I admit when I walked into the IOL on my first day as a HighTech Bound Intern, I was nervous. When my technology teacher informed me of the internship during my junior year of high school, I had no idea that my decision to apply would help shape many of my future college decisions and life experiences.
I was eager to start my position as soon as I had discovered my acceptance. I walked into a room surrounded by a group of equally nervous individuals around my age who were also a in the internship program. Current IOL employees greeted us and began talking about the lab, our positions, and we even shared about our own lives and experiences, giving a very friendly vibe. Of course, everyone should expect friendly encounters when first beginning a new job or position, however throughout all of my time here at the IOL (nearly two years now!) I have found that part of what makes the IOL such a great working environment is the friendliness of everyone.
After an introduction to the IOL and our positions in the lab as interns, I met my partner who I would be working with throughout the duration of the internship. We got assigned to our desks and the testing service we would be working in throughout the program, which was DSL, and met with our manager and learned about the project we would be working on. The DSL testing group is a small group at the IOL that tests DSL-capable devices to verify that they work properly. This group also performs a good amount of software development, which I was ecstatic to learn. When our manager described the internship project to my partner and I, I was thrilled to hear that it had to do with software development - something I had always wanted to do in a real-world context.
Since a very young age I have been programming computers, teaching myself and experimenting in my free time. My partner and I had different programming backgrounds, however we managed to work well together, planning and developing a software feature for an application that the DSL testing service created and now sells to the public, Test Sentinel. Almost two years later, now as an IOL employee, I still see and use the software we worked on, and numerous companies have also purchased it and use it daily. To see something I created as an intern being used in the real-world is one of the most satisfying experiences I have had; a programmer’s dream - and I get to do this every day I work at the IOL!
One of the greatest things about the HighTech Bound internship, and the IOL in general, is that there is an unimaginable amount of topics available to learn about and work with. For example, while my partner and I were working on software development, some of the other interns were working on testing, audio networks, home internet, and various other topics in other consortiums. I was lucky enough to continue my work in the DSL testing service as an employee after the internship, which I love - however other people have different interests, and the IOL lets anyone, regardless of experience, explore those interests.
As I mentioned before, almost two years later I am a current IOL employee, and one of the primary reasons I chose to attend UNH was just so I could work at my college dream-job.