Leveling-up Our Intern Program – With Purpose

May 18, 2016

Over the last few years we have been making incremental changes to level-up our intern program. For previous summers we have solidified the purpose of our internship program…we have defined the outcomes we want to see from our program…and we have collected some goals that we want to shoot for while our interns are with us.

As both an engineer and a member of our recruiting team, I know how important it is to find good talent. We captured the purpose for our intern program to keep us focused on what matters most…

Purpose:To make hiring full-time engineers easier.


1. Our interns want to come back

2. Our interns tell their friends about working at SEP

3. We get the entire summer to “interview” our interns  

Goals for the summer:

1. Show them a good time with SEPeers

2. Build relationships with SEPeers

3. Fair chance for them to evaluate us

4. Fair chance to shine

5. Do meaningful work

Preparing for Summer of 2016

This year, however, we did something pretty different. We were inspired by this book Creating Great Teams to try a different approach for matching up interns with projects.

We are expecting 7 interns this summer.
We identified 10 projects that we felt could help us and our 7 interns with our goals for the summer.

Each of the 10 project teams put together a blurb with the intent of sharing enough about that project so the interns could decide which they were interested in for the summer.

The Projects

Below are very brief overviews of the 10 projects that our interns selected from:

Desktop Projects:

Data Acquisition – testing the quality of blood glucose test strips using WPF and C# talking to an Oracle database

Racing Team Modeling and Simulation  – making race cars go faster using WPF and C#

Consumer Product Cost Analysis – saving hundreds of millions of dollars using WPF and C#

Web Projects:

Heavy Machinery  – managing construction equipment fleets in a single page web app using Javascript and Java

Process Safety Solution – managing facility safety issues, risks, processes, and audits using C#, HTML, Javascript, JQuery, and KendoUI

Visual Communication  – changing the way people collaborate in the workplace using HTML5, Javascript, React, PIXI, and RefluxJS.

Embedded Projects:

Precision Agriculture (Tracking Team ) – self-steering tractors around abnormal portions of a corn field using QT and C++

Precision Agriculture (Communication Team))-  communicating with other tractors in the same field using QT and C++ talking over cell-modems

Mobile Projects:

Credit Union iOS App – enabling people to manage their finances on their iPhones and iPads using Swift and Autolayout talking to REST APIs

Diabetes Management App – helping people with diabetes improve their lives using Xamarin and C# on iOS and Android

My next post will expand on what we did for 2016 to level up our internship program…teaser, it involves self-selection.