Esri UC 2014 and the Beautiful City of San Diego

By Guest Blogger Swatantra, 2014 UC Student Assistant

The Esri User Conference is a Place for Unity, Enthusiasm, Entertainment, Awesomeness, Friendships, Interactions, Relationships, Learning, and Understanding.

Swatantra poses with Esri President Jack Dangermond

My first visit to San Diego, California was outstanding and I think I made the most out of it. It was my first participation in the Esri User Conference and I feel honored to have had the opportunity. Acquiring a student assistantship position is very competitive and I feel lucky to have been one of 60 student assistants in 2014. The week was all about geography, geographic information systems (GIS), and understanding our world. A conference assistantship is an exclusive opportunity for students who have an interest in GIS. We were a union of students from across the globe. A team of friendly and generous Esri staff members guided us for the whole week. All the assistants were assigned a set of tasks to help Esri staff during conference events. Our overall job was to make sure that the conference logistics ran smoothly. We worked all weekend and half days during the week. This schedule allowed me to participate in technical workshops and interact with attendees during our leisure time.

The fun part began after work hours. I, along with my fellow students, explored the city as much as possible and tasted the local food and drink available in San Diego. The beauty of the city at night was amazing and I took every opportunity to photograph the great views. The beautiful night (city lights, full moon, sparkling fireworks, reflection of the moonlight on the sea surface, and the Coronado Bridge) mesmerized me. I believe everyone should experience this unique sight at some time in their life. I was also attracted to the decorated three-wheeled bikes that played loud music, which were used to transport people short distances. I observed these bikes in some parts of India when I was in high school and the concept was applied here as well.

It was a pleasing experience when the cool breeze blew in the presence of the sunlight while I was watching the ocean from corridors of the San Diego Convention Center. I also had a nice time hitting the beach of Coronado one evening with my friends; however, the water was cold. The museums at Balboa Park were also major attractions. Though I didn’t get the opportunity to visit all the museums in my short time, the two I liked most were the Model Railroad and Natural History museums. The most interesting things to look at were the wreckage and artifacts of the slave ship Whydah.

Most importantly, what I gained from this conference, in exchange for my services, were the experiences, knowledge, and professional relationships. I also had an opportunity to present my research at the conference and I had a great time answering questions about it. The conference experience will definitely help to brighten my future. Overall, my experiences at the Esri UC were memorable and I enjoyed each and every moment.

I strongly encourage potential undergraduate and graduate students to apply for this program. It’s a great opportunity to serve at the conference and collaborate with people. It may also open doors for opportunities in the future. I hope that this post will serve as encouragement and motivation for potential candidates.

Swatantra Kethireddy  |  Environmental Science PhD  |  Jackson State University

Look out for the 2015 Esri User Conference Student Assistantship application next month!

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A Creative Island Within Esri

By Guest Blogger Melanie, Story Maps Team Intern

Open Spaces, Open Collaboration

When I first stepped into the Washington, DC R&D Center, I was struck by the space. Wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows opened up a magnificent panoramic view of the capital with a spotlight on the Washington Monument. I spent many moments throughout my summer observing the city’s pulse. “It’s so alive,” I thought as I watched cars crossing the Potomac River via 6 separate bridges, planes passing above on their way to/from Reagan International Airport, cyclists and people moving along the ground in a bustle, and of course the daily flock of kayakers, boaters, and paddle-boarders that floated around Theodore Roosevelt Island. This was a creative space.

I settled into my office in June. In the Story Maps team it was hard to tell who was “boss” and who was “intern.” I learned very quickly that there was no sense of “hierarchy” or “bureaucracy” here. We all worked together in a laissez-faire style. It felt strange at first, but I adapted easily and quickly learned that everyone was there to help me.

My experiences were clearly unique to those of the other Esri interns. Within my first week the office staff doubled, there was no receptionist, and I was surrounded by developers (many of them working on ArcGIS Open Data. Both story maps and open data projects tended to manage and organize themselves; they were very agile. I was the lone story maps intern, but I found company with two other interns who sat in the same open space, working for open data.

