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Student Spotlight: Katherine Sullivan

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As the global pandemic continues, our ACES students similarly continue to adjust. Many students have found their internships and research moved to an online environment.

Katie Sullivan, a third year computer science student focusing on cybersecurity, had to make major adjustments to her summer plans: instead of spending the summer months working and living in Seattle, she’s been completing her tasks as a Software Engineering Intern for Microsoft from the comfort of her home, taking up her tasks in an online environment. 

“ I decided to pursue this opportunity because I was interested in a software engineering internship and it is a reputable company,” said Sullivan. “I was also looking forward to spending time in Seattle, although due to COVID the internship was made virtual.”

As such, Sullivan has had to overcome a number of challenges regarding her internship: most prominently, though she is working on the east coast, Microsoft’s office runs on Pacific Time.

“They are accommodating of my schedule but this means less time where both myself and my coworkers are online,” said Sullivan. “The flexibility in working from home has been nice although I do wish I could interact with my team members in person.”

Nevertheless, Sullivan keeps busy with a number of responsibilities as an intern, meshing into the team and working on a four-phase project.

“The project is essentially about improving the way that my team's system communicates with other teams, making the process more efficient and less resource-expensive,” Sullivan stated. “This summer, I have worked with technologies such as Azure Kubernetes Service, Helm, and C#.”

Approaching her responsibilities as an intern for Microsoft, Sullivan found herself falling back on skills she learned through ACES courses.

“My internship project has actually had a lot to do with setting up containers, which we worked with in HACS 101 and HACS 200,” said Sullivan. “Also, having experience working on a project with other people in HACS 200 has been relevant, as well as giving a project presentation in front of many people.” 

Despite the time difference, Sullivan has been able to find a rhythm with the company, having frequent meetings with her coworkers and finding an at-home working style that works for her.

“At the beginning of the internship I found it a bit difficult to stay focused as working from home, there are distractions. As the summer went on I was able to fall into my routine and become more focused on my work,” she noted.

Staying at home hasn’t just meant focusing on work for Sullivan, however. She has had time to pursue hobbies both old and new: “I play piano and sing in my free time. During quarantine I have also picked up a new hobby called magnet fishing where you try to pull up magnetic items from underwater.”

Published August 11, 2020