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Two VMware Intern’s Look Back at the 2014 Grace Hopper Conference

Earlier this fall, I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. It was refreshing to see so many passionate people joining together to discuss the latest innovations in technology and how each of us can work together to empower women to thrive in the information technology space. Betty Chen and Akanksha Bansal, 2014 VMware interns and WCW (Women Connecting Women) members are two shining examples of the game-changing talent that attended the conference with me. During the conference, Betty and Akanksha chronicled their #GHC14 journey on the @vmwareu Instagram account to give an inside look at their real time conference takeaways. After having settled back into the work and school grind, I thought it would be great to reconnect with Betty and Akanksha to learn a little bit more about their biggest learnings at the Grace Hopper Conference. Read on to discover what’s next for Betty and Akanksha.      – Price Peacock, VMware Social Community Manager, Employment Brand

 

Betty_Chen_InstagramTakeover_VisualBetty Chen

2014 VMware R&D Intern

Office Site: Palo Alto, California

University: The University of California, Berkeley

 

My flight from San Francisco to Phoenix was full of women ready and excited to attend the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration. If my first interactions with #GHC14 attendees on the plane were any indication of what was to come, I knew that I was in for an amazing adventure. During the entire flight, I talked with two excellent ladies about why choosing computer science was making a huge difference in our lives.Betty_Chen_3

On the first day of the conference, we had ample opportunities to connect with other women to share our perspectives on pursuing a career in technology. Attending the celebration was like finding the right place and people to confide our troubles as women in computing for the first time. Whether you were a student, professor, or engineer, we were all connected.Betty_Chen_1

The most impressive talk I attended was “Graduate School Surviving Skills”. Although I am an undergraduate student, I could feel how other conference attendees felt when they told the speaker things like, “I have a new baby and I am a graduate student.” “I am the only female in my lab.” and “Whenever I have something to ask that men won’t understand, I do not know who I should talk to.” The speaker always answered the audience member’s question and shared experiences that were truly inspiring. She made us feel warm and cared for. Finally, at the end of the talk, the speaker asked all of us to sing a song where she had revised the lyrics. The song was about being stronger and that no matter what difficulties we faced, we can get past them.

There was also a student opportunity lab, which shared advice with students looking for jobs. The opportunity lab used a new style of talk where ten people sat around a table and only one of them would be the speaker. They would talk about one topic and everyone would have chance to ask questions and share experiences. Attendees would take turns to attend different topic sessions, such as Interview Skills, How to Refine your LinkedIn Profile, and Exploration in Data Science. These sessions opened new ‘windows’ for me to see things differently. Although we have fewer women in the computer science field at this point in time compared to men, we have so many sisters looking out for each other and helping us achieve our goals.

Finally, I want to thank VMware for supporting me to attend this amazing event! It led me to a new world that I had never explored, and allowed me to make friends that can help each other on the way to pursuing our dreams!

 

2014_Intern_Poster_Session_Edited_30Akanksha Bansal

2014 VMware R&D Intern

Office Site: Palo Alto, California

University: The University of Texas at Austin

 

As a second year attendee of the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference (#GHC14), I was inspired to be around so many talented and motivating women. This year was particularly special for me because it increased my curiosity and desire to get involved in open source. There were so many great takeways from each session that will definitely be useful for navigating my career and life after college.Akanksha_Instagram_1

Attending Grace Hopper sparks a newfound energy in all of its attendees. Time is the only constraint that needs to be managed when looking to create a successful Grace Hopper conference experience, as there are so many talks and workshops happening simultaneously. It’s always a tough choice to decide which sessions to attend, as they are all so interesting.

From sessions on career development, like “Building Your Professional Persona,” and “Perfect Team: Networking Matters,” to motivational talks like “Change the World and Boost Your Career.” In addition to these tracks, there was also a poster session that happened in parallel with the Career Fair.

