STEM Education and Internships: Students Are the Future
As a teenager, I can’t say that I was very career focused. I was more interested in the new Slayer or Napalm Death album, or the new Playstation game that came out the previous week than planning on what college I was going to go to. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life (though, nearly 20 years later, I’m still not sure what I want to do when I “grow up”). Only with many twists and turns down the road of life did I find a career in the tech world.
Recently, I had the opportunity to mentor some high school students from SAISD that already have a major advantage in life that I didn’t have while I was attending high school: they know what they want to do with their lives! These extraordinary kids were spending several weeks of their summer vacations to participate in a Jungle Disk internship. The internship consisted of them researching our product suite and compare it with our competitors to create a marketing pitch. Also, more importantly, they met a lot of people from our company, and learned about life in a tech startup.
The students were most interested in the lifestyle of a tech startup employee. They had lots of questions about day-to-day life in the office, company culture, and the types of people that are on a team such as ours. A lot of the young women were happy and surprised to see that it’s not as much of a male-dominated environment as stereotypes lead people to believe. Our company culture is very diverse, and runs the gamut in terms of gender, age, political orientation, and lifestyles, but at the same time we all live by and reflect the same core values and all work towards the same goal every single day. Yes, many of us are nerds, and nerdy people tend to be more technical, but technical roles are not the only roles in a business like ours. We need people of all walks of life to make this machine work, and the kids were very happy to see this sort of diversity in our workplace.
If these kids keep on the same track that they are currently on, they have a bright and fruitful future ahead of them. We wish all of our high school interns the very best in their future endeavors.