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Computer Science Students Gain Real-World Experience

January 10, 2018

University students often view time away from class as a chance to focus solely on rest and relaxation. However, for a few of Oklahoma Baptist University’s computer science majors, this time was used to gain essential skills and experiences through various internship opportunities.

After learning from OBU professors about a nearby career fair, Beau Palmer traveled to Oklahoma City where he encountered representatives from Sonic Drive-In. Palmer went through several interviews before being selected for a summer internship at Sonic’s corporate headquarters in downtown Oklahoma City.

Throughout his internship, Palmer worked with information technology to develop scenarios that users may experience during transactions with the company. His internship allowed him to gain valuable insight on corporate culture and how to be an effective employee.

“From my internship, I learned how to be part of a team, to solve problems and to ask questions,” Palmer said. “OBU helped by preparing me for what to expect in a company and by exposing me to career fairs in the OKC area.”

Edward Sanders began an internship with VTR Solutions, an electronic-learning software company, in January 2017. Though he had very little programming experience at the time, Sanders was aided by his coworkers and the lessons he learned on Bison Hill.

“Internships are invaluable because they give you real-world industry experience that classes cannot replicate,” he said. “By the time I graduate from OBU, my years of experience with real-world software development will be extremely significant to potential employers.”

For Annette Orrick, summer break was not only a time to gain experience, but also a time to give back to both Oklahoma Baptist University and the Shawnee community. Orrick served the community through an internship with the Shawnee Economic Development Foundation. During her time there, she was able to communicate with various businesses and engage in community events. Orrick also spent her time researching and compiling a list of potential properties in Shawnee available for manufacturing or retail space, which provided an essential service for the development of the community.

In addition to her internship, Orrick served OBU as a student web assistant, a role she has filled for the past two years. Orrick played an integral role in the upkeep of OBU’s website, and gained experience with content management systems and website development.

“Through learning HTML and CSS coding at OBU, I am able to understand the backend of the content management system platform used to run the website,” she said. “Overall, my work with OBU has furthered my experience with websites and the use of content management systems.”

Though most students apply for internships close to home, Kevin Adamson journeyed a bit farther. After attending several career fairs and searching online, Adamson was connected with representatives of the Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Center of Excellence in Palmdale, California. Adamson was selected for the internship and made his way to California, where he was tasked with designing and building a control room for ongoing and proposed projects.

“Although my position was not directly related to computer science, I was able to learn more about the corporate environment, how to manage my time more effectively and how to complete tasks on a schedule,” he said. “Overall, my internship was very beneficial and allowed me to grow.”

For Palmer, Sanders, Orrick and Adamson, the skills and lessons learned on Bison Hill helped push them toward new opportunities and prepared them for their future careers. These exceptional computer science students are perfect examples of how an OBU education accompanied by real-world experience is a recipe for success.