My Experience Exploring Computer Science and the UNH-IOL

Hi I’m Kate Bacon, and I was an intern at the UNH InterOperability Lab during the summer of 2018. If you’re reading this you’re probably wondering more about being an intern at the IOL, what you will be doing here, and who you will be working with. You’re probably feeling all of the same emotions I was feeling before I started my internship. I am here to tell you about my experience at the IOL, what I learned, and the amazing opportunities that are offered here at the lab.

When I first heard about the internship at the IOL it intimidated me. Computer Science and Software Development were things that interested me, but I had never thought about applying for something like this. I decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone, so I applied.

I thought my chances of getting accepted were unlikely considering I am a girl from Maine who enjoys school and races dirt bikes on the weekends. When I got the news that I was accepted, I was overjoyed. I could finally see if Computer Science was something I wanted to pursue in the future.

As orientation day rolled around I was terrified. In fact the day before the internship started, I crashed during a dirt biking race. I spent the whole four weeks with crutches and a cast on my leg. As I met all of the interns and project managers, I realized that I had nothing to be scared of. I was surrounded by a bunch of passionate people who loved their jobs and are willing to help you learn about any subject of interest. I soon found out that going to college at UNH and working at the IOL would be a dream for me.

My project over the four weeks consisted of redesigning the T2 website, this required me to learn Drupal which is a web design application that allows its users to work in a word processor like environment. This was a challenge, but because my partner and I explored and worked together it was possible. I also got to meet with the T2 manager and discuss changes and ideas for the website. Through this I learned how important it is to meet face to face, connect with the customer, and ultimately build trust with one another.

Aside from working with experts in a professional environment, we also went on site visits to Dell EMC, the Qa Cafe, and Liberty Mutual. All of these site visits were a great opportunity to network, meet new people, and have a better look at a potential future in the field.

Every day that I spent at the IOL I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. I worked with amazing people in a awesome environment, and made lifelong friends. I also connected with another employee from Southern Maine who talked to me about why she decided that Computer Science was something she was interested in and why she chose UNH. I consider her as a role model to me. If you’re considering applying for the IOL summer internship or even have a small interest in computers, apply, take a tour of the IOL, you have nothing to lose. I loved my internship at the IOL, I am sad it’s over, but am excited for college and a future in the field of Computer Science.