Do you ever wonder what is it like to work at a leading technology firm that focuses on the most important problems facing the public sector? Or how you can explore professions to determine the career path you will most enjoy? It turns out that REI Systems provides a valuable paid internship program that allows students to experience their favored occupation while learning more about REI’s culture and work ethic. For those who are in high school and getting ready for college (like me) and for those who are currently in college or graduate school, an internship experience can be extremely helpful to determine what type of major or career you want to pursue.
So far, my REI internship has allowed me to gain skills and experience that a school environment could not provide, making my summer productive, and bringing me some income at the same time. By serving as an intern in departments that have included Human Resources, Marketing, and Graphic Design, I can take upon different responsibilities and tasks while learning more about each profession that I could choose to pursue in the future. I get to apply my knowledge in art and business and expand my skills through formal and informal training, mentoring, and work assignments for real customers. I have met and worked with people who have welcomed me, and who have thoughtfully tried to make my internship experience exciting and to help ensure that it contributes to the company and its clients, while at the same time being responsive to my professional interests.
I recently asked a few questions to a couple of fellow interns. Both interns are currently working with REI’s Health Systems Team, supporting agencies that fund health initiatives and delivery across America. Josh, a junior at Virginia Tech, is majoring in Computer Science, while Rahul, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School, plans to major in Biomedical Engineering. Here is what they had to say about interning at REI:
- Why did you do choose to do an internship at REI?
Josh: “I thought that it would be a great opportunity to gain work experience and apply the knowledge that I have learned so far in college. I was also given the opportunity to work on projects that I find interesting and I plan to work on projects like these in the future”
Rahul: “I chose to do an internship with REI Systems because, in the future, I’m also looking to do work as a government contractor (as there are few private corporations for biomedical engineers). Additionally, the research at REI is pretty cutting-edge and I wanted to be a part of that, especially because the research conducted here is directly relevant to our society and clearly has the purpose of helping others”
- How has your experience been so far?
Josh: “My experience has been really good so far. I have learned a lot from the people that I have worked with and I’ve been able to work and learn about things that relate to my interests. So far, I have built a big data pipeline for Internet Information Services logs (IIS logs) that the company plans to use for future contracts. I have built this pipeline using an ELK stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana) in Microsoft Cloud. I am currently working to create a recommendation system from the parsed log data on a separate machine learning node using Python.”
Rahul: “So far, I’m really enjoying it here. I mean, yes, there is a lot of work to do…, but the fast-paced environment of REI is what allows it to succeed. My mentor and managers are really helpful and always check-in to see if I need anything and make the overall experience much more pleasant. Other than the work, the environment and events at REI are amazing; starting my first week with the 30th-anniversary company-wide picnic was more than I could have asked for, and the overall culture of self-accountability, as opposed to micromanagement, makes REI really enjoyable.”
- Do you think this internship will benefit your future endeavors?
Josh: “Yes, I think that this internship will benefit my future endeavors because I have learned a lot more about data science and machine learning, and I plan to use this knowledge in the future to achieve my career goals.”
Rahul: “REI definitely is going to affect my future endeavors, because the research I’m doing now with deep learning and Convolutional Neural Networks is probably going to be one of the biggest applied technologies in the future. And as a biomedical engineer conducting research, I’d likely now focus my research onto something that involves the aforementioned technologies because I realized how truly useful they can be and how vastly I can apply them.”
It seems like an intern position at REI could be the start of a flourishing boost to a career path, and an enjoyable and educational experience, whether you are in high school or college, depending upon the field you want to explore!
REI offers up to 35 internship opportunities within their business units every year. Who knows – maybe you could become a future REI employee after taking part in REI’s internship program! Find out more on https://www.reisystems.com/careers/ to see how you can become an intern today.
Devina Bawa is a rising Senior at Westfield High School. She is currently studying business with an interest in design and will be attending college in the Fall of 2020.