When Virginia Tech students return to campus this fall, some will be bringing with them knowledge and skills acquired during jobs and internships they are holding this summer.
Among them are four students with a passion for entrepreneurship and technology who have found work at companies where they are not only gaining significant learning experiences but making valuable contributions to their employers as well.
The students, who are active in the university’s Innovate Living-Learning Community and programs organized by the Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Pamplin College of Business, are:
• Josh Baylor, of Yorktown, Virginia, a rising sophomore with a major in business information technology.
Baylor is an intern at Mindsense, a Blacksburg startup that operates a web and mobile email program allowing users to maximize productivity by controlling what reaches his or her inbox. “Josh has been hugely beneficial to our growth and acquisition efforts as we ramp up our newest product, Throttle,” said Mindsense CEO and Virginia Tech alumnus Alex Obenauer.
• Taylor Kenyear, of Richmond, Virginia, a rising sophomore with a major in management and a minor in entrepreneurship.
She is working as an intern in the human resources department of Apex Systems, an information technology staffing firm founded by Virginia Tech alumni. Kenyear learned of the paid internship through programs offered by the Apex Systems Center.
• Brett Langstaff, of New Providence, New Jersey, a rising senior with a major in business information technology.
Langstaff recently returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a second internship at Akamai Technologies. “I told my team I would like to get some real-world experience to complement what I am getting at Virginia Tech,” said Langstaff. “They have been really accommodating to help me grow and learn.”
• Michael Liu, of Fairfax, Virginia, a rising senior with a major in computer science and a minor in business.
Liu works as a software developer in the same sprawling office as Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “I see him all the time when I am walking around,” Liu said. “One of the coolest things about working at Facebook,” he added, “is that I am working on a project that I am passionate about, because I use it every day, and it is something my friends and family are familiar with.”
“We’re very focused on career outcomes,” said Innovate program director and Pamplin faculty member Sean Collins. “We have Innovate students working this summer at progressive companies nationwide, from Boston to the Bay Area.”
Beyond working experience and extra income, summer internships allow students to apply knowledge learned in the classroom and develop a better sense of the job or field for a potential future career, said Saba Wagner, an investigative research analyst at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, where several Virginia Tech students are interning this summer.
Students also get opportunities “to develop social relationships and skills while interacting with other employees,” Wagner added, as well as “valuable networking contacts and references for future job opportunities.”
The students Wagner has been working with in the CPSC’s Office of Compliance and Field Operations include Vaibhav Mummalaneni, of Richmond, Virginia, a rising senior with majors in business information technology and marketing, and Manjot Kaur, of Woodbridge, Virginia, also a rising senior with a major in business information technology and a minor in religion.
Both students are “impressive and hardworking,” said Wagner. “We are grateful to have them at CPSC.”