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High School Intern’s Experience at a Women-Led Software Startup

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By Carmen Vargas (Intern, Experience in Software)

I’ve been in Eureka! since the 7th grade, and I was thrilled to finally get an internship this year. Eureka! is a program that takes place during the summer and school year. It helps teenage girls prepare for college and it prepares them to work in a world where math, science, and technology are used.

In my interview with Zakiya, Eureka!’s coordinator, I informed her about the different interests I have, which include fashion designing, drawing, and cosmetology. I had to wait about 3 weeks until Zakiya would announce the internship sites.

In a class full of 15 year old girls, some disappointed and some content with the internships they received, I heard Zakiya call my name: “Carmen!” I responded: “Here!” my heart pounding faster.

To my surprise, I found out my internship would be at Experience in Software Inc. My heart dropped. “Experience Software Inc.?” I asked myself. What does that have to do with ANY of my interests?!

Founded in 1983, Experience in Software is a company that makes business productivity software. The office is very small but very welcoming — almost an at-home feel. It’s located in downtown Berkeley, which is very close to my home in Oakland, and it’s very easy to just use public transportation to get there. I arrived at my internship site at 10am on Monday to meet Sophia, Experience in Software’s Public Relations Coordinator.

Sophia explained to me that Webplanner, the company’s new project management tool, would be released August 2. My job would be to draft business letters and to compile a press list. I tried it out, finding it very interesting so I continued doing this until I was done. I moved on to the business letters.

First try not-so-good, second try better, third time great.

With much more confidence in my work, I continued writing more letters. I also got to use the Google Adwords keyword tool, Salesforce, and Google Analytics. These websites helped me see how people manage their own business. These websites make managing your business a lot easier and it’s very helpful.

Then I met Jovia Nierenberg, CEO of Experience in Software. She’s only 23 and she runs her own company; how amazing is that!

As I continued working, I realized PR was something I would like to learn more about. Sophia showed me many new things about public relations like how to write a press release, how to write business letters and also how to contact different writers that could promote Webplanner.

I’m really glad I got to work in Experience Software Inc. and help Jovia and Sophia with their business. They are very smart women and are working VERY hard to be successful in the technology industry. This internship taught me to have an open mind and learn new things. Also it helped me with my writing and expanded my vocabulary. I’m very glad there are hard working women out there.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

About the guest blogger: Carmen Vargas is a bilingual sophomore at Skyline High School in Oakland, CA, with a strong interest in fashion design. In seventh grade, she began her participation in Eureka!, an intensive five-year program put on by Girls Inc. to empower middle and high school girls in East Bay public schools. Carmen has learned a lot from Eureka! and is excited to someday apply that knowledge in college before she pursues the job of her dreams.