Internships complement academics for Gettysburg College computer science majors

What do IBM, L.L.Bean, and Goldman Sachs have in common? Gettysburg College students interned there over the past year, positively contributing to each organization while enriching their own academic experience.

Darren McAuliffe '14, a computer science major, interned at IBM over the summer. He worked with the researchers assigned to the Watson "Jeopardy!" project, which featured a computing system designed to play the game. "The internship taught me the importance of communication on any level, from explaining an idea to writing a project synopsis for the boss," said McAuliffe. He plans to seek a Ph.D. in computer science.

Kirsten Crear '14, a computer science major, interned at L.L.Bean where she helped fix bugs and make improvements to internal merchandising applications. She also worked significantly with coding projects. "I followed code from when I was first given it to figure out what it was doing where, to changing it, testing it in the environments, following it from development to test, to stage, and production, including 6 a.m. implementations before anyone else was at work," she said. "The experience was an eye-opener." She has applied what she learned to her classes, and hopes to work at L.L.Bean.

Munyaradzi Choga '12, a computer science and economics double major, interned in the Global Investment Research Technology group in Goldman Sachs' Technology Division this past summer. He helped refactor and revamp a web application used by one of the firm's internal clients. "I reflected on the skills developed in my computer science courses and approached this project as if I was doing a large-scale homework assignment," said Choga. "It was a life changing and empowering experience that motivated me to apply myself and do my best during the time I have left at Gettysburg."

Computer science students also completed summer externships and volunteered for non-profit organizations.

Brazen Careerist logoForrest Jacobs '12, a computer science major, completed a weeklong externship with Brazen Careerist, a career-management site that helps young professionals connect with peers and recruiters, find jobs, and develop relationships. He created a prototype mobile website for iPhone, Blackberry, and Android phones, and believes his computer science courses served him well. "I knew to plan out an entire solution with research before beginning to write the code," said Jacobs. "That made the whole process much smoother."

Project Gaia logoOndrej Krasny '12, a computer science and economics double major, has worked with the non-profit organization Project Gaia for nearly a year. He continues to help maintain its website (remotely) as a volunteer, making updates to the homepage and donation page. Krasny plans to attend graduate school in Europe.

Prof. Todd Neller, chair of the computer science department at Gettysburg College, believes internships and externships are an important part of a student's experience. "In addition to providing a rich perspective in the midst of one's academic pursuits, internships and externships are an opportunity to test the fit of one's career goals," said Neller. "If it's a good fit, then one has potential for a ‘foot in the door' position after graduating. I know many students for whom internships have provided a job offer."

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Tracey Dukert, assistant director of news content, 717.337.6521