Attending the conference allowed me to connect with prominent leaders in the technology field and get a better understanding of their research while sharing ideas with them. The conference really instilled a sense of togetherness among attendees, as we were able to connect with one another and share similar struggles that we go through on a regular basis.Akanksha_Instagram_2

I feel that the Grace Hopper Conference is the platform for women in tech as it aims to empower everyone with equal opportunities and unending inspiration, by bringing together a community that is life-changing. This can be seen by the fact that there are so many scholarship programs that help students attend #GHC14 that more than likely would have never had the chance to hear about this conference, let alone be a part of it. Conference attendees are also empowered to present their recent research findings and attend sessions that focus on the professional development of women in technology fields.

The conference creates opportunities for collaborative proposals, networking and mentoring for everyone. I watched professors meeting potential Ph.D. students, companies finding their future teammates, young entrepreneurs meeting their lifelong mentors. Everyone puts aside their fears for three days to connect and share knowledge and expertise for the benefit of others, which is truly inspiring.

 

 

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Mark Roukema, Software Engineering Student at the University of Waterloo Shares Why He Boomeranged Back for a Second Internship at VMware

Some of the best advice I’ve heard includes taking as many opportunities as you can to ask questions, explore, and to test out ideas to stretch yourself. If you are a current student, you may be at a point where you have flexibility to zero in on these moments of growth. Because of this, I decided to sit down with Mark Roukema, VMware intern and current student at the University of Waterloo to see how he takes this advice to heart as he returns to VMware for a second internship. Let’s see what Mark has to say about VMware’s people, making an impact from day one, and the defining moments that helped shape his trajectory.

 

Mark_Roukema_4The Software Engineering Program at the University of Waterloo provides a variety of growth & development opportunities for students, including six four-month internship placements with top employers across the country, including VMware. During my third year of college, I was lucky enough to receive the opportunity to intern at VMware headquarters in Palo Alto, California as a Software Engineer working on the Partner Engineering Storage team. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. It’s because of this experience that I decided to join VMware again for a second four-month placement working on the same team. Now several months into my second internship, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share my thoughts on why I came back.

Here are four key reasons I decided to intern at VMware:

1. People and Culture

From day one it was clear that VMware treats its interns differently than most employers that I’m familiar with. I spent my first day getting acquainted with VMware’s culture by touring the newly expanded, beautiful campus in Palo Alto and meeting my new coworkers. To my surprise, most of the other people in the orientation were not fellow interns, but full-time new hires. Attending orientation was my first clue that I was in for a game-changing experience.  I felt like an equal contributing member of the employee community, just like any other talented employee. This was a key factor in my decision to return to VMware.Mark_Roukema_5

2. Making an Impact on Real World Challenges

The largest difference between a VMware internship and internships at other companies is that the quality of work we are given. The work that VMware interns are involved with is of great interest to each team and makes a direct impact on the business. For the first time at an internship I got the sense that my work was actually contributing to the team and unless I put my full effort into it I would let the group down. What I do matters and that means a lot to me.

During my first internship at VMware, I was directly involved in putting together a software plugin that uses technologies that I had never heard of or worked on before. If you had asked me about the problem that the plugin addressed at the start of my internship, I would have probably said that its resolution was not feasible or that I couldn’t do it. However, with the support and encouragement of my team, I was able to learn new skills and familiarize myself with new technologies, which helped me make an impact on the project. I pushed beyond the artificial limits I had set for myself and grew, which was very rewarding. My work at VMware proved to not only be challenging, but one of the best hands on learning experiences that I’ve gotten out of an internship.

