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#NetAppInternLife: How Will An Internship At NetApp Help You Grow Professionally and Build Life Long Connections?

Emily Kowalski

Being an intern at NetApp is a one-of-a-kind experience. Not only because of the people, but the events! There are so many Intern events here that you can’t possibly have a boring day.

For starters, there was Intern Orientation where we all first met each other and played some icebreakers. It was awesome meeting people from all over the world with common interests. Knowing that you all have the same sort of drive and passion makes it even better. Justin Tomlin, Intern and University Graduate Hire (UGH) program manager, took time to set up events for us and made sure we would have a fun and productive summer.

While talking with Mitch Leblanc, Marketing and Sales Intern from the Boulder office, I was happy to hear that each NetApp location has different intern events. For example, Leblanc really enjoyed the Go-Games. The Go-Games are a day full of fun bonding games that got interns moving and laughing while competing! Interns really enjoy getting to know each other in interactive ways.

“The Go-Games were a fun and important event since it gave us interns a chance to casually interact with NetApp UGHs and our managers. I really liked the teamwork aspect and that I got to work with people I normally wouldn’t be able to,” Mitch says.

Here at the Sunnyvale office, highlighted events included the Feet-First Field day, WIT dinner, and Intern Fit. These events really stood out because they were made specifically for interns to connect and network with other interns, and to connect with others within NetApp itself. Feet-First Field day was a smaller version of the Go-Games that included an afternoon full of competitive games like giant Jenga and rubber chicken archery. The Women in Tech dinner was an amazing night in Santana Row with the women interns and WIT Team. It was such a great night that provided us interns with a way to get to know other women in the company. Intern Fit was another intern event that we had at the Sunnyvale location. It took place after work and gave interns a chance to exercise while having fun and competing in teams.

Aarush Gopalakrishnan, Digital Experience Intern at the Sunnyvale location, says that the intern events enhance the work experience.

“At the end of the day, it would be absolutely horrible if you didn't like the people you work with. By doing these team building events, everyone gets to know each other in a casual and friendly environment. which creates a better work environment overall. I think it can also lead to better and more efficient productivity since you foster a positive mindset.”

I agree with Aarush that getting to know people in fun ways can lead to closer bonds and overall a better time at work. No one wants to dread where they work or who they work with, and I feel that this internship did a great job making sure we enjoyed every second!

Another great event that we got to participate in was Executive Chef Day. As part of NetApp’s annual Employee Appreciation Week, some of the interns got to volunteer and serve food with executives in the Café. The money raised by the meals sold in Sunnyvale profited Second Harvest Food Bank. This was a great opportunity for interns to network with executives as well as other employees. Stephanie Sun, Human Resource Communication Intern in Sunnyvale, said that she “really liked the Executive Chef Day because it was a great opportunity to meet some of the NetApp Executives in a more casual and less intense setting. The event was also just a great way to raise money for the Food Bank while also having some friendly competition.” We were each able to decorate our chef hats so we would stand out among the crowd in the café. There was also some friendly competition to see which food station could sell the most dishes. The Chinese station won by one plate!

Intern events are important because they ensure interns incorporate fun in the workday. According to Carl Agers III, Cloud Data Services Intern in Sunnyvale, “Intern events are crucial for developing a team of young people who will either come back to a place they feel seen or go out with a positive attitude for NetApp’s name.”

Through these special events, we grow closer to each other and our love for the company grows. I know that other interns feel the same because after talking with many of them, they all say the same thing. As Jon Sosidka, Video Marketing Intern in Sunnyvale, puts it, “Being able to be social and have face-to-face interactions with other interns means making connections towards the future.”

In some locations, interns ended up planning their own events. I know that at the Sunnyvale location, where I am located, we had a whole weekend trip that we coordinated! It was great to hang out with the interns outside of work and get to know them personally and make friendships that could last a lifetime.

At the Vienna, VA office, the interns set up an Office Olympics. Amy Gottschling, USPS Civilian Sales Intern in Vienna, told me that “all the interns got to compete in several events for prizes. It was so fun to get out of our daily routine to play games and get to know each other even better. Even VP Rob Stein stopped by to support us and join in on the action.”

It is truly amazing to see that all the NetApp Interns are having great experiences at their offices. Having supportive and friendly colleagues can make all the difference in a job and make working fun. Even Nick Pisano, Sales Intern in NYC, says “The intern relations out of the office in New York are great. Many of us text and chat outside the office, grab lunch together on the rooftop, and even get drinks Friday at happy hour. We look forward to the times we can interact with one another and will hopefully continue these relationships after our internships conclude.”

NetApp is a great environment to grow professionally and prosper in a team setting. The events that were thrown for the interns made us enjoy coming to work and helped us network with each other. We are so thankful for Justin Tomlin and all who help to put on these events throughout our time here. They all contribute to our growing love for the company and respect for our colleagues.

Emily Kowalski

Emily Kowalski is currently a Product Marketing Intern at NetApp who returns to Sonoma State University. Emily is majoring in Communications and Media Studies and graduating with the Fall class of 2019. Her interests include photography, dining out, spending quality time with family and friends and her dog, Bootsy.

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