Software Intern Spotlight: Emma Plum, San Diego Mesa College

The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program, launched in Spring 2020aims to provide up to 100 fully subsidized internships at San Diego-based companies. This program supports 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 vital issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth.

This article highlights the experience of San Diego Mesa College student Emma Plum who applied her skills and education at Traits AI, a San Diego-based software company that creates animated artificial intelligence (AI) avatars.

How did your San Diego Mesa College courses or instructors prepare you to succeed in your internship? 

My studies at Mesa enhanced my time management, organization, and teamwork skills. These skills are ones you learn over multiple semesters of work. I took on a full load of classes, so I had to quickly learn how to balance my schoolwork and my work with my classmates.

How did your work environment compare to what you were used to at school?

I find the school and work environments somewhat similar. My classes taught me to work hard and learn quickly – something that I have found is invaluable in the real-world work environment. My work environment was slightly different than normal since it was my first remote internship. Getting used to the quick transfer to online school helped in adjusting to online work.

What are your current career goals, and how did your experience at San Diego Mesa College help you prepare to meet them?

Mesa has been a vital stepping stone to reach my goal of working in the film industry. My scholarship allowed me to take my general education classes and film prerequisites, and the internship opportunity has opened many doors to my future.

What was your favorite thing about your San Diego Mesa College experience?

There’s much more freedom in what classes you can take and what paths you can go down rather than a chosen set of courses with the same people. It’s a much more interesting community to be a part of, and people from all walks of life are there to learn.

What advice did you learn during college and your internship?

Keep knocking at doors even if you think they’re closed. You never know where you’ll get your foot in the door, so keep chasing after jobs, internships, connections, and keep your options open. One of the reasons I was able to secure remote internships during COVID lockdowns through networking, actively applying, and jumping at opportunities.

For more information about Emma’s internship experience, visit the San Diego Regional EDC blog.