Intern in July last year, and since then has helped develop a program to support Amazon Marketplace sellers by automatically filling in information about their products based on the images they upload.
“We use the power of computer vision to understand as much of the product as we can – such as colour, style and material - based on the images the selling partner provides,” she explains. “Computer vision speeds up the process, improves the data quality, and reduces the manual errors, while also making the process simpler for our selling partners.”
She’s currently working on a new computer vision project with Amazon teams around the world, including Japan and Canada, that will enable customers to ‘try on’ products virtually.
One application of this work will allow consumers to open the camera on their mobile phone and virtually apply make-up they are looking to purchase on the Amazon App and see how it looks on them.
“Working at Amazon is great because I was able to apply what I did for my PhD on real world challenges”
“It is also really great for work/life balance, which is important to me. I enjoy my work at Amazon, and I really like that I can to easily manage my work with my family life.”
Olga gained an undergraduate degree in maths at Lomonosov Moscow State University, before working as a systems consultant and travelling the world working with clients in pharmaceutical, gas, and mining industries.
But her thirst for knowledge led her back to her studies after she and Artem decided on a new adventure in Australia where she studied for a Master’s in information systems at Central Queensland University, before switching to study for a computer science PhD.
Her life changed again when her son Lucas was born soon after she began her PhD studies.
“I love him so much but at the same time I wanted to continue working and developing myself,” she explains.
Amazon’s intern program allowed her to find an almost perfect balance between motherhood and career. “I would definitely recommend the intern program,” she says.
“It’s an amazing program. It allows you to work with an awesome team, and I think it’s a great opportunity for graduates because sometimes it’s not easy to find your first job - and Amazon pays competitive salaries and provides great career opportunities.”
Olga, Artem and Lucas are loving life in sunny Brisbane where they have embraced a classic Queensland outdoorsy life. However, Olga says they have also developed a soft spot for Hobart because it reminds them of a northern European city with its diversity.
“I really like Tasmanian wines and mangoes in summer,” she laughs.
To apply for an Internship at Amazon Australia visit here