Projects with Purpose and Other Elements of a Successful Internship Program

Juin 10, 2016 | Featured

Lucid Summer Interns 2016, Part 1

Intern Season Has Arrived
In the business world summertime is synonymous with intern season; and here at Lucid, we are thrilled to have just welcomed our new class of 2016 summer interns (you’ve likely just done the same). This year’s class is diverse, with students coming from four states, and studying a variety of disciplines at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In a heavily male dominated industry, we’re proud to report that 75% of our intern class is female, with 60% female representation within the tech department.

Like Lucid, our internship program has been growing fast over the past few years. We all want to give interns a positive experience, one that offers the opportunity to learn and grow professionally, and engage in meaningful work for the business. Along the way, we’ve found there are a few key elements that have helped us create an effective and successful program.

Elements of a Successful Internship Program

Projects With Purpose
Giving interns a long-term project they can start on from day one raises the stakes because they know the work they are doing will have a direct impact on the company, motivating them to put forward their best effort while learning the steps involved to complete a project. It’s important to clearly define the expectations and stakeholders affected by each project with the expectation that interns will create solutions and challenge themselves. Clearly outline an intern’s end goal to help them think critically about how they will accomplish the task at hand.

Before the summer begins, our tech team brainstorms and comes up with a project wish list before narrowing that down to a concrete list of projects interns can complete with the help of a mentor. Depending on each intern’s experience, they are matched with a project and a mentor who can best help them develop their skills.

Using their mentor as a resource, it’s up to each tech intern to research, strategize, design, and implement a solution with the end goal of shipping a final product at the end of the summer. Kevin Hosford, Senior Engineer and Intern Mentor, explains, “Intern time is being used to build meaningful apps for our company; things that are legitimately useful. Additionally, interns are getting sufficient onboarding help, which is something you don’t always see.”

Another mentor, Lance Lacoste, Lead Engineer, says, “Lucid interns are given a much more realistic view into the software engineering world. Rather than being taught a process in detail before being allowed to execute they are directly involved in a process from the beginning. It’s much more hands on than I have seen in the past and I believe that is exceptionally valuable to the interns.”

Mentorship Matters

Having an open relationship is important when working with interns, especially as a mentor, because it gives students who don’t have as much experience a safe environment to learn. Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and being able to receive advice from a mentor while also figuring out solutions to a problem is valuable.

We want interns to be comfortable speaking up when they are confused and to be held accountable for what they create. It’s important to not be afraid to ask questions or seek help if things are going wrong. Mentor Will Kuckro, Quality Assurance Manager believes that, “It’s always important to have someone guiding you, and for one to have practice guiding someone else in life. It’s important to have lots of different experiences, and a company like Lucid provides something different as a fast-growing company than larger, more established shops.”

We also want interns to understand that an abundance of resources exist outside of their mentor for them to take advantage of and to help them learn and get the most out of their internship. Because when it comes down to it, we want to create a work environment that promotes creativity and learning, and encourage not only the interns, but full time employees to collaborate, question, learn from each other, and build great products.

Frequent Feedback
Frequent feedback is another important element of a successful internship program. At Lucid, we encourage all of our interns to ask anyone on the team for feedback on their projects. We also hold a weekly internship standup where each intern gives an update of what they are working on for the week, including their goals and any blockers to those goals. This gives mentors and other team members the opportunity to offer advice on how to best go about their projects. In addition to the weekly standup, interns and mentors have at least one one-on-one meeting a week as well to discuss their progress and how to best move forward.

This feedback loop between mentor and mentee is valuable to the company as well. Each mentor is able to get to know their mentee well, which often leads to full time job opportunities. There are currently six members of the tech team who started out as Lucid interns. One of those former interns, Charles Perniciaro, is now a mentor because he wants to help teach and offer advice to people pursuing a similar path.

Stay tuned for an update later this summer to learn more about the projects our interns are working on, but for now…

Meet Our Interns
The Tech Team
Kristen Maus, Front-End Development Intern
Education: Majoring in Computer Science, University of New Orleans (2018)
Hometown: Slidell, Louisiana
Fun Fact: Kristen is a daredevil, and has gone sailing during a hurricane!

Victoria Slack, DevOps Intern
Education: Majoring in Math and Computer Science, Hamilton College (2018)
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
Fun Fact: Victoria has been practicing ballet for 8 years.

Tasnim Makada, Quality Assurance Intern
Education: BS in Computer Computer Engineering, India University (2010) Master’s in Computer Science, University of Texas-Arlington (2017)
Hometown: Rajkot, Gujarat, India
Fun Fact: Tasnim collects mugs from everywhere she visits, and currently has 47 different mugs.

Danh Nguyen, API Development Intern
Education: Majoring in Computer Science, Southern Methodist University (2017)
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Fun Fact: Read the Harry Potter series in reverse order.

Paul Morris, Business Intelligence Intern
Education: BS in Engineering, University of Texas-Austin (2009), MBA, Tulane University (2017)
Hometown: Midland, Texas
Fun Fact: Outside school and work Paul is an avid golfer, working to play on every course in the major championship rotation.

The Marketing Team
Kayla Kauffman, Marketing Intern
Education: Majoring in Marketing, Minoring in Legal Studies in Business and Spanish, Tulane University (2016)
Hometown: Melville, NY
Fun Fact: Kayla was an extra in the movie 22 Jump Street.

The Accounting Team
Rebecca Thiberville, Accounting Intern
Education: BS in Accounting, Louisiana State University (2015) Masters in Accounting, University of New Orleans (2016)
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
Fun Fact: Rebecca did the Disney College Program her sophomore year of college and worked in Frontierland.

The People Team
Gina Mascari, People Intern
Education: Majoring in Homeland Security and Sociology, Tulane University (2018)
Hometown: Chandler, Arizona
Fun Fact: When Gina was 14, she founded a charity that sewed sleeping mats and blankets for the homeless.

intern blog3

From left to right: Victoria Slack, Tasnim Makada, Danh Nguyen, Kayla Kauffman, Gina Mascari, Rebecca Thiberville, Paul Morris, Kristen Maus.

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