Dell Leaders Find It COOL to Go Back to School

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COOL Week is an acronym for “Career Opportunities On Location” and is the Leander Independent School District (ISD) senior student internship program held the first week of February every year. All senior students are given the chance to apply for COOL Week during October and are placed in their chosen profession for a career-affirming opportunity to “try on” that career before they spend time, energy and money to get the education necessary to do the job.

two high school students in the dell experience center on Dell's main campus

This is the most sought-after opportunity in the Leander ISD College and Career Readiness program. The most successful business partnerships for COOL Week have come directly through the community of these students’ parents. COOL Week in Leander ISD high schools has been operating for 23 years and some of the business partners from the first years (who were parents!) have remained committed because the student feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Some of that feedback includes:

woman standing next to high school student
Dell’s Chief Customer Officer Karen Quintos meeting with a COOL student.

“It was an experience I could never get in school, as it was experience at a personal level. I learned about servers, which is crucial, yet something I had absolutely no knowledge about. There was precious and unexpected knowledge I gained, and the meeting with the executives was priceless. I wish I could participate again next year, but since I will be graduating, I’ll have to pass it on to the current juniors. Again, thank you so much for giving me…no, all of us this wonderful opportunity, and hope it will continue next year as well.”

“My favorite part was actually seeing the facility and meeting the people.”

“I have taken all the computer science classes available but I’d never been in a real computer company. What a great opportunity.”

“This place was awesome! I never thought I’d get to be inside the building much less get to talk to people who work there.”

“Now I know I want to work in computers. I thought so before, but now I am sure.”

Dell has been honored to participate in this program for the last four years. During this time, participation has grown from two students to 25 students, majority being female students. This was the first year the program branched into several fields of study including Computer Science, Finance, Marketing, Business, Operations and Data Security.

Student activities during COOL week are diverse including mock job interviews, tours of Dell ProSupport, Social Media, and Engineering facilities; as well as an executive panel discussion with several of Dell’s senior executives within the Global Services & IT organization. Finally, the students were able to spend a full day focused on their particular field of study which involved side-by-side interaction with employees, discussion and debate on active projects and hands-on field product training.

group of students in the COOL program

The students are not the only ones that benefit from the rich experience gained from the COOL week program, either. Here are some comments from our employee participants:

“Was fantastic to partner with the next generation of our technology workforce through the COOL week program!”

  • Annette Lupo Director, Project/Program Management, Admin/BPI

“Being part of the intern program at Dell has given me an excellent opportunity to meet and talk to a lot of young adults about their career choices and journey after college. COOL Week allows us to interact with kids before they start their college journey and hopefully open their eyes to technology and the vast majority of opportunities that exist once they complete their college career. I hope their visit at Dell opens their eyes to all the great things we do as a company.”

  • Brian Strachan Senior Director, Customer Services, Global Field Delivery

“The interaction with the students was very enlightening. They had some great questions, and you could tell they were very prepared and were thinking about the future!  This is a great program and I hope we continue to participate.”

  • Patrick Felder Vice President of HR

About the Author: Kay Christmas

Kay has been with Dell for 19 years and is currently a leader in the Resolution Manager organization. She became involved with Leander ISD COOL Week when the last of her 4 sons attended Cedar Park High School and 2018 marks the 4th year that Kay has lead the program for Dell. The COOL week program allows Kay the unique opportunity to both help students think early on about career opportunities in Technology, and helps ensure our Dell community brand stays strong. For her, the most rewarding aspect of this program is seeing the energy each student brings on Dell campuses and their excitement as they think about opportunities in Technology in a whole new way.
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