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Partner Turns up Summer Internship Program to 11

There are summer internships, and then there are experiences that can inspire and shape the course of a young person's life. One partner took a simple request to host an intern and imagined the possibilities. Partnering with Microsoft, Dynamics Intelligence is creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will expose young minds to the many possibilities in tech.

"When I was asked by the City of Seattle's Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) if we would be interested in offering an internship program, I thought about what I would want to experience as a student," said Jenna Bourgeois, CEO of Dynamics Intelligence. "I'd want to work with great people, be part of a diverse team where I felt comfortable and work on a meaningful project."

Delivering on those concepts, the Dynamics Intelligence Summer Internship Program combines hands-on development with opportunities to work with experts in the field. The program's first week includes intensive technical training followed by 11 weeks of application development work. Each Dynamics Intelligence office, Toronto and Seattle, will host a team of three interns.

"We wanted to provide the group setting that young people prefer," said Bourgeois. "We think it will be helpful to have three peers going through the same experiences, learning the technologies together." The two teams will use Microsoft Teams to work collaboratively on three projects, creating:

  • A custom mobile application using Azure Cosmos DB, the globally distributed multi-model database. 
  • An app leveraging artificial intelligence while learning the techniques that data scientists use to train data.
  • An app using Microsoft Cognitive Services.

Aligning with Dynamics Intelligence "Social Enterprise" commitment, the projects will all focus on a social goal. "Their mission will be to produce software that attempts to solve a social need," said Bourgeois. "Our focus on healthcare will help mold their experience."

To make the students' experience more realistic, Bourgeois thought it would be valuable for them to see how partner employees work with Microsoft, so she made inquiries. Those inquiries were met with enthusiasm, and the interns will have the opportunity to go to the Microsoft campus and meet with  Microsoft's Azure Cosmos DB product team.

Going one step further, Bourgeois contacted Scott Hanselman, host of the Channel 9 program Azure Friday, who was also ready to help. At the end of their projects, interns will have the opportunity to present their apps and be interviewed by Hanselman on the program.

All of these opportunities give the interns more exposure to the breadth of work that goes on outside of development. "We want to give interns insight into what it's really like to work in the industry," said Bourgeois. "When we are hiring, we look for people with more than just development skills. For example, we need people who want to do product demonstrations. Presales talent is just as important as the people who deliver the code. Through this internship, we want to introduce the students to these concepts."

The interns will work with a variety of people inside Dynamics Intelligence as well. "Most of our people have educational background," said Bourgeois. "Our chief data science teaches in the community. We will devote our time to help them build something useful, perhaps even to fit in with some of our other healthcare products."

Bourgeois encourages all partners to consider giving back to the community, introducing young people to the real world of technology. "These students don't know what it means to be a computer programmer," said Bourgeois. "They don't realize that there are different types of people needed to contribute in different ways. The only way they can really understand the extent of opportunities in technology is to experience them."

For many partners, the thought of investing the time to host a few interns hardly seems worth the effort. But imagine if every partner in the Microsoft ecosystem hosted an internship for two or three students this summer. Upwards of a million young people would learn about the hidden world of the Microsoft channel and the diverse opportunities within. It's not too late to speak to your community college or local social agency about opening the doors for a couple of young people this summer.  

How are you educating young people about the opportunities in tech? Send me a note and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on April 12, 2018 at 12:05 PM