A nontraditional look at internships

Hi, I’m Steve and I’m a senior at The University of Tulsa majoring in Computer Information Systems (CIS) with minors in Business Analytics and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. I have the pleasure of joining Williams this summer for an internship in IT Operations, Asset Integrity and Reliability Group.

When employers or recruiters see me with a group of twenty-something college students, they usually ask what subject I’m a professor of, or if I’m the Dean of Career Services. “Me? Nah…I’m a student, just like the rest of this crowd.”

Yes, I’m older than the traditional college student of 18-22 years. In fact, both of my daughters are older than that. I got started in life after high school by enlisting in the U.S. Navy. Originally, I planned to serve in the Reserves and then go to college on the Navy’s dime. But I liked the military so much that I spent the next 24+ years following that path. When I retired, I decided that since my children had been through college, it might as well be my turn. I will be starting my senior year as a nontraditional student this August. Is there such a thing as a “nontraditional intern”? Maybe I’ve coined a phrase.

Although I might seem nontraditional, I’m in the same boat as the rest of the Williams Intern Class of 2017. I’m working toward a degree and would like to gain experience in the industry. Williams has a robust Information Technology infrastructure, which is perfect for any CIS/MIS major like myself who is still trying to figure out what he wants to do when he grows up. I’m a people person and need to be involved in the business as a whole, instead of sitting in a basement somewhere, writing code all day.

I’m excited to get to work every morning here at Williams. My first day, my mentor started assigning projects. Since I have not had experience in some of the areas the projects dealt with, it seemed a little intimidating at first. However, once I got my sleeves rolled up and waded in, I found the tasks both educational and enjoyable.

I see myself as a lifelong learner. If I haven’t learned something new every day, it almost feels like a wasted day. My team is happy to keep exposing me to new software, new applications and programs and the way that Williams does business. I consider each experience as learning something new, figuring things out and then passing that knowledge on to my team. And that, folks, is something I really enjoy doing.

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