Although we were 3000 miles from headquarters, I oddly felt more connected to the GIS industry. Through my internship I was exposed to some very important people from Esri, National Geographic, the Smithsonian, and many more. There were endless opportunities for me–I just had to take initiative.

UC from DC

Actual work started slowly, little tasks here and there. But then an opportunity was presented to me. I was responsible for my first big project: creating a story map journal demo for the Esri User Conference. I had less than a month to prepare a product that would be featured for 60 seconds at the Plenary in front of 16,000 attendees. It may have seemed like a small task within the bigger picture, but as an intern I felt a lot of pressure.

Leading up to the UC was a very hectic time for the entire office. There was a lot to prepare for and big product release deadlines to meet. But every single person had time to help me. I was constantly supported with positivity and detailed, constructive feedback. These were the kinds of peers I wanted, the types of people I didn’t want to disappoint.

My project evolved drastically over the course of the following weeks and I learned that Esri is constantly finding room for improvement. This is a dynamic company that was engineering before my eyes.

Although I was unable to attend the UC, I was able to engage remotely. Watching my demo, presented so gracefully by Bern Szukalski, and the other 354 minutes of the Plenary opened my eyes to the importance of story maps. I was excited to be a part of a team that is causing a positive impact. It definitely made my hour-long commute easier.

Post-UC the team returned to DC and work never slowed. I continued to lend a hand on many projects and even piloted my own story map. I am grateful to have had this unique experience as an intern in a regional office and I would recommend this to prospective students.

A Future for All Interns

During my time at Esri I matured and actively learned new things. I realize that this is a company where I can continue to grow. Esri hires many of their interns and there are other unique post-internship opportunities available to some. I will be an Esri Campus Ambassador at the University of Maryland while I finish school. Additionally, the Education department is going to support my volunteer efforts to bring geotechnologies to my hometown. I have found support through Esri and I am excited to see my relationship with this company grow in the future.

Want to see more of what goes on during the summer at Esri? Check out our Student Connection Facebook page.

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Tech-Geek Turned #Geogeek

Esri’s Technical Support team is vital to the company’s success. They work with users daily on solving small problems and finding solutions. Scott Harris is a member of the team and says he’s finally found a job he loves.

Tell me about yourself. What is your background?

I took my first GIS class when I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree at Keystone College in Pennsylvania. I did a few projects while I was there, one of which was making some campus maps using ArcView 3.2 (which seems primitive today). I ended up getting my degree in Environmental Resource Management and then spent a bit of time out of the GIS field doing environmental testing. After that I became a GIS tech for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where again I was using Esri software. Later I went back for my master’s degree in geoenvironmental studies and then I ended up at Esri.

What do you do at Esri?

I’m a Support Analyst on the Desktop Team. It makes really great sense for me because I’ve always been sort of a tech geek. I love computers and even build my own and did so during college as well. I also felt that having a background in GIS and technology/software would help me in a technical support role. When users call in, generally the first thing we have to do is assess their knowledge of the software and of GIS in general. Then we will walk them through the issue, maybe share screens, and see if there’s a bug of some sort or it’s a user issue.

Why Esri? How did you find out about the company and what sparked your interest?

I had an internship with the US Forest Service during my undergraduate years and we were using Esri software, so that was my first real, in-depth introduction to Esri. When I worked for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy, I attended the Esri User Conference. So it wasn’t just a job I found; I had experience with the products and I knew a lot about what they were doing at the time, so I was interested in building a career here.

What do you like best about your job? What’s the coolest thing about working for Esri?

For me, I think the best part is the good feeling you get when you solve a user issue. There’s a little rush when you figure something out before you move onto the next task. That happens a couple times a day. Plus, all of my co-workers are all really knowledgeable and helpful and I’ve learned a lot from them. My mentor, in particular, has taught me quite a bit.

You moved here from Seattle to work for Esri. What does Redlands have that Seattle doesn’t?

When I got my interview with Esri and we took the trip into Redlands, we decided it was a great place for both of us, and we’re hoping to start a family here when that time comes. I also like that you easily have access to the mountains and the beach and if you need to go to the city, LA is a short distance away.

Do you have any advice for students looking for a job they will love?

