2018 MacNest Participants
(Muhmmad) Ismail Ather ’20
Internship Site: Portkey SEO Solutions
Hometown: Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Major: Economics with Statistics and Religious Studies Minors
As an aspiring entrepreneur, I am avidly interested in corporate strategy and market outreach. Portkey SEO Solutions offers me an excellent opportunity to explore these interests of mine as this company works to assist local businesses with their online presence. However, I am also beginning to understand the responsibilities that come with being an entrepreneur. This makes me a little nervous, but at the same time more excited and motivated to achieve my goals.
Portkey SEO Solutions is a local Twin Cities startup that provides search engine optimization through tactical website analysis and internet marketing services. I will be working as a digital marketing intern at Portkey SEO Solutions. I am being trained to perform several projects for Portkey which include writing SEO blogs and conducting email marketing, Facebook advertisements and social media marketing campaigns. I am also working with WordPress to build interactive and SEO friendly websites. Furthermore, I attend small business expos and trade shows by representing Portkey, and attending local small business networking groups in order to create connections and increase sales for Portkey.
Rohit Bagda ’20
Internship Site: Token of Trust
Hometown: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Major: Computer Science, Applied Math & Statistics
As a student aspiring to be a Software Engineer, Token of Trust provides me valuable experience in the field of Computer Science outside the classroom. I chose Token of Trust primarily because they are a well established start up and I get the opportunity to work directly with the Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer. I build projects that help improve their current product and in the process I get to learn new languages and frameworks that are used in the Software Development industry. Outside of the technical side of the internship, I participate in the weekly Co-Founder’s meeting where I take a break from coding and learn about ToT’s business platform and how a small of group of entrepreneurs run a successful startup. It has been an exciting start to the summer and I am looking forward to what ToT has in store for me for the next couple of months.
Token of Trust helps online merchants fight fraud and make data-driven consumer decisions by providing them with cloud-based tools that instantly and affordably assess online behavioral activity and real world identification data.
Blair (Hyejeong) Cha ’20
Internship Site: Monicat Data
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Major: Applied Math & Statistics, and Economics
Working with Monicat Data requires me to constantly tackle tasks such as strategic planning, reaching out to potential partners, and so on that were often not what I would have learned in a classroom. I definitely feel uncomfortable feeling uncertain about how much of my work was actually helpful to my internship site, since I am attempting new things and cannot accurately assess myself. However, I realize that I’m doing the same work I did daily during school. For example, researching which group of students need Open Pantry the most for MCSG is similar to market research, and running for a leadership position and finding ways to effectively advocate myself is similar to how Monicat Data tries to establish themselves in the creative economy. My work now with Monicat Data prepares me to be honest about what I don’t know, open minded about what I want to be, and ask questions with confidence that I will excel in the subject soon. In the future, I wish to help clients succeed in the most efficient and strategic way possible as a consultant, and my work is preparing me to be confident in myself facing new challenges and to keep how I view of myself flexible.
Monicat Data provides data management and technology solutions for the creative economy. The concept of using technology to sustain and successfully grow business is novel to the creative market, and Monicat Data guides their clients step by step by applying the evaluation process specific to the company’s creative needs, providing custom research, monthly data services, and technology design and tool development. Monicat Data also strives to unite the creative economy with technology solutions locally and nationally by hosting the Yellow Summit. My role is aiding in research to boost sales and provide more substantial solutions for clients, creating a broader network and partnerships for Monicat Data, and performing data analysis/reporting.blurb
Dureti Doto ’19
Internship Site: HabitAware
Hometown: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Major: Neuroscience Psychology with Biology Minor
What intrigued me about HabitAware is their technique of combining neurological behaviors and entrepreneurship to help others, which is an aspect that I look forward to implementing in the future. I am excited about tackling big projects that will give me a chance to explore the startup field and be part of an environment that I am unfamiliar with, but eager to learn about. I am given a lot of independence at HabitAware which makes me a little uncomfortable, but it’s okay because it will allow me to become great at time management and efficiency, which are important skills to have in any career path I choose to follow. Through the few days I have been working at HabitAware I have learned that being an entrepreneur requires determination, passion, hard work, humility and a true desire to help others. I feel very lucky to be working in such a welcoming and loving environment and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store!
HabitAware is co-founded by Aneela and Sameer, who using their own life experiences were able to create the world’s first ever smart awareness bracelet. Keen by HabitAware is a smart awareness trainer and subconscious behavior tracker that helps people suffering from body focused repetitive behaviors like hair pulling, skin picking, nail biting and thumb sucking. Keen senses one’s behavior and sends a vibration, helping them develop awareness and take control of the subconscious behaviors. As a MacNest intern I have joined the team to help them with many aspects of the company, including business development, online marketing strategy, and/or operations. Whether it is by helping to develop additional sales channels through conversations with doctors / health centers / schools or managing social media accounts and developing creative ideas for digital ad campaigns.
