The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program launched this Spring in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully subsidized interns. This program targets companies with 100 employees or less, which comprise 98 percent of all businesses in San Diego, employ nearly two thirds of San Diegans, and account for 70 percent of job growth. A key issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth.
As students close out their Summer internship experiences, EDC has rolled out this blog series to highlight the innovative local companies that make up the first cohort of the program, and the interns they hosted.
In this feature, we sat down with Anna Kelley, ASD intern at Tourmaline Wireless. A part of the inaugural cohort of host companies, Tourmaline Wireless is building the future of decentralized wireless telecommunications. The Oceanside-based company provides resilient, off-grid solutions based on mesh networks, 4G LTE, and Iridium satellite.
Tell us about yourself.
Hi my name is Anna, and I was a second-year student at San Diego Mesa College when I came across the ASD internship opportunity. I recently transferred to New York University to pursue a Computer and Electrical Engineering degree.
How has your experience in the ASD Internship Program been, and what projects/assignments have been the most meaningful?
The hands-on experience that I obtained while interning at Tourmaline Wireless exceeded all of my expectations. During this internship, I had an opportunity to get hands-on experience with different programming languages and to work on debugging and troubleshooting software defects. Since it was my first internship in the engineering field, I was worried that I was lacking in technical skills. However, my internship supervisor Paul Victorine was so supportive and he made it so easy for me to participate in all the activities during this internship. It was such an amazing learning experience for me and I will continue educating myself in these areas to grow my confidence.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your day-to-day, and what challenges have you faced as a student?
The most challenging part about being a student during COVID-19 was a transition to online learning because not every class can be fully online. For example, my chemistry lab was replaced with five minutes of YouTube videos and it was not the same experience anymore.
What advice would you give to high school students looking for a successful career in the local software industry?
I would recommend participating in different clubs, programs, and getting an internship as soon as possible. This year I participated in several programs with NASA (L’Space Academy and NCAS, all remote) and it was not only fun, but also a great experience that I can put on my resume.