My internship at the Department of Defense

Name: Roberto Andiarena Vazquez

Hometown: Miami, Florida, but I am originally from Holguin, Cuba.

Where did you intern? What did you do there? I interned for the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was a program manager for software and cybersecurity projects.

How did you get your internship? I obtained my internship through the BEYA STEM Conference, which took place in Washington, D.C. Every year, BEYA sponsors students to go there, and they cover the hotel and conference ticket costs. (Students pay for their flight tickets). I met with a recruiter from the DoD at the conference, and we spoke about my resume. An interview was scheduled for me to meet with a hiring manager from DoD the next day. I completed the interview, which was based on behavioral questions, and I was offered the internship.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? The main advice that I would give to other students just starting out the internship process is to first gather a lot of practice interviewing. Having a successful interview is your pathway to an internship. There are so many resources on campus to practice your interviewing skills and to increase your comfort level and gain confidence. Attend as many interview workshops and remember to always answer questions in the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method, and you will land an internship with no problem!

What projects did you work on? During my internship, I worked on three projects. The first project I was tasked with was to create a project development (timeline, milestones, budget, work breakdown) plan for the development and distribution of software updates for all of the Navy’s ships. The second task was to re-certify a 16-year-old submarine navigation station, where I had to leverage my communication skills and gather information from past experts in this area, to come up with a test/project development plan. With this plan that I created, future interns will be able to go through all the steps required to certify the machine. The third project consisted of finding a feature that would enhance the functionality of use within navigation stations onboard ships. I was able to do research, contact companies and develop a manufacturing and distribution plan so that they could implement a touchscreen feature and support it should there be any issues. I was successful in leading the efforts to implement the feature and it was integrated into the project.

To read the full story, visit FIU News.

Posted by Diana Hernandez-Alende