When Jonathan Yen was interviewing for a summer internship with Volkswagen, his first year coursework in the I School master's program opened the door. “My interviewers noticed the ‘Tangible User Interfaces’ (TUI) class on my resume and asked me about it,” said Yen. “We talked about the touch-screen table that Michael Lee and I worked on for our class project, and they were interested in how we built the table and did all the programming.”
Yen's engineering and interface design skills must have been persuasive, because he is now an engineering intern at Volkswagen's Electronics Research Lab in Palo Alto, using skills from his TUI project to develop prototypes for Volkswagen infotainment systems and iPhone applications. Yen can't divulge the details, but Volkswagen buyers may be able to anticipate new touch-screen devices in upcoming Volkswagen releases. “Professor Kimiko Ryokai really challenged us to consider every detail of our project during the TUI class, and I can say that I appreciate that more now.”
Yen's classmates from the I School's master's degree class of 2010 are applying their skills and education this summer at a variety of companies on at least three continents. Even in the current economic slump, 84 percent of students responding indicated they had a summer job or internship. In addition to the automotive industry, students are working in health care informatics, consumer electronics, digital audio, information policy, and user interface design.
The summer internship between the first and second years of the master's program allows students to put into practice the knowledge gained in their first-year coursework, learn more about work practices in the information industry, and gain additional professional skills. Internships sometimes lead to ideas for master's final projects, which students complete during their last semester, or even to full-time positions upon graduation.
Other master's student internships include:
- Jin Young Baik is an interaction design intern at Philips Electronics in Singapore, where she is developing the user interface for home audio screens (including accessibility concerns for vision-impaired users) as well as researching trends in social music sharing.
- Karen Braverman is a business analyst intern at Chevron, doing business requirements gathering, dimensional modeling and project management for a business intelligence tool for the marketing department.
- Andy Brooks is an intern at Yahoo! Research, where he is conducting field research into how mobile devices guide purchasing behavior, including where and with whom people shop.
- Carol Chen is an interaction design intern at Intuit, where she is designing the user experience and UI for a web service with employer and payroll tax forms for small business owners.
- Abrahm Coffman is a summer administrative resident at UC San Francisco Medical Center, where he is working with the medical center's new electronic medical record, clinical business intelligence, and a variety of other healthcare IT management projects.
- Nate Gandomi is a policy intern at Computing Research Association in Washington, D.C., tracking bills in Congress, attending hearings, and writing reports. As part of the Tisdale Public Policy Fellowship he is also learning about public policy and IT from the government affairs offices of HP, Dell, Business Software Alliance, and others.
- Annette Grenier is a user experience designer at the UC Office of the President, where she is working on the design of a new web portal for the entire UC system, showcasing and giving context to the myriad online assets of all the UC campuses.
- Michael Lissner is a summer tech intern at the Center for Democracy and Technology in San Francisco, where he is developing location privacy protections on the Android mobile platform.
- Michael Manoochehri and Becky Hurwitz are in Kampala, Uganda, and Sarah Van Wart is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as part of the I School research project "Designing ICTs for Increasing Smallholder Farmers' Access to Markets and Knowledge." They will be performing field research in multiple locations in rural Africa.
- James Tucker is a product management intern at Stitcher, a mobile digital audio company, where he is working with I School alumnus Brooke Maury (MIMS 2005).