Release Date: 8/16/2011
An internship is a way to sneak a peek at the future before you get there. Faced with a number of career paths midway through college, the interning student samples a bit here and there from the buffet of possibility, discovering in this way what’s sweet or sour, bitter or pleasant to their career-palate.
Terri Thomas, a senior from Fayetteville, is in the midst of a particularly wonderful smorgasbord this summer, working for Google in Mountain View, California.
Terri Thomas, a senior Strategic Communication and Sociology major, has spent the summer of 2011 interning with Google Inc., at their headquarters in Moutain View, California.
Google is the most-used search engine on the Web, receiving over one billion search requests each day through its various services.
Google is also Google Inc., an American multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. From its beginning as a school project between two Stanford Ph.D.s, it has grown into a part of everyday life for most people. It’s even a verb; everybody knows what it means to “google” something.
In fact, that’s how Terri landed her internship in the first place. “I googled it,” she said via telephone .
She said the internship application process itself was not difficult. “They flew us all out for a group interview,” Terri said. “There are 288 interns here. A lot of people think you have to be an engineer to work for Google, but that isn’t true. My major is strategic communications and sociology, and although I am doing some engineering stuff, anyone who can use Microsoft Word can use Google products. What I’ve been doing is working with central staffing, building websites. It’s a full 40-hour-per-week job.”
Finding housing was an immediate challenge for Terri. “This all happened during finals week at school,” she said. “The funny thing is, my brother was able to find a place for me in Santa Clara, which is right next to Mountain View, using Craigslist. And he was in India at the time!”
Though she is car-less, Terri has had little difficulty getting back and forth to work. “I have my bicycle, and it’s about a 20 minute ride,” she said. “On top of that, Google runs a chartered shuttle that stops nearby. So I haven’t needed a car out here.”
But what’s it like to intern for Google?
“The first time I walked into Google headquarters, I felt like I’d stepped into a Dr. Seuss book,” Terri said. “It is a very fun place. Lots of bright colors, old video game machines. They have a rock climbing wall, a bowling alley, a movie theater. They offer tons of exercise classes. They even have a massage room! I got a free massage on my birthday. If they had a dorm here, I’d never have to leave!”
Terri has made friends from all over, she says, and has become especially close to some students from Vanderbilt and nearby Stanford. She said they go over to San Francisco on weekends for fun, although the first place she visited was the boardwalk at Santa Cruz. “I rode the little roller coaster,” she said. “It’s a fun place.”
As a strategic communication major, Terri said she has learned a lot about corporate communication at Google. “I’m taking a lot away from this experience. They communicate very well here,” she said. “Everybody works as a team and keeps each other on track. Google makes good products, and that’s part of the reason why.”
Asked about future employment possibilities with Google, Terri said she was interested in working there and was undergoing a process called “conversion.” She said by the time she leaves, she should know whether or not she has a job offer with them. Her internship, which began June 7, runs until August 19.
“It’s been the experience of a lifetime,” she said.