James Yang

Internships are an integral part of most students’ experience at Macalester. There are  over 200 internships sites within 8 miles of campus and a center to help students navigate the internship process. What’s most important though is that students learn more about their career aspirations and make valuable connections with people in fields they hope to pursue after graduation.


Building software

James Yang ’23, Taiwan, Computer Science 
Yang is a software engineer intern at the startup company We Sparkle, which is dedicated to building a stronger, more inclusive economy by equipping underestimated entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed.

Daily tasks
I am given tasks at the beginning of every week and those tasks include learning about what We Sparkle isdoing and wants to do, as well as technical knowledge like the platform, database, and the coding languages used to build them.

I meet with my supervisor every Tuesday for work updates and to discuss what we find interesting and related to our work. Every Friday we have a team meeting for everyone to share what they have been doing for the past week and what they want to achieve for this new week.

Course instruction
l have learned a lot from my time at Macalester, not only the technical knowledge learned from class that I can apply to making software but how to interact with people and how to be more understanding, kind, and loving. I might not know what other people are going through or know how I will affect them.

Final words
I have a better understanding of how a startup works and how I can be more prepared for working in the field in the future.

Matthea Najberg

Conducting interviews

Matthea Najberg ’22, Singapore, International and Environmental Studies
Najberg is an intern with Conservation Leadership Community of Practice (CLCP), a group of individuals who run fellowship programs at various conservation organizations.

Landing the position
I got my internship through the environmental studies senior seminar. We are required to do an internship in place of a traditional capstone paper, so we got quite a lot of support in finding an internship. The chair of the Environmental Studies Department came up with a list of organizations that were interested in having Macalester students intern for them. From there, we ranked our top choices and then {Prof.] Roopali Phadke set us up with an interview based on our preferences.

Daily tasks
My primary role with CLCP is to interview members to gather feedback on how the group is functioning and to see if there is interest in further formalizing the group. I typically have one or two interviews a day and then spend some time cleaning up my notes and writing down some key findings that I can include in a final presentation where I share the feedback. As an introvert, it can sometimes be hard for me to jump into conversations with people I don’t know, but I know this is a great networking opportunity and it has been really interesting to get to know so many different people working in a field I may be interested in going into, so it has been quite rewarding. 

I’ve learned a lot about environmental justice, which is a part of environmental studies. I didn’t even know it existed in high school and I think that everyone needs to know about it.

Final thoughts
Even when you’ve tried for so long and nothing is panning out, eventually it will and the wait will make it feel so much better. Also, things that seem so important in the moment often are not. It’s important to keep things in perspective and know that there are other opportunities and realities out there to explore.

April 19 2022

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