3. Intern Life, Fun and Balance

Of course my internship was not all work. There was plenty of fun to be had both at work and at home, where over 100 other VMware interns from all across the world were living. The VMware University Relations Program provided interns with a variety of events to get to know each other and explore all that California has to offer. From social events like our LAN party on VMware’s campus, day trips to places like Angel Island, volunteer opportunities within the local community and possibly the most important factor: reasonable working hours. No one ever asked or expected me to work more than a normal 40-hour work week. This left plenty of time to hang out with fellow interns and explore. I think work life balance is important because for most of us, the things that matter and are important to us and define who we are occur outside the office. It only makes sense that these things get as much of our attention as we can afford to give them.Mark_Roukema_3

4. Anticipation for What’s Next

When my first internship at VMware came to an end I came to appreciate how great of an opportunity I had come across. I was leaving with more knowledge and experience than I had ever imagined that I would get out of an internship. During my last week I learned that if I wanted to, I could walk away with one more thing, an offer to come back and intern for another four months.

For me this was an easy decision. VMware is by far the best internship experience that I’ve had to date. I know that I have a lot to learn and takeaway from my return, so I’m looking forward to what’s next. I’ve been given the opportunity to continue my work from the previous term and am excited to see it through the next phase of its lifespan.

Thank you VMware for this incredible opportunity to work with passionate people who are driven to challenge the status quo all while having fun and building meaningful relationships. I’m looking forward to the remainder of my second internship.

 

About Mark: Mark is a fourth year student pursuing a Bachelor of Software Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He is currently continuing his work with networked storage technology on the Ecosystem Research and Development team at VMware.

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A VMware Intern’s Reflection on the Community that Gives More

Connect with Ariel Weingarten, 2013 VMware Intern within the Ecosystems Research and Development Team, as he shares his meaningful experiences with the people community at VMware.

 

One of VMware’s core values is Community; a community focused on giving more. With over ten thousand employees it’s hard to imagine a cohesive set of mores standing out. Throughout my internship at VMware, I was pleasantly surprised at the sense of community and my colleagues’ motivation.

Often, the idea of “give more” is confused with giving more of your time, which quickly becomes unmaintainable. Instead, VMware helps its employees to work at a broader scope. The same amount of effort can provide so much more when the whole community is kept in mind.

Some remarkable things can happen when you’re willing to dedicate your time, talents, and energy to work within a larger organization. I’d like to share three examples that illustrate what I mean.

Drinking from the Fire Hose

From the moment I accepted my offer at VMware the giving had already begun. My flight was paid for, my living arrangements were awaiting my arrival, and a classy shuttle and affable driver were ready to take me to my first day of work. After getting dropped off, I was already eager to get started at making myself a worthy investment for this kind of treatment. Little did I know I had only seen the tip of the iceberg.

My first few weeks were filled with connecting with coworkers who provided deep insight on managing virtual infrastructures and VMware’s virtualization stack. It was a truly staggering amount of information; in the words of my mentor, I was having fun “drinking from the fire hose”. This rich educational experience in enterprise virtualization software is rare to have experience in as a student and one that I’m truly grateful for.

Intern Life

Some really great things come about when you try to outdo VMware at creating a thriving people community. After enjoying numerous VMware-hosted intern events, I wanted to give back by helping organize a barbecue for the 200+ interns at the intern’s housing location. The VMware University Relations (UR) Team enthusiastically came back offering to help fund an intern-planned event. I came up with a wish list and was thinking that the UR Team would cover a portion of it and I’d raise the rest from my fellow interns. Instead, the UR Team provided me with a Visa gift card that allowed me to throw a fun and friendly intern owned and operated event for the entire intern class. I was thrilled to see that the desire to give more and a bit of determination are taken seriously and acted upon at VMware.

VMware rewards taking the initiative both in and out of the workplace.

Giving Until the Very End

After four months, I sat at my desk reflecting over my time at VMware. I was a bit bummed out that my time with the company was ending. That being said, I was far from dissatisfied. Working at VMware provided me with some of the most valuable expertise in the industry right now: solving problems with virtualization technology. There are a lot of companies out there looking for this in an employee and one of them happened to call my mentor that day.

