Friday, September 12, 2014

My Summer Internship

Here's Bianca Pham's summer internship experience in a small startup tech company:

My summer internship in the creative industry

            As a Networked & Social Systems engineering student, I had the option of going into software, consulting, product management, etc. just like the other kids in my major. However, I wanted to build up skills that would allow me to be more creative and allow more room for design thinking. Thus, I interviewed for a small creative digital agency in New York called Ivory Digital.
Ivory Digital

            Ivory Digital is made up of a small team of entrepreneurs who build products they love for small brands that matter. As a production assistant, I helped the production team on every facet of a digital project: from business and web development to the creation of a business class website; from collecting project requirements to creating design presentations; from browser-troubleshooting to producing HTML markup; I experienced the full cycle of crafting websites for a wide array of client sites Ivory Digital currently maintains. In short summary, many of my projects consisted of giving a “fashion makeover” for a company’s website. Although I had mostly only technical skills, my boss was willing to take the time to teach me design skills such as Photoshop and InDesign because I was in a small startup company.  

            Typically when I start my project, I would first meet with the clients to understand their brand goals and objectives for their new website. I would then strategize content, website features, and plan the architecture of the new website. Once that was approved, I got to the fun part which was putting together mood boards and concept designs for the new website based on inspiring themes. After my clients approve all of the steps above, we would code up our newly designed website and Voila!

Bianca and her coworkers
            At this internship, I found out both that I have a creative side as well as the value of being a Penn Engineering student. I had the skills to talk to clients, understand the coding behind the website and figure out what the developers wanted out of the final product. With these various skills, I was able to act as a middle-man between the various departments and translate the needs of each department to one another. It was difficult to find a balance between all of the departments, but I had the power to pick and choose what elements made sense to put together to build our final product. Thus, I really encourage students develop new skills that you have always wanted to develop and try working in a startup environment, because there, you can learn a lot about yourself and learn from the people around you.

Questions for Bianca? You can contact her at

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What I did on my summer vacation

As a dual-degree student (M&T), I knew that I wanted to stay at Penn this summer and take classes to lighten my course load during the regular school semester.  However, I also wanted to supplement my summer coursework by doing research or interning somewhere near Philadelphia.  Through an introduction from my MBA mentor at Wharton, I was hired as a Business Development Intern with a fashion start-up called Pragma Retail.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A recent graduate shares her summer adventure

I just got back this weekend from two weeks of training in Chicago for my new job. I’m still living near campus because I’ll be working in Philly, and I have to say it’s a bit strange to be here and know I won’t be going back to class next month.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

One student's summer adventures

My first Saturday here in Raleigh, North Carolina, I slept until 5 PM. No, I didn’t have mono; I was just severely jetlagged. Two days earlier, I had flown back to the United States from Guatemala. From the Philadelphia airport, I went straight to my hometown of Baltimore to pack for the rest of the summer. I proceeded to get two hours of sleep before waking up at 4 AM for my flight to Raleigh. Although those few days were crazy, my tendency to overextend myself has definitely paid off. This summer has been rewarding, exciting, and enlightening, and has helped to shape me as a person just like the past two semesters I spent at Penn.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thinking about Pre-Orientation? Here's two students' reasons why you should come!

The best decision we made after committing to Penn was signing up for the AWE Pre-Orientation program. We know that sounds a little over the top, but it’s a completely legit statement. Coming into Penn Engineering, we didn’t know anybody and didn’t know what to expect, but the AWE Pre-Orientation program quickly alleviated all of our fears of not making friends or knowing what to do.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why I chose Penn

Congrats to everyone who was accepted this year to Penn Engineering!  When I think back to last year, I remember the excitement of being in your shoes and making my decision on which school to attend.  Though I thought my choice would be difficult to make, when I visited Penn, I knew that this school was the right fit for me and my interests.  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

One student's senior design experience

As of one hour ago, I finished giving my final presentation to the judges during Demo Day. For those of you who don’t know what that is, here’s a quick rundown: seniors at Penn have a final graduation requirement know as senior design. It varies a bit from department to department but basically it’s a final project to showcase what you learned in your four years here at Penn. In my department (ESE) we have a year to do any project we want. So we start by defining a project and finding advisors and then the rest of the year is actually spent completing it. Towards the end of the year we get the chance to show our work to people in what is called Demo Day. We set up our poster and product in a lab, and people have the chance to come in and talk to us or ask questions. We also have to present to a panel of judges. So, over the course of two hours we gave our presentation four or five times to a total of nine judges.