Virtual Internship

The Virtual Internship: A NetApp Intern Shares the Unexpected Benefits

by Jenna Sindle

The pandemic has derailed many a young person’s plans. From a traditional end of year events to internships and job offers, the traditional summer experiences evaporated for many college students. But data innovator, NetApp, decided to offer its Summer 2020 interns a virtual internship and with great success according to intern, Kira Riddlemoser. Riddlemoser, who is a rising senior at Virginia Tech, shared her virtual internship experiences with the GovDataDownload team. Far from being a poor imitation of a traditional in-person internship, Riddlemoser shared the unexpected benefits she found from her most unusual experience.

Read on to find out what these three unexpected benefits are and why they matter to Riddlemoser as she prepares for her last year at college.

As I write this blog from my at-home office, I bring to you a virtual experience like no other NetApp program before: The Summer 2020 NetApp Virtual Internship. For all interns in the past, their program took place in designated offices across the globe. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 10-12 week learning experience has seen a massive change. For my peers and I to navigate to full-time internships during a time when toilet paper can hardly be found, has been quite a challenge. Thankfully, I have been fortunate to take part in an internship program turned virtual, unlike many of my peers who experienced losses in opportunities resulting from the pandemic. Among our circumstances, I have found my remote venture particularly advantageous. Here are three ways going virtual has benefited me…

First, as Zoom meetings have replaced face-to-face interactions, tremendous opportunities have emerged that an in-office program could not provide. One morning, I shadowed a sales representative in California, that afternoon I had a collaborative project workshop with an intern in Raleigh/Durham, and then I finished my day with a check-in with my mentor in Colorado. This fluid communication across the nation, with the click of a Zoom invite, is what drives my continuous yearning to network and grow as a curious individual. Accessibility to reach out beyond the NetApp U.S. Public Sector team has also exposed me to different departments, roles, diverse career paths, and unparalleled company culture, leading to further self-discovery. My passion for marketing has expanded to further areas, and not to mention a few other evolving interests discovered along the way!

Secondly, with each week going by, seemingly quicker than the last, my virtually assigned projects have pushed my self-discipline and resiliency to new levels. I do not have the ability to turn around and ask my cubemate a quick question, strengthening my ability to problem solve before reaching out for help – though I know I always have a team ready to support me around the clock! When the remote environment creates difficulties, my internal motivation has proven stronger to reach my goals no matter the distance.

Third, the flexibility of this program has been very accommodating, yet developmental as well. Setting my daily to-dos to keep myself held accountable is extremely helpful for completing tasks. My organization and time management skills continue to grow too, as time boils down to deadlines and my program wraps up in just a few weeks.
A virtual program at NetApp has been one of the greatest opportunities given to me as a passion-driven woman, looking for a fulfilling future career. Having outreach capabilities globally, a self-motivated work environment, and a flexible schedule to leverage as a learning experience are all ways, I have thrived during my Summer 2020 NetApp Virtual Internship.

This article originally appeared on GovDataDownload on July 21, 2020. Visit the site to learn more about the next-generation of data management and how it’s enabling colleges, universities, state and local government as well as the federal government, to adapt to the challenges of modern mission delivery.