He must not have noticed how hard I was reflecting because he asked if I could handle a customer support call. As it turned out, the customer was having some trouble with VMware Server Certification. This was a process that I had become intimately familiar with over the course of my internship. What started as a support call became an interview of sorts and the next thing I knew I had a consulting job at AMD.

By then end, I realized that the opportunities at VMware are vast. If you are willing to put in the hard work, the company steps up to give you more to work with. This synergistic environment leads to positive changes in both the workplace community and abroad.

 

-Ariel Weingarten

 

About Ariel:

Ariel is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Software Engineering at the University of Waterloo. During the summer of 2013 he interned with the Ecosystems Research and Development Team developing a server certification automation infrastructure at VMware headquarters in Palo Alto, California. He will be returning to VMware to intern in January of 2014.

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Defying Convention: Disney Lam, 2013 VMware Intern and Cambridge Poster Session Winner Discovers What’s Next

At VMware, students are both challenged and rewarded with meaningful work and rich experiences in a collaborative environment that empowers them to architect what’s next. Hear from Disney Lam, 2013 Common Services Intern on her internship project findings, winning the Cambridge Intern Poster Session and attending VMworld San Francisco.

 

Disney Lam

Disney Lam, 2013 VMware Common Services Team Intern

Having completed previous internships in network administration and systems engineering roles, I saw the impact of VMware’s technology. Therefore, when VMware was recruiting at the University of Waterloo, I applied to internship positions not only as an intern hopeful, but also as a devoted fan. Fortunately, interviews went well and I was given the privilege to intern on the Common Services Team in VMware’s Cambridge site.

When the internship started, my mentor/manager gave me a list of potential projects to choose from. The projects were all very open-ended, so there was a lot of space for creativity. I chose to work on a project that will enable automatic discovery of services within a local environment. To fully develop the project, my mentor and I embarked on investigation, design, and implementation phases.

In the realm of service discovery, there already exist many protocol standards and they are commonly used to find network printers. Some examples include Multicast DNS, Universal Plug and Play, and Service Location Protocol. Despite the effectiveness of these service discovery protocols, they require the use of multicast and broadcast messages, which is blocked in many networks, due to security reasons. Thus, many infrastructure administrators resort back to static means of advertising services. This not only makes an infrastructure more difficult to manage, but it can decrease service availability as well. My project was to address these existing issues so that service discovery mechanisms can be deployed in any networking environment. At the completion of my internship project, I, along with the other 2013 interns, had the opportunity to present our findings to VMware employees at the annual Intern Poster Session.

Personally, the VMware Intern Poster Session was a nerve-wracking experience at first. Being a Computer Science major in a room full of people whom I am not well acquainted with really drove my anxiety levels up. For the entire session, I stood by my poster, answering questions that engineers had. Since VMware engineers are experts in the field, there were a lot of difficult questions. Members of the VMware Academic Program also came by to ask questions, so interns really needed to present their work from both a technical and business perspective.

As the session passed by, I became less nervous and more confident. I was very happy whenever I was able to explain why the project was designed a certain way when addressing concerns. I enjoyed speaking with other teams about how they can integrate the project into their own code. Some engineers even asked me when the project was going into production! I think it is quite rare for interns to get this amount of constructive feedback in the short time that they are with a company. I honestly believe that my presentation skills improved exponentially during that time!

I ended up really enjoying my poster session experience. I knew that it was because I had an amazing internship at VMware. My mentor/manager gave me a lot of freedom to explore solutions while nurturing me with guidance. The rest of my team became a fountain of knowledge for me and were nothing short of absolutely supportive. I remember times when I ran into problems that team members would directly approach me to provide help. Even at the poster session, the rest of the VMware engineering community was sharing their expertise to help interns grow intellectually.

However, winning the poster session still came as a complete shock to me. As an undergraduate, I was fearful of entering the poster session because most other interns were Masters and PhD students with a lot of experience under their belts. It still feels a bit strange when people address me as “future innovator”. Yet, now that I have won, I have learnt to be fearless, to be audacious, and to “defy convention”.

