Spotlight on Virtual Internships: Maya Greenholt and Bianca Carra
Maya Greenholt had planned to spend the summer before her senior year at Carnegie Melon interning abroad in London, but around April she realized that probably was no longer going to happen due to travel restrictions. She saw that a CIEE virtual internship would be an opportunity to make international connections even when travel was impossible. So Maya is spending the summer interning remotely with Berlin-based Peregrine Technologies.
Bianca Carra, a student from Milan, who had just finished her freshman year in the World Bachelor in Business program at USC Marshall School of Business, is also interning with Peregrine Technologies this summer. Bianca was looking to gain some experience in a professional workplace before entering the second year of her program, which will be based in Hong Kong this fall.
Bianca, a business major, and Maya, a cognitive science major, are conducting market and user research to help Peregrine Technologies explore the potential of a future new product. Both interns feel that their international internship will be good preparation for their future careers.
Bianca wants to go into consulting, and the best part of her internship so far has been learning the processes that she’ll need to succeed in that role, she explained. “Investigating user experience and creating presentations from the user information gathered – these are processes in business that are fundamental, and that I had never done before,” said Bianca
Maya, who would like to live and work abroad someday, has really enjoyed her exposure to the research side of UX (user experience design). “A lot of UX focuses in on the design portion – the aesthetics and the artwork. But the research part is so important. Seeing what kinds of information is useful for the company and how they use this information will be really valuable,” she said.
Maya explained that she really appreciates the mentorship she is receiving during her internship experience. Each day Maya and Bianca have an online meeting with their manager to check in on their project. “[Our manager] asks questions and we discuss progress or problems,” Maya said. “He’s been pushing us to start taking the lead in the meetings rather than him taking the lead.”
“I am a strong believer that a student should always have responsibility for a dedicated project that she or he creates, runs, and evaluates as part of the internship,” said Dr. Steffen Heinrich, CEO & Founder, Peregrine Technologies, who is Maya and Bianca’s internship supervisor. “In a virtual setting this is even more important.”
“I want to create value for the students and for the company,” Steffen said. “The internship must be fun and as an intern I should be able to learn a lot.”