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This story is part of our news archives, prior to July 2010.

Elissa Butler samsoni abraham '11: My internship with xora

Hometown: Arusha, Tanzania
Class Year: Junior
Major: Computer Science, Economics
Student activities: Intramural soccer, Macalester Investment Group, Afrika!

What kind of work do you do for Xora?

I chose to intern with Xora because the position promised a lot of opportunity for problem solving. It has also exposed me to more than 200 different mobile phones. Each time there is a new phone on the market I get to test Xora products on it.

As a quality assurance intern, I test their products and make sure that they function as expected. I have to think like a customer and try to break the product in order to detect problems.

My job also involves troubleshooting when a customer has a problem with the product and engineers or customer support staff cannot figure out a solution. I first reproduce the problem and if I find a solution or way to work around it, I let the engineers know. There is a lot of communication back and forth among me, product developers and the customer support department.

What new trends are coming up for smart phones?

Right now “android smart phones” are taking up the smartphone market. Powered by Google, the android smart phone operating system has great apps and there is a strong demand for it. Regardless of the operating system, the future mobile phone/smartphone will have a high connectivity, high multimedia capability and all of them will have a user-friendly interface.

How many phones do you carry with you?

At least 5 phones, sometimes more than 10.

Favorite Phone:
Motorola Backflip

Have any courses (professors) at Macalester helped in this position? Made you think differently about approaching this work? The Computer Science course Software Design/Development introduced me to software quality assurance. In my group semester product I was the quality assurance/tester for the project. This required me to read and learn more about quality assurance. With help from Professor Shoop I learned a lot in that class, so when I went for my interview at Xora, they were greatly impressed.

What kind of work would you like to pursue after Macalester?

I would like to have my own firm in the information technology industry. I am planning on doing volunteer work, where I can apply my IT and economics knowledge to help others, especially in my home country of Tanzania where the IT industry is very small and the application of computer technology is very limited.

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