UC Berkeley students talk past summer internships

Enrique Lopez/Staff

Enrique Lopez/Staff

Kingston Xu, mechanical engineering student in the Master of Engineering Program

The Daily Californian: Where did you intern?

KX: Microsoft.

DC: Why did you want to intern there?

KX: I had interned at Microsoft for three summers total. I started in my sophomore year of undergrad, and I just went back because my team was really awesome. I was working on the Surface team, and I worked on the Microsoft Surface products, like the Surface Book.

DC: What was the most interesting thing that happened while you were interning there?

KX: As part of my internship at Microsoft, they had this thing called the Microsoft Signature Event where all the interns are flown into Seattle. It’s basically one night where it’s like a big party for everybody. It happens every summer but last summer it was really, really cool because Ellie Goulding showed up and she performed.

DC: Did you feel like you were treated as a professional?

KX: Definitely. That’s actually one of the reasons I kept going back was because even my manager told me, ‘The work you’re doing and that you should expect (to be doing) is at the caliber of a new hire, a full time employee.’ It was difficult; it obviously entails doing a lot of stuff that’s more independent, like going out and getting stuff versus having somebody tell you what to do all the time.

DC: If you could go back in time, what would you do differently at this internship?

KX: I would ask more questions. Even after having done it for two summers, I was still afraid to ask questions because I felt like I was bothering people or wasting their time when they could be working on something else. But ultimately, especially in this team environment, you want to make sure you ask questions, especially to people who you think might know the answer.

Enrique Lopez/Staff

Enrique Lopez/Staff

Adyota Gupta, junior materials science and engineering major

DC: Where did you intern?

AG: I worked in the Materials Lab in the military.

DC: Why did you want to intern there?

AG: I took inspiration from my uncle. He actually used to be in the military (during the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks). He passed away during those attacks, and ever since then, it has been my dream to contribute and make our country much stronger.

DC: What did you learn from the experience overall?

AG: One thing that I really had there that I did not have in other internships was … the opportunity to spearhead my own research. No one handheld me along the way. I had to do a lot of cold calling, contact people and that experience really helped me feel like I was doing my own thing.

DC: What was the most interesting thing that happened while you were interning there?

AG: Being a part of the civilians, we always had to communicate with our military counterparts. They live in a different plane, and part of engineering is not only being able to apply the technicals, but also being able to have the communication skills to understand what these people want and what they need to have delivered. The main goal of working there is to support the fleet, all hands on deck, and the only way of doing that is communicating.

Enrique Lopez/Staff

Enrique Lopez/Staff

Interview with Jackie Zou, sophomore intended business/cognitive science major

DC: Where did you intern?

JZ: I interned at Chegg as a marketing design intern. I worked within the creative team at the marketing department there, making stuff like emails and banner ads and redesigning their content marketing strategy.

DC: What did you learn from the experience overall?

JZ: It was really great. The people that I worked with were very inviting, and they were very careful about making sure that they gave the interns meaningful work. It felt really rewarding because you get to see your stuff be implemented and see the company actually believe in you enough to put money behind the stuff that you do. I learned a lot about how an office runs and also about how to use certain programs properly, general team working stuff and how important workplace environment is in motivating you to do stuff.

DC: If you could go back in time, what would you do differently at this internship?

JZ: We had opportunities to talk with upper management with different workshops that they did about their careers; I would’ve been more active in reaching out to ask them for their experiences because I was a bit shy when it came to talking to people who were so senior to me.

Enrique Lopez/Staff

Enrique Lopez/Staff

Interview with Precious Listana, sophomore intended business major focusing on social entrepreneurship

DC: Where did you intern?

PL: I interned for the World Food Prize. Think about them as the Nobel Peace Prize for agriculture. I interned in India.

DC: Why did you want to intern there?

PL: I wanted to get hands-on experience that’s not in the U.S. Also, I did a lot of work on microfinance back in high school, and I realized that it’s one thing to do it on a high school level and it’s also another thing to do it abroad with people that are actually working on microfinance.

DC: What did you learn from the experience overall?

PL: I learned a lot of different things, but I think the main learning lesson was to leverage the resources around me because I was in an office filled with Ph.D. students, scientists with double Ph.D.s, master’s. … I knew that if I wanted to be successful, I had to learn what people in my office were doing and the research they were already a part of.

DC: What was the most interesting thing that happened while you were interning there?

PL: Getting the opportunity to not just read about current research there, but actually to go into a rural village and interview women that were affected positively by the work that the research center was doing. It was very, very eye-opening to not just read about it, but to actually go to where it’s actually happening and get personal insight.

DC: Did you feel like you were treated as a professional?

PL: People treated me not just as a professional but as an adult that can actually make something tangible and make a real impact with my own research.

DC: If you could go back in time, what would you do differently at this internship?

PL: I would tell the voice in my head to shut up, that I couldn’t succeed in this, because if I came in there with the confidence and the belief that I’m going to learn and I’m going to make the most of it, then it could have been a different turnout. I would have just told myself to believe more that I got in here for a reason, that they saw something in me, and I should be proud of myself for that.

Contact Justin Sidhu at [email protected].

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