This summer I spent at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center has truly been a wonderful and insightful experience. The realm of creativity, collaboration and education is boundless at this facility. The projects they give are meant to be challenging but the merit they hold is astronomical. I have learned a lot about who I am and who I can become.
I have worked on projects that I never imagined I would be doing - and finding enjoyment in them. I came in with dedication, challenge driven and excitement. That is all you need as an intern. To learn, to have fun and challenge what you do know into what you can apply to the new tasks that are assigned.
There definitely were moments my confidence wavered and questioned if I could uphold the expectations that were expected of me. I struggled to adapting myself to learning in a different - more professional setting than a academic one. It is more tasks driven and self-guidance than I anticipated. The supervisors were welcoming, patient with me as I asked millions of questions and guided me towards believing in my ability. To be inquisitive to what I can do and be, to allow the potential within myself to shine.
As an intern, I found what was most helpful to me is to pursue connections with faculty of my facility, to take the first step into introducing yourself and being personable. Creating these connections with them allows them to get to know you as a person and not an intern. They learn your body language and see how you process information, like when your eyes divert when you're not confident, tense when you're stressed and a blank look on your face when you are confused.
They then take a personal attentiveness to reassure you and offer additional help.
Sometimes as an intern you are intimated to say that you're confused, or you're lost, and voicing how you really don't understand or know what you're doing. I learned to put that insecurity away and focus on what I needed to do to succeed. Interns are supposed to be lost and vulnerable to "failure" and I use that as a loose term as the whole purpose of an internship is to mess up and learn what to do next time. My confidence wavered here but I was always complimented on the way I communicated my work and thought processes.
My experience was this and above. My supervisors, Alex Nielson and Patrick Ball, helped me tremendously in learning new skills. I connected with Jessica Zimmerman who is the Public Relation's manager of VMASC and Alexxis Hutchinson the Executive Administrator who works a lot with the Executive Director and Associate Vice President of the facility and works within various departments. They have always found ways to squeeze me into their schedule, to work with me and my favorite part of all - they all became my friends.
I recommend any students interested in an internship to look at all what VMASC has to offer. They have a wide variety of positions in different departments. You learn a lot in the short few months you have with them. You become friends with the other interns who are also in the same boat and offer reassurances and help whenever you need them.
VMASC cares about everyone who walks in through those doors, virtually or in person. VMASC doesn't care about your "failures" they care and help you get back up and guide you to being successful.
This was an internship I stumbled upon funnily enough. My roommate convinced me to come and do a tour. I personally believe that due to my academics (obviously) it was my ability to be personable and inquisitive that helped me secure an interview which lead me to being offered the internship. After handing my resume to the internship coordinator, after the tour officially ended, I stayed behind another hour just talking to some of the supervisors.
One of them actually was an old literature professor of mine and is now lead project scientist. I accidentally insulted him by saying his class was not fun and he laughed. Later at onboarding, I found out that he wanted me after that first initial meeting and didn't need to interview me but it was customary.
This summer I had a lot of other responsibilities, like my three summer course and being an active Vice President of my sorority Delta Zeta. Believe it or not, leadership does not stop. Leadership is adapting and helping others. Which is what I received here. VMASC cared about my academics, always asking if I was doing okay and if I was overwhelmed and understood my obligations to my sorority.
Overall rating 10/10 and has a five star rating on the free coffee. I loved my internship so much and I guess they loved me because I GOT A FALL AND SPRING STUDENT POSITION! No other intern was offered/accepted this opportunity (from what I know) and I of course said YES!
So, my internship does end here but my future with VMASC isn't and I am so excited to continue my journey with them.
Here are some pictures of us fellow interns and a VMASC head shot of myself in their brand attire.