Spring semester is drawing to a close, and that can only mean one thing for most students: it’s time to look for internships! Here are two students who just finished up an internship at SimIS, Inc. in Porstmouth, VA – Junior, Carolyn Lynch and Senior, Timothy Stelter.
1. Tell me a little bit about the work you did at your internship.
Carolyn: I worked on software for the American Heart Association which trained people in CPR. This software would monitor your movements using a X-Box Kinnect camera to make sure you were meeting the criteria to perform the procedure properly.
Tim: I worked with military/recon software to test unmanned boats. I would test the system to find breaks in the controller software. I developed test cases and simulations in order to reduce failures in the system and money loss. The main goal was to implement mission objectives and create solutions to hypothetical problems.
2. What did you enjoy most?
Carolyn: I really enjoyed the people. I worked with mostly younger people, in my generation, so the atmosphere was very relaxed. We all worked together in one big room which made collaboration really easy. I could just turn around and ask anyone for help with anything. I also enjoyed talking with the business people and getting a new perspective with the consumer side of software development, because these were the guys selling the software.
Tim: I enjoyed the fact that there were no cubicles. I could just ask anyone for help. I worked mostly with software people and I really enjoyed working with my supervisor. I had a lot of freedom as an intern to work on my project.
3. Would you go back and work with this company again?
Tim: Yes, I would probably take a job if they offered. The people were really nice, and getting the job done well was very highly stressed in the company. The job that Carolyn was working on especially stressed this because faulty medical software could lead to disaster.
Carolyn: I’m not sure. I would consider a job offer from them, but this job was mostly about getting internship experience.
4. Has your experience impacted what you want to do in the future?
Carolyn: Yes, I really liked contributing to something that served a bigger purpose. It was very different to working on assignments in a classroom. I was working with actual software and hardware and got to see how they interacted together. It made me realize I want my work to be “hands-on,” and I want that sense of camaraderie between the employees.
Tim: I received insight on the world of simulation and software engineering. It’s a constantly expanding field, and I got to direct my focus on where I can improve and narrow in on my strengths.
5. What advice do you have to your fellow students who are looking for internships?
Carolyn: Put yourself out there! We emailed a guy who was looking for a full-time employee but ended up hiring both of us as interns. Don’t just rely on job postings, be intentional with employers.
Tim: Show employers that you are genuinely interested in being there. They are looking to hire people who are enthusiastic about the work. Talking and networking are more important than you might think. Also, there is a lot of learning on the job. Even if you don’t know something, you’ll adapt while you’re there.