Major: B.S. in Informatics, computer science cognate, 2016
Hometown: Evansville, Ind.
Internship Advice: Experience different aspects of an industry before you decide what to do.
It’s important to have an open mind.
For instance, when Abby Seibert was growing up in Evansville, Ind., she had her heart set on attending Purdue. Most of the kids at her high school were focused on either IU, Purdue, or the University of Evansville, and Purdue was her goal.
Then she visited Bloomington, fell in love with the campus and its close-knit community feel, and she changed her mind. When she first arrived at IU, she thought she would study pre-law, but again, her mind was changed when she got an opportunity to explore the School of Informatics and Computing. Seibert decided to pursue an Informatics degree with a cognate in computer science and minors in human-centered computing and criminal justice.
However, her first internship came in the marketing department at Skanska, a project development and construction group, with a focus on presentation of public spaces in new buildings. Her second internship came as an undergraduate researcher at Texas Tech in the summer of 2014, a positon SoIC’s Career Services office helped facilitate.
“It’s part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates program,” Seibert says. “I saw it on the SoIC career site, and I applied for it. It was a quick interview process—one phone interview—and I spoke to one of the mentors who was in charge of the research in cybersecurity. We had a lot of great ideas together.”
That internship allowed her to gain experience in academia and helped her decide on a future path. With marketing and research internships already on her resume, Seibert focused on an internship in industry to build her experience in that arena.
Seibert earned a scholarship sponsored by Salesforce, a cloud computing company based out of San Francisco, and her follow-up with the company paid off.
“I wrote a person in the HR department a thank-you note, and that got passed on to a college recruiter,” Seibert says. “She gave me a call, and she said she thought I would be a really good fit for Salesforce. They wanted to know if I would be interested in interning with them.”
Seibert jumped at the opportunity, and in summer 2015 she interned as a technical producer intern.
“They have a great internship program there,” Seibert says. “They are really focused on letting you explore all kinds of aspects about the company. They will set up different coffee chats for you. If you want to go talk to one of the executives about what they do, they’ll set up an opportunity to job shadow. I know one person who ended up job shadowing 30 different people this summer. They are really open and want you to get to know the company rather than a specific segment of the company.”
Because Seibert had experience with HTML and CSS, Salesforce felt comfortable giving her critical tasks.
“They weren’t passing off work they didn’t want to do,” Seibert says. “They were giving me some real industry experience. They had me work on this huge email campaign for Office Depot. Office Depot is sending out thousands of emails that I created. That is cool to me.”
Armed with a trio of internships that should make her attractive to any employer, Seibert is looking to go into software development or programming after graduation. Her work over the past couple of summers has her prepared for the workforce, but she also has picked up some tips along the way that should help her in the job market.
“Don’t overlook the power of a cover letter,” Seibert says. “You really need to talk about what drew you to the position. Besides that, focus on your school work and keeping your GPA up, and don’t be afraid to explore what’s out there.”