The prize for winning the poster session was an all-expense paid trip to VMworld in San Francisco. Since there were a lot of Sysadmins and Network Engineers there, I felt right at home. All the attendees and I were so impressed as products like vSAN and NSX were being announced. I remember back during my other internships as Sysadmin, my co-workers and I would praise VMware products and how they were changing IT in its entirety. This time, however, as opposed to not only being able to admire the innovation, I can say that I am a part of it!

 

Disney Lam

 

About Disney:

Disney Lam was an intern with the Common Services Team in Cambridge, MA. She is a fourth year Computer Science undergraduate at the University of Waterloo who is passionate about network and systems architecture, design, and management. On the Cisco certification ladder, Disney is a Cisco Certified Design Professional. She has served as Undergraduate Research Assistant with Professor Carol Fung and Professor Raouf Boutaba of the Networks Research Group and Professor Robin Cohen of the Artificial Intelligence Group in the Cheriton School of Computer Science.

 

 

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A Look Back at the 2013 VMware Summer Internship Experience

At VMware, students are both challenged and rewarded with meaningful work and rich experiences in a collaborative environment that empowers them to architect what’s next. Hear from Kim Hollenshead, University Relations Recruiter as she shares her take on a few memorable intern experiences from the past summer.

Summer’s quickly coming to an end and a good number of our interns have already returned to their university campuses and even more are set to depart from VMware campuses within the coming weeks.

Over the last few weeks I’ve had final week phone calls with some of our interns and each time I’ve started the conversation by asking them if they can believe their time with us is over. Every one of the interns I’ve spoken to has answered with something along the lines of how they can’t believe time has flown by so quickly.

VMware’s typical internship is 12-weeks and the majority of our interns are relocated to one of two major campuses – Palo Alto, California or Cambridge, Massachusetts. This year we also had a handful of students in our Colorado and Austin, Texas offices.

Since the greatest majority of our students head to our headquarters in Palo Alto, we make sure that they have some fun events and learning opportunities to attend outside of their normal intern project work. Some of the things that took place this summer included:

  • An ice cream social where they were able to mingle with the other VMware interns from various universities across the country
  • A kick-off event where they heard directly from VMware CEO, Pat Gelsinger about VMware’s three areas of focus: Software-Defined Data Center, End-User Computing and Hybrid Cloud as well as what’s next for the business
  • Various Tech Talks and Leadership Speaker Series as well as a PhD symposium
  • MBA Coffee Chats geared specifically to our MBA student’s interests
  • Service Learning Projects where interns contributed their time to give back to the community
  • Several fun outings including a trip to the Tech Museum in San Jose and Angel Island
  • We also hosted a few events focused on connecting our female engineers to other professional female engineers so they could talk through workplace and career advice

And at the end of every intern season we host several poster and presentation sessions where interns can show off the research and business plans they’ve worked on during their time with us. It’s always great fun to see how much our interns have accomplished and afterward there’s a voting process where the winners receive a fully paid trip to VMware’s premier event – VMworld.

With all the fun and excitement that’s built into the 12-weeks that they’re here with us, it’s always bittersweet to send them back to school, but when we do we can rest assured they’ve both enjoyed their time with us and that they are returning with a larger understanding of the work VMware employees do and the work that we’re architecting for future generations to come.

 

-Kim Hollenshead

 

About Kim:

Kim Hollenshead a University Recruiter at VMware, has held various roles within human resources (HR) since 1997 beginning with that as a corporate recruiter in Austin, Texas. With the evolution of the internet, Hollenshead found herself mesmerized by online social networking and social media and became involved with these outlets in 2005. Today, Hollenshead marries her HR and online social persona by advocating the use of social networks. She envisions them as tools to help both employees and employers in ways that can either better employees’ skill sets or to create value by using online tools to make high impact business decisions.

