Internships help iSchool students hone in on careers

By Shanzay Shabi Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Resumes, cover letters, interviews — searching for internships can feel overwhelming. While it is no easy feat, the internship experience of seven iSchool students shows the whole process is worthwhile. 

Eric Von Carlos Latham II (pictured above, at left) is a senior in the Informatics program with a prominent TikTok presence, providing students with professional and educational tips on topics such as finding internships and jobs. Latham interned at Google this past summer as a full stack software engineer with the advertiser safety infrastructure team. He primarily worked on two projects, the first of which was developing features for an internal tool that allows Google to categorize and flag entities such as websites, applications and videos. This categorization gives advertisers the ability to decide where their content is shown. The second project was much larger, involving the development of a new tool that allows Google to quickly detect and respond to world events with high levels of virality (e.g. elections, wars) and ensure that advertiser content is not shown in harmful contexts.

“Exposure to project-based learning at the iSchool really helped me feel more comfortable going into this internship,” said Latham. “While the internship was challenging, I think that’s part of what made it a valuable experience. It really allowed me to push myself and strengthen not only my technical skills as a software engineer but also my communication skills, working both in a team and across teams.”                                     

Another Informatics senior, Kyle Raychel (pictured above, at right), interned with Expedia Group over the summer as a security engineer. His main project was to build a database of malware-related information and automate the process for analysts using cloud computing. The internship provided Raychel valuable exposure to relevant industry skills such as Python. When asked what helped him find this internship, Raychel spoke highly about the student-focused job search site Handshake. For students who are searching for an internship now, Raychel suggested taking advantage of the resources and expertise at the iSchool such as talking to peers and faculty or connecting with iSchool Career Services.

“An internship is something everybody needs to experience before they leave college,” said Raychel. “Interning with Expedia Group was so valuable for me because it allowed me to learn things like what kind of company I’m looking for, what kind of work environment and where I want to take my career.”

Shaye Anis
Shaye Anis

Second-year Master of Library and Information Science student Shaye Anis gained valuable industry experience as well through his internship with the Little Sisters of Saint Clare under the National Episcopalian Church. As a contract archivist, Anis’s responsibilities were broad, including project proposals, budgeting, transportation processing and transcribing five oral histories. Anis highly valued the daily independence the internship offered, helping him get a sense of what working as an archivist is like. Anis was able to find this opportunity through the relationships he built with faculty and professionals at the iSchool. 

“My advice to other MLIS students looking for internships would be to make use of the resources at the iSchool and build meaningful professional relationships,” said Anis. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to those in the industry and ask for advice because at one point they were in our same shoes.”

Lesya Westerman
Lesya Westerman

MLIS graduate Lesya Westerman was also an archivist intern this past summer with the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. As part of her eight-week internship program, Westerman processed exhibition records for the Legion of Honor from the year 1949. She also assisted in quality control for the archive and an inventory of archive materials. Alongside her work on the exhibition, Westerman had the chance to network with people in different departments and visualize how the knowledge and skills she built in the MLIS program could be utilized in a museum setting. Westerman believes being a part of the iSchool’s MLIS program helped set her apart by equipping her with a diverse skill set.

“The entire experience genuinely felt surreal. Being an iSchool MLIS graduate really gave me that foot in the door,” said Westerman. “The work I did for this internship really allowed me to make an impact in the community. In addition to contributing to the institution, I was also getting true working experience out of it.” 

Pooja Sadarangani
Pooja Sadarangani

Second-year Master of Science in Information Management student Pooja Sadarangani, specializing in business intelligence and data science, was a business intelligence engineer intern for Costco this past summer. She discovered her interest in the company through an iSchool Career Fair where she networked with Costco recruiters. During her internship, Sadarangani was part of the business intelligence and data analytics team in the merchandising department. One of her projects was to create a report on the performance of fresh-food departments to increase efficiency and accessibility for all teams in Costco. She learned that even a 1 percent increase in sales of the fresh-food department as a result of her work would lead to a revenue increase of $85 million. 

“My experience at Costco was immensely enriching,” said Sadarangani. “ I got the opportunity to apply my class learnings into a practical context. It really allowed me to hone in my technical skills while also learning how to communicate with non-tech stakeholders by collaborating with diverse teams.” 

Siddharth Purohit
Siddharth Purohit

Siddharth Purohit, also a second-year MSIM student specializing in data science and business intelligence, completed an internship with Coding It Forward, a nonprofit building a talent pipeline into civic tech. Purohit came across the internship through an email from iSchool Career Services highlighting job opportunities. As part of this internship, Purohit was matched with the City of Philadelphia, where he worked on projects for a government website. One of them was migrating data to a newer version of Google Analytics and analyzing data to create dashboards. Purohit also got a chance to visit Washington, D.C., for a Coding It Forward orientation where he connected with other interns, and he went to Philadelphia to meet the government officials he would be working with. 

“For me, making a meaningful impact through my work is my highest priority,” said Purohit. “Interning with a government organization allowed me to immediately see the impact I was making. I was fortunate to contribute to work that is directly going to benefit the residents of Philadelphia.” 

Polly Yorioka stands outside the Burke Museum at the UW.
Polly Yorioka interned at Seattle's Wing Luke Museum.

Museology master’s student Polly Yorioka got to explore her passion for social good as well through her internship with the exhibits team at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle. Yorioka worked on the planning and execution of an exhibit called Sound Check, which focused on documenting how music has shaped the Asian American experience. The initial stages of her internship involved a lot of oral history collection to amplify community voices and stories, but in the weeks leading up to the opening of the exhibit she got to be immersed in all parts of the creative process. The internship allowed Yorioka to be a part of meetings where people from the community collaborated with the museum to co-create exhibits like Sound Check. 

“The overall experience was wonderful,” said Yorioka. “I was really impressed not just by the quality of work and the quality of the exhibit, but also by the collaborative and supportive atmosphere. Especially as someone coming into museums, this was the first exhibit I worked on and it really solidified my decision to pursue this career.”