Photo by Marisa Padilla
Practical experience in computer science is now being offered on campus thanks to a new internship. Chief Information Officer Jonathan See started a computer science internship program to help students interested in computer science gain experience in information technology that is applicable in the real world.
This year’s internship will provide students the opportunity to solve an IT problem that would be present in a job-like situation, according to See. Interns can put what they learn in class to use and apply it, rather than just memorizing the material. See said in this situation, interns are treated as professionals, not just as students.
Many times, concepts in computer science are taught, but there is no way for students to implement them, See said. He said he feels the real-world application is necessary for succeeding after college in the computer science field.
“It’s for the students to focus on real-life issues,” See said. “They can help us, and we can treat them as professionals, and they can help us to address a user department’s problem.”
See also said it is necessary for interns to have interactions with the user department.
“We want them to have the ability to really interface with a user department,” he said. “Then they can go back and look at possible solutions and assign solutions to the problem. Students can then add to their resume that they helped solve a problem.”
Although the internship is new, two seniors, Bryan Carter and Adam Inglehart are already participating in it. Inglehart wrote in an email that the internship will be an invaluable experience even though the internship has only been in place for one week.
He wrote that each intern will take on a yearlong software development project that they will be responsible for from start to finish.
“This includes planning, meeting with the department or individuals that requested our particular project, developing the software, providing documentation on how to use the software, and factoring in feedback and additional features that might be requested,” Inglehart wrote.
“I am acquiring skills that will directly apply to my work beyond college.”
Interns will also be able to earn credits through their internship in the computer science field, according to See. He said the credit aspect makes the internship even more worthwhile.
“I think students really like the opportunity to actually apply what they learn in practical learning,” See said.
Another faculty member who has played a role in this internship is IT Manager Abrash Khanmalek. Khanmalek took over this department in 2013, and he has seen big changes in the computer science program since then.
“When I took over managing this department last year and started hiring students from the Computer Science Division, it marked the first year ever Application Development had student employees, not to mention having them do enterprise level software development,” Khanmalek said. “Due to mostly its success, we devised the internship program.”
Students who plan to pursue Computer Science majors find that this internship is both helpful and relevant to their studies.
Sophomore Nick Link, a Computer Science major, said he sees this internship as being a great resource for Computer Science students.
“I think this is a great idea,” Link said. “Computer science, like any science, is really hard to learn conceptually; you have to actually practice. An internship is very beneficial.”
Link said he thinks this internship would make computer science more prominent on campus.
Sophomore Darragh Joyce said he thinks the internship is both innovative and a good addition to studies at Pepperdine.
“I’d be very interested in the internship,” Joyce said. “I feel that a lot of the subject of IT is exclusive to sitting in front of computers and understanding the dynamics behind computers and the modernization of technology.”
After months of hard work, See said his plan for the internship has become a reality. Although he has a master’s degree in Public Administration, See said he loves being a strategist, and his interest in community gains led him to take the position of strategist CIO.
See also said he is interested in community gains, and especially where we can apply technology so that tasks can be done more efficiently.
See said he has big plans for the internship in the future. He is hoping that the program will interest even more students and will provide more opportunities for internships that are not just in application services.
“I am really looking forward to helping the students succeed, and I think this program is the start of something really good,” See said. “I anticipate that it will be really successful and that it will grow in the future.”
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