August 21, 2017

L to R: Thien Vo, Bridget Kwon, Monica Ortiz, Joyce Anderson, Selina Nie, Kristen Ballard, Harika Kuncham, Hailey Montgomery, Regina Stone, Grace Fejokwu (not pictured: AdeBunmi Adeyemo, Khemisha Brown, and Jakai Gilbreath)

This summer marked the inaugural year of the Women In Technology (WIT) Internship Program. The program was made possible by a grant from NCR Foundation to support WIT Girls and WIT Campus programs in underserved areas of metro Atlanta.

Using part of the grant budget, WIT was able to fund paid internships at top Atlanta companies. The Internship Program is one of the many program components touched by this initiative. The grant has enabled WIT to grow the WIT Girls and WIT Campus programs by expanding into underserved communities, while also providing first-generation college students with much-needed resources to pursue and successfully matriculate in the STEAM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math).  

This year, 10 college students from the WIT Campus Program (4 of which self-identified as first-generation college students) and 3 high school students from the WIT Girls program, were selected among a talented pool of applicants. Including the WIT Office, five area companies partnered with WIT to provide the students with 8-12-week challenging projects in STEAM:  Cox Automotive, Morneau Shepell, Satori Interactive, The Home Depot and The Weather Company.  The internships exposed the students to real-life application of careers leveraging STEAM degrees.

“My experience as a WIT Intern has been amazing and overall very informative. During these two months, I have been able to learn a variety of databases while also learning social skills such as communication and reliability… Being a WIT Intern has helped solidify and reassure what I would like to do in a professional [STEAM] career,” said Khemisha Brown (Senior at North Cobb High School and 2016 Girl of the Year Finalist).  

For some of the participants, such as Monica Ortiz, it opened the door to new opportunities. Monica, a recent graduate of Georgia Gwinnett College and first-generation college student, will join Morneau Shepell as a full-time employee after her internship.  “It [WIT] is the reason I am where I am today…. Being a WIT Intern has helped further my pursuit in my [STEAM] career because it has assured me I chose the perfect career path,” said Monica.   [Hear Monica’s remarkable story as an immigrant, single mother, and first-generation college graduate to become a college graduate and woman in STEAM here]

Thanks to the NCR Foundation Grant, the WIT Internship Program was successful in enabling the next generation of female STEAM career professionals.