It’s important to get as many experiences as you can, either through an internship or a campus job. You never know where you might make a connection and ultimately get a job, so try not to burn any bridges! You’ll always need your references too. Also, by any means, don’t give up! It took me a long time to settle down and find a job I love. You might be frustrated for the first couple of years, but you also might find something you love right away.

Thank you for the great advice, Scott!

Think a role in Esri Support Services might be the place for you? Check out current job opportunities at

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‘Round the Table with Esri Recruiters

Recently the interns sat in on two presentations and interactive sessions with some of Esri’s HR partners (recruiters). Although interns have a good understanding of Esri’s departmental structure, these recruiter roundtable events helped give us a better idea of the opportunities we may have to work for Esri full time. This is especially helpful since the summer is winding down quickly!

The partners began by presenting an overview of the Esri departments they recruit for. We had representatives from Marketing/Graphics, Sales, Educational Services, Accounting, Contracts, Software Development and Products, Professional Services, Product Management, Technical Support, and IST. Each one talked about the different opportunities available and typical career paths, and then gave advice based on their knowledge and experience. Their advice was helpful to those interns looking to work in a different department than the one they were in this summer. Many employees have started in one position, learned a lot about something new, and moved into a completely different role.

After their presentations, each partner fielded questions about their areas of expertise. Either in small groups or one-on-one, interns had the chance to ask for more detail about certain positions or departments. This also gave the interns a chance to talk with several partners to keep their options open. Whether interns are applying now for a full time position or they will be applying in a year after they graduate, this was a great opportunity to learn about Esri careers.

Thank you to the Esri Human Resources Department for putting this together. We appreciated your time and very much look forward to what our futures hold!

Just graduated and interested in working for Esri? Visit our website to learn more about entry-level positions.

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The Esri `Ohana

By Guest Blogger Jennifer, Community Maps Program Intern

This September, I will be a senior at Santa Clara University, completing my B.S. in Environmental Studies and minor in Political Science. After taking some GIS courses and working as a GIS research and teaching assistant, I decided to apply for a summer internship at Esri. In making this decision, I hoped to learn more about the company that has been an influential player in developing products that have helped address and solve many environmental problems around the world.

This summer, I am working in the Product Management Department with the Community Maps team. In a nutshell, the Community Maps Program allows GIS users with authoritative data to share their content with the GIS community for free. By contributing to the Community Maps Program, participants are able to increase their productivity by having greater accessibility to their data and being able to create maps with the best, authoritative data they can find. Currently, I am researching, downloading, and cataloging free, open data that are being provided through the Internet by non-participating, authoritative GIS sources, such as city governments. Initially, I began searching for these data for cities in the United States, but now I have expanded my search to cities in Central America, South America, and Europe. I have also been learning about different types of copyrights and licenses, such as Creative Commons, to determine whether the open data are free to use in the Community Maps Program. Recently, I have used some of the new Community Maps tools to prepare the data for Esri’s topographic basemap. By sharing my experience, the Community Maps Team can demonstrate to non-participants how easy it is to find and contribute data to the program.

I am in the eighth week of my internship, and I cannot believe how quickly two months have passed. Esri employees and summer interns are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Whether you are a full-time employee or summer intern, you are welcomed as a valuable member of the Esri family, similar to the close-knit “`ohanas” back in my hometown of Honolulu. From having great mentors, to meeting fellow Hawaiians, to socializing during intern mixers, to exploring southern California, and to attending the Esri User Conference in San Diego, I believe I have made many valuable friendships and professional connections I will maintain even after the summer is over.

The first important thing I have learned this summer is how to respond to people who ask me what GIS is and what people do with it. Ever since my first GIS class, I had not found the perfect way to communicate the endless capabilities of GIS. However, after listening to Esri’s president, Jack Dangermond, at the user conference, I believe I have finally found the perfect answer to those questions:

“The application of GIS is limited only by the imagination of those who use it.”

The second important thing I have learned this summer is how the success of a company stems from employees who genuinely love their jobs and want to make a difference in the world. Without these employees, Esri would neither have created the great products that have helped so many people, nor acquired the international success it has today.

The great thing about interning at Esri is that it is not a stereotypical internship, where interns have to go on daily coffee-runs for other employees. This internship has been a fun learning experience where I actually do meaningful work that people can see. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to work at Esri and am grateful knowing that it has helped me immensely in the advancement of my education and professional career.