Wendy Franco ’19
Internship Site: RSVTea
Hometown: Orange, California
Major: English and Economics
For RSVTea, I am doing a lot of learning at the moment. Getting to know the beverage industry and where RSVTea fits within it has been crucial to really getting to know its market, so it’s been really fun and interesting getting to understand all that. I’m mostly bringing in my artistic skill to the table, hoping my vision and perspective will help create creative and innovative solutions and ideas for the team. One the greatest things about working for RSVTea is that I have the opportunity to work in various areas like marketing, budgeting, etc. I really look forward to trying as many things as I can, and think the experience will allow me to hone in on where my skills thrive best and where I need improvement. The RSVTea team is extremely encouraging and supportive, and one of the things I’m most excited about is getting out of my comfort zone, which by their side I feel very eager to do.
RSVTea is a fizzy tea combining the health benefits of tea and the fun of carbonated drinks. It was founded by Sarah Nichols, driven by her desire to have a drink that would provide a boost of energy but wouldn’t come with the unhealthy side effects of sugar-filled energy drinks and coffee. The brand’s motto is “everyone’s invited”. RSVTea is on a mission to revive the power of celebration, placing the importance of inclusivity at the center of that mission.
Dakotta Heacock ’19
Internship Site: Cloudburst, SBC
Hometown: Missoula, Montana
Major: Computer Science
Working at Cloudburst so far has been absolutely amazing. I work as a junior developer, so I’m working with code directly every day, either on my own project or pair coding with a senior developer. All of which is perfect because I really wanted to work at a startup that allowed me to code every day, giving me some real world experience as a professional programmer. I just started an internal application that aims to provide more clarity to clients as to where their money and resources are going when they hire Cloudburst to develop their application. My boss and I sat down and discussed why lack of tech literacy can causes rifts between clients and developers because often times the client doesn’t understand how much work goes into coding, and how unpredictable it can be. In addition, we discussed why and how Cloudburst is able to offer competitive prices for app building, and why we need an app which can more clearly define to a customer why we’re charging them as much as we are. So far, I’m learning something new about programming and business management every single day. All of which is easy applicable to my future career goals and dreams.
Cloudburst SBC is a software development company which primarily builds web applications for entrepreneurs. I work as a junior developer on the Cloudburst team, assisting on internal projects, as well as some external projects.
Zain Ijaz ’21
Internship Site: Social Impact Strategies Group
Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan
Major: Economics, Political Science, and Statistics
At SISG, I am responsible for familiarizing myself with Hubspot, a sales and marketing CRM, and working on it on behalf of the team. Furthermore, with the help of the SISG team, I am working on a financial forecast for the company and developing a budget for entrepreneur briefings keeping the forecast in mind. Back home I constructed and installed bio
filters in rural Western Punjab that purified grey water 5 times cheaper than a conventional filter. The people I hoped to help lived in underprivileged areas and received little monetary aid from the government organizations set up in the area. SISG’s aim of empowering underserved entrepreneurs by creating opportunities for them resonated with me as my own project focused on alleviate the living conditions of my people residing in under-resourced areas.
Social Impact Strategies Group (SISG) is a BCorp certified social enterprise that aims to power wealth creation through ownership for underserved entrepreneurs especially entrepreneurs of color. SISG does so by measurement & analysis of organization, project, operations, philanthropic or investment portfolios, developmental workshops and bootcamps, and entrepreneur briefings.
Dylan Kulik ’20
Internship Site: Zero-In Consulting
Hometown: Bethesda, Maryland
Major: Environmental Studies Major with Environmental Science Concentration and Geology Minor
I am an Environmental Studies major at Macalester, so working with a company with a strong focus on reducing environmental stresses is very exciting to me. I chose to work with ZeroIn because it is the only company participating in MacNest that operates in the environmental sector. The first time I met Alyssa I was also immediately sold; our viewpoints and values meshed remarkably, likely due to both majoring in ES. I am excited to watch this company expand from a small yet potent concept to hopefully a recognized name in the area. I am also excited to strengthen my written and verbal communication skills through outreach and education. Alyssa’s dedication to the cause is demonstrating that any entrepreneurial idea can be grown into a real company with enough effort (and interns). Writing blogs is something I am apprehensive about only because I’ve never done it before, but I hope to gain the skills to publish poignant posts for Zero-In. This work fits perfectly into my college studies and I hope to apply the educational aspects of the job to future work.
ZeroIn Consulting is a company that encourages local and regional businesses to tweak their activities so they are less wasteful. Alyssa, the owner, strives to expand the zero waste movement by demonstrating that modern lifestyles and business functions alike can be truly waste free. My role as an intern is to familiarize myself and Alyssa with other advocates and companies in the zero waste sector, inform and educate the public through social media and blog posts, and continually learn how zero waste is possible in today’s world. I am currently writing a guide to zero waste shopping, an informational post about recyclable and non-recyclable plastics, and plan to publish directions for numerous “upcycling” projects I’ve done. The company is less than a year old, so I am also learning about the necessities to establish a young startup.
