Women in STEM Internships Tackle Tough Challenges at Dell

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Dell takes women’s access to STEM careers seriously, starting with connecting girls, immersion programs, and certainly in our approach to recruiting interns. Our summer 2016 intern class was no exception. We recently spoke with three of our women engineers about their experiences at Dell.

Real Products, Real Work

Judy Amanor Boadu is pursuing a PhD in Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University. Also a member of the Society of Women Engineers, she met one of the executives at Dell at a conference in Nashville in 2015. They shared a great conversation.

“She felt like what I was doing in school matched what a certain group at Dell was doing in wireless power, or wireless charging,” she said.

Since joining Dell’s Chief Technology Office in summer of 2016, her perspective and approach to her PhD has shifted.

“At some point in my PhD program, I was getting frustrated because academia can be all about coming up with something new, whether it works for humanity or it doesn’t,” Amanor Boadu said.

Joining Dell, she saw that Dell is constantly looking at how to improve productivity for the customer, or for anyone that uses their systems. Dell develops technology with the intent that it will become a product, and interns are working on those actual products. It’s been an exciting change from academia where one may come up with something new, write a paper about it and then put it on a shelf rather than use it.

“That is one of the major impacts that Dell has had on my life,” Amanor Boadu shared. “I’m able to go back to school asking, ‘How do I change someone’s life? How do I improve the experience in someone’s life? How do I use electrical engineering to better someone’s life?’”

Limitless Learning

When Nicole Elliott, an Industrial Engineering major at Texas Tech, was interviewed by Dell managers at the Society of Women Engineers, the Internet of Things wasn’t necessarily on her radar.

“I didn’t hear about Internet of Things until the spring of 2016,” Elliott said. “My managers understood that it was going to take a little bit of time to understand how it works as an organism and how it will be developing so heavily within Dell and within the Internet of Things landscape holistically over the next four to five years.”

“As of right now, we’re offering embedded PCs and also Edge Gateways,” she further explained. She noted while these are two very different products, they also offer two very specific types of end point and middle point interaction for sensors and data.

During her internship, Elliott especially appreciated when Sam Burd, held a brown bag lunch conversation with intern engineers. “He spoke about his career path and work/family balance.”

Later that day, Elliott attended a Town Hall meeting in which Burd also spoke. “Seeing both of those sides of him—the casual, laid back exec and then the more prominent side that most people see—was my most fun day at Dell.”

Hacking Boundaries

Amarachukwu Uche-Anya is a Triple major in Finance, Business Analytics and MIS at Drexel University. During her time at Dell, she was encouraged to create a Hackathon with her fellow interns. The idea resulted from a conversation a couple of interns had with their IT recruiter.

“When we talked to the recruiter, she thought it was a very good idea to help Dell use the talents of the interns as well as connect the interns more,” Uche-Anya said.

A planning committee of 10 interns worked tirelessly to put the Hackathon together. They handled various logistics, including reaching out to different managers to give some Tech Talks that day and inviting IT employees to attend and mentor the interns during the Hackathon.

“This is one thing I’ve come to appreciate about Dell: how the company always supports whatever idea you have, no matter your level in the firm,” Uche-Anya said. “Even interns can see their ideas grow from just thoughts to reality.”

Get To Know Dell

Dell is proud to be a sponsor of the ABI Grace Hopper Celebration which helps connect women technologists in collaborative proposals, networking and mentoring opportunities. When asked about Dell’s continued partnership with the organization, University Relations & Diversity Manager Maria Crabtree said, “Not only does it get us in front of women who are interested in working in the technology fields, but it’s also a great way for us to develop our internal women professionals because they get to attend and participate in various workshops.”

If you’re planning to attend a conference with a career expo, Crabtree advises that attendees find out about things that are important to them.

“Be prepared to ask questions related to items important to you about your ideal workplace whether it be culture, company goals.” She also recommends quickly providing an overview of what’s important to you, what you’re looking for and what type of work is of most interest to you.

Dell will be at the Grace Hopper Celebration in Houston, TX on October 19-21, 2016 and at the Grace Hopper India Celebration in Bangalore on December 7-9, 2016. Learn more about Dell’s commitment to women and see what career opportunities await you!

 Projects and Voices of Dell’s Internship Class of 2016 from Dell

About the Author: Chelsea Rigney

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