I am Brittany Greve, a young woman attending Hunter College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. This past summer, I participated in WiTNY’s first ever Summer Studio, a two-week program for rising CUNY freshmen who are interested in learning about Computer Science. And through WiTNY, I was able to attend another first ever program, Verizon’s Winternship Program!
This was a two-week intensive internship that exposed us to multiple aspects of Verizon, including taking us to six Verizon Offices in the NYC/NJ Area. We spent the first week exploring the main Headquarters in Basking Ridge, NJ, as well as seeing some other surrounding offices, and the multiple cafeterias (yes, choosing where to eat was a tough choice ☺). While there, we had the opportunity to speak with Verizon employees in various stages of their careers, which provided us with an ample amount of information about the company.
Besides exploring Verizon and meeting so many great people, the Winternship contained a company challenge, which was to create an API Chatbot that could be connected to Google Home and through Facebook Messenger that would respond to questions about Verizon Fios Services.
Having just completed the Winternship, I can look back and realize what a wonderful overall experience I had. I had the opportunity to meet other CUNY women who are interested in Computer Science and to build a connection with each of them. I also was able to learn the challenges and perks of working for different technology companies, and how to identify what I want to do in the future. I was pushed to explore not only what I do like, but what I don’t like in order to become a well-rounded student and adult. It was not only an internship, but a space to ask questions, learn, and have a few laughs while accomplishing a project that will advance our knowledge of the field we are all interested in.
Programs like this one are so important for young women in college because they allow them to explore different aspects of a company as large as Verizon. This helps young women shape the careers that they foresee themselves creating. The Winternship allowed for me to not only explore different parts of the technology industry but also to connect with employees from different backgrounds who are all working on different projects. These two weeks opened my mind and gave me a new perspective to head back into the spring semester with. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to meet four other strong, motivated CS women in CUNY and for everyone who helped and mentored us throughout our two weeks.
At the beginning, Human Resources Director, Martha Delehanty told us, “If this project seems thrown together, well, that’s because it was.” Though that may come across as a negative, it was actually a part of why we all had such an amazing time during our Winternship. We had the opportunity to shape the way the Winternship will work in the future. Throughout the two weeks, we were asked what would benefit us the most, and how we wanted to spend our time. Being able to have a say in what we wanted to see and who we wanted to meet was extremely influential to us coming out of the Winternship as much more open-minded and thoughtful CS students. We may be the first class of Winterns, but we are most definitely not the last. I am so excited to have worked with WiTNY and Verizon to create such a unique internship!