Student Success Story

Melissa, '17 Computer Engineering

Photo of Melissa

1. Tell us about yourself and why you choose your major? 

I am the first member of my family to go to college. I love the college atmosphere, not for the parties - I hardly go out,  but for the academics. There is so much to learn! It’s exciting to go to class everyday because I truly enjoy what I am learning about. I’m one of those “weird” people who thinks that school is fun, math is cool, and the professors are really awesome!

Growing up, I had a pretty awesome childhood - my family was great. My father owned his own engineering firm and he always took me to work with him. When I was in high school, I used to go to his office on the weekends to see what kind of cool projects he was working on. He always made work seem so fun, I knew that I wanted to do what he did when I grew up. As my skills progressed, he let me help him help out around the shop. I helped him complete a few projects here and there, it gave me really great experience (I believe that experience helped me land my first internship at Intel). Plus, my father was like my best friend, so working at the shop meant that I got to hang out with my best friend all day and do something that we both enjoyed - it was great! 😊

2. How did you hear about your internship? What was the search process like?

I heard about the internship from the Career Center at SJSU - more specifically I heard about it from Donna Gilmour. She helped me a lot with the search process! I owe my success to her.

I met with Donna multiple times to strengthen my resume and get it into “industry shape”. I had the tools, but she helped me make them more presentable (if that makes sense?)

In addition to helping me with my resume, she help me set up various search agents on the career center website. So I got weekly emails about job openings in my field that I was interested in.

However, at the time when Intel was hiring, not many engineers took advantage of the career center. The HR representative asked Donna if she had any candidates that might be good for the job because not many people from SJSU had applied (hard to believe, right?). So Donna emailed me about the position, at the time I really needed a job and was going to take whatever came my way. I was so shocked when Intel actually called me back and eventually hired me… I mean (holy cow!) it’s Intel!!

3. What did you do as an intern? What was your experience?

I am currently still working at Intel. I started in January of 2015. The position is on-going depending on how well I preform, it can last up till my graduation at SJSU - at which point they could hire me (if I am lucky enough - I hope that I am).

I do various things at Intel. I am in the Engineering Computing department. In this department I have worked in the Data Centers as well as in the Product Development Labs. I provided support to various machines and operating systems by quickly trouble shooting complex situations. I have also built and maintained various client/server architectures. On a daily basis I am working with virtual environments, system management and encryption. Throughout doing some tedious work, I have developed a few scripts for automation that have helped speed up the work in the Data Center.

I am loving my experience at Intel. I also love the intern program that I am in. It’s a rotational program, so we are not always doing the same thing - we switch rolls every quarter. In addition to that, we have some freedom. If we see an issue, or something that can be improved, we are allowed to be innovative and create our own scripts to improve our current processes. Also, if we have an interest we would like to pursue, we can let our manager know and they can work with us to make sure that we can explore that avenue.

We also have free classes that we can take. I have taken advantage of it and am learning bash, perl, and python. The classes are great! Taking these classes helped me write a few of my programs :)

4. What did you learn?

I have learned so much at Intel it is hard to pin point everything that I have learned. It feels like I am always learning new programming tricks by working with different people.

But I will say this, I have learned how to learn on my feet. Industry is very fast paced, if you want to do well I think that you have to practice - kind of similar to school. Meaning that you need to take the time to familiarize yourself with your new work environment, the people around you, and the available resources so that your learning experience will be easier. 

I have also learned the importance of communication. If I can take one thing away from Intel it's that you can never be too specific. For instance, some of the people I work with get hundreds of emails a day, so properly filling out the subject line of an email is actually really important. 

5. Now that you've done an internship, how do you feel? What are you most excited about?

Now that I have an internship I feel great! I feel like a grown up. I feel responsible. I feel like I am positive member of society.I’m most excited about continuing my internship at Intel. There is still so much more to learn and so many more opportunities to be innovative! I hope that I can continue to positively represent the University and myself by doing the best that I can. The sky is the limit!

6. Do you have any advice for other students about internship opportunities?

One thing that I have been telling students since I have talked to Donna is GO SEE DONNA! Make yourself an appointment with the career center and have your resume looked at. As students, you don't know everything. These people are getting paid to help us find jobs. We get to use these services FOR FREE! Once we graduate, people pay for this kind of help.

I hope that students can take advantage of this now. There are so many job opportunities that the career center has to offer but not many people are taking advantage of it. I think that the students need to really make a solid effort in coming to this place. If you have time to go to a bar, you have time to come here. The amount of time it takes to edit your resume and set up the job searches is very minimal. Plus the people in that office are very nice and everyone wants you to succeed!

So I guess my advice to the students is stop complaining about how you can’t find a job. Put the effort in to go to the career center. Make the appointments, meet with people, and put in the work.

You will be able to find a job, Donna is great, YOU just have to make the first step.