Alumni Features: Landon

As a technical intern working at the Almaden Research Center, this Virginia Tech grad climbed new heights she never imagined. We asked Landon to share some thoughts about her Extreme Blue™ experience.

Landon, tell us about the responsibilities you had on you EB project.

I worked on the ThinkPad Linux Configurator project. I was responsible for coding up parts of our application and doing preparation for the Expo at Armonk. During the first five weeks, my activities involved working on the deliverables and helping to develop the architecture and design for our program. Our final goal was to deliver a polished application at the Expo and be able to see our project make an impact on the IBM community-with an eventual impact on the larger outside community.

So what made you decide to apply for the Extreme Blue internship?

I wanted something a little bit different than what I had experienced in previous summers. I actually hadn't heard of the Extreme Blue program until I was informed about it after a general IBM interview. The more I learned about the program, the more I wanted to be a part of it. I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to participate in the complete life cycle of a project starting from conception, and to enhance my professional development and networking. Another part of the program that I was excited about was the exposure to people in IBM. Part of the Extreme Blue internship provided exposure to some of the best minds within IBM. Previously, I had worked on a small part of a much larger program, and I was excited about the prospect of working on the complete product. I knew it would be difficult to develop the complete product in 11 weeks, but I was up for the challenge. I wanted to try something new.

Was it valuable to have the chance to work with a business intern on your EB project?

The MBA in my group had a great impact on me. The Extreme Blue experience is so much more than just coding-as I've found out, and I believe he was a very valuable asset to the team. He had great ideas about our project and presentation, and he really made us think about our ideas in new and different ways.

Overall, is there anything you'd like to change about the internship?

In my mind, this summer was the best I've had so far. There's nothing that I would change. Everyone in Extreme Blue, both interns and staff, are immensely smart and dedicated to their work. It was a joy to be surrounded by this environment and these people. Extreme Blue promises to pick the brightest minds to work on their projects, and I think they did an excellent job.

Do you think your background adequately prepared you for this summer?

I've been involved in computer science for 10 years now. My previous internships involved being handed a concept of a program to write, then being told to go write it. Each summer I learned new programming languages and increased the breadth of my experiences within the field of computer science. I've also designed a research project in the field of human computer interaction and was able to get the results published. Between these different experiences, I felt that I was technically prepared for Extreme Blue.
My technical experience, however, wasn't the only thing to help prepare me. I spent five months living in and traveling around Australia. This was tremendously valuable because it allowed me to see myself in a different light and find out exactly how much I was capable of. I learned how to live on my own and deal with new circumstances thrown my way. Furthermore, I experienced what it was like outside of a college environment.