Learning from Student Stories

Kali Stecker
Emphasis Area
Business Administration

Kali Stecker contributed to the iVoices Lab to understand how students shape stories through social media and how social media shapes our world.

How did you find your internship and what was the focus of the experience?

I got my internship after searching through Handshake (the University’s internship and entry level job database). I found a listing for the iVoices and thought it was super awesome how they are learning from students using technology. I liked how the internship experience was meaningful work to learn more about the students' social media habits, especially when technology is something that is such a big part of our lives.

The focus of my internship was to take students' projects from a class at the University of Arizona and migrate the data into a database. This information will later be printed in a textbook and available for analysis on students' use of technology. The goals of the project are to understand how humans shape social media and how social media shapes our world. 

What new skills did you develop in this internship?

During my internship, I used programs such as Excel and Descript. I gained transferable skills like information processing, storage development/usage, programming, and transcribing. I also gained skills on recording data and transferring existing data from a separate document and inputting it into Excel. I migrated that information to the spreadsheet, I would name it by a student identifier and put the link of the work on the sheet.

The most challenging part of my internship was learning the different programs and the way they work. I had never really used Excel before so it was a first for me. Once I started to get the hang of it, I could work quicker and more efficiently. Another time I faced formatting challenges. I problem solved by raising the issue in a meeting with my supervisor and taking action from there. I also had some challenges when I could not hear someone's audio very well to transcribe it. The experience taught me that as long as I focus and take my time, I will get the hang of the work assigned to me even if at first it seems like a lot.

What is unique about your situation that influenced your internship experience?

At the beginning of the semester, I started off in a different internship. After I started that one, I realized that it was not for me and the goals of the company did not align with what I wanted. I then was freaking out thinking I was never going to find an internship in such short notice and that would impact my plans for graduation. I worked with Stephanie Springer (the Applied Humanities Internship Director) and started looking for new opportunities on Handshake. I was happy to find iVoices especially because I learned so much.

What advice do you have for other students as they search for or begin their internship?

My advice I have for future interns is never give up! The first option you pursue sometimes does not end up working out, but it all will eventually. I would also say to try your best to make sure that you read the entire job description and do some research on the company to make sure it aligns with your goals and what you want out of it. This will allow you to make sure that it is the right fit for you. It may be the case for you too that the second option ends up being a better option than the first so never give up and keep pushing through even when times get hard!