→ Day 5 to 9 of #100inPDX
I started working at Intel this week!
The week started with New Employee Orientation for all interns, new graduates, and new employees — but you could’ve figured that out. We went over the standard introduction points, took badge photos, set up laptops, and did a group activity to build the tallest structure using cups, plates, and popsicle sticks. My team did well working together and engineered an Empire State Building top!
On Tuesday, I went to the office and started contributing from the first meeting. I was shocked, but I suppose this is what it means to work an internship as a grad student. I’m an adult, I have experience, so let’s get things cracking!
TALKING POINT. I am a User Experience Intern on the Mobility Client Platforms group at Intel Corporation. We work on improving mobile platforms with a strong product and marketing focus. Go ahead, tell your friends!
BOSS LADY. (First things first: my boss drives a wonderful retro car. Glad we got that out of the way.) So far in my career, I’m 2-for-2 lucking up with the opportunity to work for sharp, brilliant, bad ass women. My boss at Intel is a passionate Italian woman with a strong desire to see me succeed in this space. We talked about ongoing projects and ways I could contribute, but more than that, she wants me to explore something I’m passionate about. I see it as an opportunity to work with new technologies (e.g., wearables, mobile form-factors) or populations (e.g., women, minorities) that I’m passionate about. It’s refreshing to be so supported from the beginning.
FOCUS GROUP. Short story: I geeked out at a focus group session!!
Long story: One of the current projects involves user research to understand how consumers feel about their mobile technologies. The Scheduling Gods have been good to me, as I started my internship just in time to observe the first focus group session! The session was conducted in a professional user testing facility, so there was an observation space in the back of the main room, separated by a soundproof 2-way mirror. Outside of feeling super official and secretive, it provided the opportunity to take accurate observational notes without disrupting the process with my presence. The facility aside, it was rewarding to watch my boss conduct the focus group. She controlled the room, listened to all participants (even the quiet ones), dug deeper on interesting comments, and miraculously stayed on schedule.
Though, I was most impressed by her ability to get the participants contributing in meaningful ways. The focus group included a fair amount of brainstorming about alternative uses (e.g., how would you use this at home versus at work) and I was concerned about the participants aligning with one example and not venturing past that to introduce new concepts. But I suppose when you have a good facilitator, the ideas are clearly explained so participants grasp the concepts and then contributed their ideas to the brainstorm. They came up with very creative solutions that I hadn’t considered – what more can a UXer ask for?!
CORPORATE FIRST IMPRESSIONS. My first impressions of corporate life are surprisingly positive. Intel is ginormous, so there’s no way to get to know all of the people at work. You know what that means: STRATEGY! I’m still working on the details, but I plan to spend as much time in the office (for face-time) and scheduling strategic 1-on-1s with people throughout my team and the company. My goal is to build a substantial professional network at Intel because…why on earth not?!
Intel-life is also helping my healthy-eating life! Every day, Intel stocks the cafeterias with free fresh fruit and fruit-infused water. I could get used to sipping raspberry-pineapple water while snacking on apricots and finalizing user testing surveys. Just saying.