In October 2010 she joined VMware as a contract Recruiting Consultant and finding candidates to fill Sales, Sales Operations and other various business roles across the US. (www.twitter.com/vmwarekim) and in August of 2011 transitioned to VMware’s University Relations department as a University Recruiter. She’s currently supporting Networking, Security, Virtual Center, VM Cloud Director and Tech Ops business units to find VMware the brightest recent graduates and interns.

When she’s not busy with her VMware recruiting you’ll often find her reacquainting sorority sisters as the VP of Membership in the Texas Hill Country / North Austin ADPi Alumnae Association. She’s a lover of Tex-Mex and anything on Bravo TV and enjoys gardening, cooking, paper crafting, making jewelry and hanging out with her 3 dogs and a cat that has the personality of a dog and her husband.

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VMware Interns Drive What’s Next Through Meaningful Projects

VMware interns contribute their intellectual curiosity, innovative ideas and refreshing enthusiasm to the company every day. Interns make an impact from day one. Matt Wendorf, Technical Recruiter for University Relations shares how interns can bring their innovative ideas to life and professionally develop at VMware through meaningful projects that are driving what’s next in IT.

 

You will not find interns at VMware fetching coffee or answering phones this summer. No, interns from across the globe will find themselves traveling to VMware office sites for the opportunity to work on meaningful projects with tangible business implications. VMware interns are seen as capable extensions of their product engineering teams. These individuals are the future thought leaders in the systems software industry and are highly regarded with such prestige. Many of the 200+ R&D interns that join VMware every summer already come with a proven track record of success, but an internship at VMware will give them the opportunity to take this success to the next level.

It is not surprising to see an intern’s work during a 12-16 week internship show up in a product’s source code. We have products shipping today that still rely upon code created by an intern many, many moons ago. If an intern is looking for the necessary product development experience to compete in the hyper-competitive systems software industry, those skills are often honed during a VMware internship. From design to technical specs to prototype to product, our interns will have the opportunity to master this domain while contributing to the bottom line.

An Intern at VMware might also find themselves in the thick of the software patent application process. These interns will learn what it takes to work alongside their product team and IP lawyers to prepare and submit a patent application. The valuable experience with the challenging and complicated patent application process is also great experience to add to their CVs. There are numerous occasions where an intern knowingly and surprisingly found their name on a VMware patent. This gives the intern’s work incredible visibility both internally and externally.

While some VMware interns are attracted to product engineering projects, other interns are more concerned with research-based internships. VMware has plenty of research-based internship opportunities that go through a rigorous approval process with graduate students in mind. These intern projects tend to be more exploratory and have a larger scope. Our research interns forgo opportunities with prestigious research labs and often come back each summer to intern at VMware. Their intern projects often serve as the foundation for their degree research and thesis. They can also gain special access to invaluable systems and resources not available to all researchers.

Sometimes these interns find themselves rubbing elbows with the top engineers in R&D and working on the most advanced research projects happening within the company. These projects are often forward looking and strategic, but can serve as a foundation for future product roadmaps. Our Horizon Mobile product was essentially created out of a summer internship project. The VMware Horizon Mobile team now boasts more than 20 engineers and a successful position in the mobile virtualization space. A summer internship at VMware can get you in on the ground floor with such product teams.

Research interns also have opportunities to publish papers and submit them to the best technical journals and conferences. Our mentors and managers empower the interns to go above and beyond the original project scope. Not only might an intern’s paper be published in our internal publication, the VMware Technical Journal, but papers could and have been accepted by outside journals, systems software conferences and technical workshops alike.

We on the University Relations team are trying to create an intern program that is conducive to both personal and professional growth. Giving our interns a sense of value through product engineering, publishing, patent applications and advanced research makes VMware one of the most attractive internship opportunities in today’s software industry.

 

Do you want to envision what’s next in IT and for yourself? Learn how you can bring your innovative ideas to life and watch them grow here.

 

Matt Wendorf, Technical Recruiter for University Relations at VMware

 

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