Benjamin LeBlanc ’20
Internship Site: Garage Grown Gear
Hometown: Kohler, Wisconsin
Major: English (Creative Writing)
My role as intern consists of order fulfillment, optimizing website layouts, interviewing and composing startup stories on partnered brands, and slowly familiarizing myself with all the brass tacks of growing a small business. I chose this startup because it enforces routine, encourages creativity, and necessitates a diversity of skills that range from the technical minutia of web design to the understanding of our customer audience and the conception of effective promotional material. As someone who is still developing ideas of what I’d like to do after graduation, working with Lloyd at GGG encourages me to try out a plethora of skillsets and take a highly reflective approach on what I find fulfilling in a work environment. I’m beginning to notice my own work habits, both beneficial and problematic, and from there I can really hone in on how to tackle projects effectively and make the most of my experience. One aspect that I’m grappling with in these first few weeks is the highly self-motivated structure of the internship, which has been greatly liberating and conducive to creativity, but also certainly a bit daunting.
Garage Grown Gear is an e-commerce outdoor gear retailer with a strong social media presence. GGG strives to discover and promote small, innovative cottage companies while stimulating a stronger sense of outdoor community through our regularly updated blog.
Inonge Naluchima Mubita ’20
Internship Site: 26 Letters
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya
Major: Environmental Studies and Political Science
This summer I have been working very closely with my supervisor doing research on how companies can change their recruiting strategies, restructuring the hiring process and how to retain diverse candidates. In addition, I help edit and create written and video content. I also work with my supervisor on developing some projects for employers and employees. Working at the Department of Multicultural Life at Macalester has really expanded my interest in doing work around diversity and exploring how to truly create diverse spaces that allow individuals to be themselves and truly excel in those spaces. This is why I have really been enjoying my time at 26 Letters. It has given me a chance to see how small to large companies are really questioning their approach to diversity and how they can change their work culture. I am really excited about a program I am working on with my supervisor that confidentially connects employees to resources based on their needs and concerns.
26 Letters is a startup based in Minneapolis that works with diversity, inclusion and HR leaders to change corporate cultures. They help organizations gather and assess data which help provide insight and strategies for building a more inclusive, engaged and diverse workforce.
Mackenzie O’Brien ’19
Internship Site: Backpack EMR
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Major: Geography, Urban Studies, and History
I am entering my senior year at Macalester where I study geography, urban studies, and history. In addition, I have a strong interest in the field of public health, which drew me towards BackpackEMR. When I first met with Lori and Daisy, I was drawn to their enthusiasm for the work they were doing and knew that this was where I wanted to spend my summer. I’m excited to learn about all the moving pieces that go into working in a public health startup and seeing how technology can make a meaningful impact on the world of public health. I’m still figuring out what I want to do in the future (aren’t we all?), but I know that working at BackpackEMR will open my eyes to exciting opportunities and help me develop valuable skills.
BackpackEMR is a product designed to make the process of collecting medical information more efficient and reliable for mobile clinics. The electronic medical record software on iOS simplifies the process of gathering and sharing medical data between parties, while the rugged hardware ensures that this invaluable data is protected no matter the circumstances. This summer, I am thrilled to join the team of Lori, Daisy, and Chris in BackpackEMR’s new office in Uptown Minneapolis. I am serving as the team’s public health intern, where I primarily focus on researching markets and potential impact of the product in different regions of the world.
KY (Kar Yan) Ong ’20
Internship Site: Bigfoot Analytics
Hometown: Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia
Major: Applied Math & Statistics, and Economics
I’m KY and I chose to work for Bigfoot Analytics because I was intrigued by Dennis’ approach to data. Dennis aims to create a story with data and to use that data to improve the business. I am excited to work with Dennis because of his unique approach to data, as well as his goal to help small businesses that may lack proper understanding of their data. So far, I have learned that being an entrepreneur requires a lot of self motivation because no one is going to be by your side to remind you to be hardworking. Ever since dabbling in some entrepreneurship and data analytics last summer, I have considered becoming an entrepreneur and also a data analyst. This internship fits both my aspirations perfectly as it will teach me how a startup data analyst can succeed.
Bigfoot Analytics is founded by Dennis Still who is also my site supervisor. Bigfoot Analytics is a boutique consulting firm that helps small businesses to understand their data and use this data to drive significant performance gains. The company motto is “Hunt for Insights, Dispel the Myths”. I will be helping Dennis with data analysis and giving fresh insights into his work with his clients.
Courtney Overland ’19
Internship Site: The Underland Project
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Major: Visual Storytelling in the Cinematic Arts, and Computer Science
My name is Courtney Overland and I am going to be a senior next year at Macalester College. I wanted to work with the Underland Project because it was a way for me to both engage with my community and pursue my passion for film. I’m excited to be working for a cause that I truly believe in, and its been great being able to learn from equally passionate individuals. Its only been two weeks but I already feel like I’ve learned so much, and I’ve just been trying to soak it all in and find ways to apply my new skills.
The Underland Project mission is to empower people with developmental disabilities and their advocates through education and inclusion. We focus on the individual, not the disability to shift the paradigm of those with disabilities. We create video content and training materials that are affordable, adaptable, and accessible to those with developmental disabilities and their support system. We also encourage neurotypical people to step out of their comfort zone and engage with those who may be different from them.