4 minute read

3 big takeaways from the Nureva internship program

Grace Liang and Salma Salhi
Posted by Grace Liang and Salma Salhi on August 30, 2017

In the summer of 2017, we became interns at Nureva. While our friends were holidaying in the Bahamas or in Hawaii, we spent our sun-soaked days behind large glass windows on the top floor of the Calgary Board of Education building in downtown Calgary.

We led discussions with administrators from across North America, presented at departmental meetings and learned how a company structures its online presence. We delved into the complexities of the software and wrote blog posts. We grew a professional network and jumped headfirst into the work environment, all the while earning a paycheck that will go toward our postsecondary education.

During the past seven weeks, we’ve both learned a lot: everything from software architecture to writing blogs and presenting to prospective buyers. When the next generation of interns comes next year, we hope that they can acquire the same 3 life skills we got from this amazing experience.


Developing real-world work skills

Through this internship we gained real-world work skills, and we learned how a work environment operates.

We didn’t waste any time getting started. The very first day, we received an invitation to a meeting – a company overview on the latest release of Span™ Workspace. Fortunately, it was easy to figure out, so we dived right into creating demo use cases for our sales team to use. Just a few days later, we were writing our first blog post, which was about girls becoming tech entrepreneurs. We knew right away that our work was going to keep us busy, but most importantly, it was going to be interesting!

Over the next two weeks, we met with departments like marketing, product development and product management to gain an understanding of how different areas of a company work together. This was the first time that either of us had been in a business meeting. Soon, we weren’t just attending meetings, we were actively contributing to them and even leading our own with colleagues from our product management team.

We also learned to use common business structures, such as empathy maps, we consolidated information and discussed it during interdepartmental meetings, and we presented to potential buyers of the products. On August 17, we gave a webinar on gender imbalance in STEM fields that reached over 750 preregistrants worldwide.

During our seven weeks at Nureva, we learned what it’s like to work in a business environment. It meant being self-accountable, because when we presented the projects we worked on, the most knowledgeable experts on the topic were standing in front of the room. It also meant being self-directed. Nobody had been tasked with instructing us; we simply had to figure it out ourselves. We acquired skills such as coordinating with departments and networking with others that we could never have learned in school.

Making connections

Networking is possibly the most important thing when it comes to the business world: knowing the right person means opening another realm of possible opportunities – one that might just change your life. But to say that networking was all that we got from this internship would be a disservice.

Internship connections

Through the internship, we expanded our professional networks on LinkedIn and through email, and we created connections that would stay with us long after the seven weeks, which will provide us with opportunities, support, guidance and future growth. But we also met amazing people who are passionate in rethinking education, using technology to take us into the future and genuinely changing the world for the better. We met forward-thinkers and inspiring doers. We met people and learned from their experience in the industry, and we learned from them how to navigate in the business world and what practical innovation in technology looks like.

Without the internship, we wouldn’t have had all these opportunities, and we wouldn’t have been able to carry these connections into the future.

Strengthening our confidence

Confidence is key to succeeding in any work or school environment, and the internship challenged the projects we worked on as well as our ability to present in front of people. We presented our ideas and research at meetings, and gave demos of canvases and software to groups of people, such as administrators from across North America and the team at the STEM Learning Lab.

Internship confidence

The biggest undertaking that tested our confidence was presenting our webinar, during which over 300 people tuned in to listen. The webinar was titled Girls in STEM: Creating a New Era, and we spoke about our individual experiences in STEM, projects we’re part of and, most importantly, ways that educators could get their female students more involved in STEM.

Most of it wasn’t scripted, and we had to answer questions afterward on the spot, which seemed like an overwhelming undertaking at first. However, because we had practiced presenting beforehand, we learned how to be confident, and in the end, the presentation went better than we had anticipated!

Ready for the future

These past seven weeks have been insightful, exciting and have given us a sneak peek at work life. We now have hands-on experience working in a corporate environment and know exactly what we can expect once we enter the workforce as adults. We’ve met amazing and innovative people, made connections, gone to company events and are now better equipped and prepared for whatever our future may hold. Bring it on!

Internship program collaboration

Collaboration by design

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Topics: Career Readiness