Every week, Broadside features a student or alumnus with a great internship or job to highlight the opportunities and potential earning a degree at Mason offers
BS in Computer Science; Minor in Business
Information Technology Assistant at the American Lung Association (ALA)
How would you describe the place you are interning at?
The American Lung Association is one of the oldest non-profits in the country, founded to fight tuberculosis in the early 20th century, and now focusing on air pollution, asthma, anti-smoking campaigns and many other modern lung-related concerns. I work at the National Headquarters office on Pennsylvania Ave. in DC.
What are some of your day-to-day responsibilities?
I am in charge of the project to create a new internal intranet for the ALA and its volunteers nationwide that we are calling “LungNet.” A typical day might start with a conference call to our office in New York City, but I’m also working closely with national and local employees in Illinois, California and various places in between. Each day has a new challenge. A big project like this has many complications, so, I’m solving new problems every day.
What’s the most exciting part of your internship?
The most exciting part of the internship is definitely the level of responsibility I’m being given. Having complete control of this project and how it moves forward is something I didn’t expect at an internship of this caliber. Early on in my internship, I got a call from an external Sharepoint consulting company, and they asked to be put in contact with ALA’s “Project Lead” for the Sharepoint deployment. Well, that was me! They were just trying to sell us something, but it took me off guard, that as an intern, I had sole responsibility for such an important project.
What’s the most challenging part of your internship? Could you describe a challenge you’ve overcome?
There have definitely been some major hurdles to overcome — the biggest one is working within the budget of a non-profit. That is to say, basically working with no budget. As a non-profit, we are able to get some software for free, but most software we’d like to have is out of our price range. This complicates things significantly, and I’ve had to work around it. Earlier this year, we wanted access to a product called Windows Azure. With a $10,000 license, it wasn’t really going to happen. But I found out as a non-profit we could get free access to a piece of software called Visual Studio, which came with a free subscription to Microsoft Developer Network. After more digging, we discovered that Microsoft Developer Net- work subscribers get free access to Windows Azure! Problem solved.