Are you looking for an internship where you can do real, meaningful work? Visit our website in the fall to see our summer 2015 opportunities.

Posted in Students and Recent Grads | 1 Comment

GIS Past, Present, and Future

I got the chance to sit down with Nate Ebel, who has only been back at Esri for a few weeks. Nate was an intern last year and now works full-time as a software engineer, but his start in GIS was . . . unexpected (and very cool!).

You were on the plenary stage at the Esri User Conference in 2002. Can you talk more about that?

Nate (next to Jack Dangermond) at the 2002 Esri UC

When I was in seventh grade, I was part of a small class that was devoted to problem solving and data analysis with a large component of GIS. At the time, I had never heard of GIS, but after using the software to create maps and analyze data, we entered maps into the Esri Community Atlas. Everyone in the class contributed a couple of maps, and our project ended up being a sort of “model project” that year. Esri flew me, another classmate, and my teacher to San Diego and we presented a few of our maps on the UC stage. One of the other projects that came out of this class ended up continuing through high school, and we presented it in various places and won more awards. That ended up being what led me in the direction of GIS.

How did your interest in GIS grow after that moment? What did you end up doing in college?

I ended up going to school for GIS at the University of Idaho. When it came time to choose a major, GIS was at the top of my list for what I might be interested in. At the tail end of my bachelor’s degree, I became interested in software development and ended up getting a minor in computer science and then eventually went back to get my master’s degree in computer science. All throughout that time though, I worked as a GIS technician for my hometown. I got a lot of GIS experience in that position and was the only person who was a full-time GIS employee. Being able to apply what I had learned in school helped me realize how interested I was in software development in GIS.

How did you get to be an Esri intern? What was your experience like?

Even before I went back to school for my master’s degree, Esri was on my radar. I had used Esri software in multiple applications before and I really liked the idea of going back to the source and being part of the work Esri does. I interned for Esri between years one and two of my graduate program on the Defense Services team in Professional Services. My experience was pretty interesting, given that a lot of the information in that department was classified, but I was able to work on things with GeoEvent Processor and real-time asset management as well as Android applications, which are right up my alley. My internship got me really excited about the opportunity to come back to Esri, and I kept it at the top of my list for places I wanted to pursue when I graduated. One of the coolest parts of my internship though was being back at the User Conference after 11 years and seeing it in a whole new way.

How did you end up in a full time role?

When I left the internship, I made sure to get the business card of the person in HR who did my exit interview. He broached the subject with me about reconnecting when I was ready to apply for a full-time role. When that time came, I was applying to other places, but I also contacted him and said, “Hey, I’m interested.” After a few months of finishing up school and flying to Redlands to do my day of interviews, I was preparing to move back to California to start my career. I’m glad I got here before UC too, because it was great to be able to go again!

What’s the coolest thing about working at Esri?

I think there are a lot of cool things about Esri, but besides the ones I’ve talked about already, I was immediately immersed in the project I’m working on now, and I thought that was pretty cool. Obviously, there were some onboarding things, but I was always in the loop and felt like a part of the team right away. Also, their emphasis on continued learning has been so beneficial for me and for many other people as well, I’m sure. I have utilized so many of the free and even paid trainings that Esri offers and those have given me a deeper understanding of my work in a way that my schooling couldn’t do. And the Esri library is a resource that I just don’t think many other companies have. It’s great to be able to walk in and check out a book on virtually anything you want to learn about GIS.

Do you have any advice for interns who may want to work at Esri full-time?

Take advantage of the opportunities you’re given while you’re here. And then if you have more school or a reason to leave Esri for a period of time, continue to take advantage of trainings and other opportunities you were given. And make the connections. Whether they are in your department, your team, HR, or even the internship coordinator, you definitely want to make the connections while you’re here. If you’re looking to get a full-time position, keeping those connections will help you in the process of applying.

Thank you for sitting down with me, Nate!

Has Nate’s journey inspired you? Go to and see if there’s an opportunity that interests you.

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SIGGRAPH—“A Creative Recharge of Epic Proportions”

This is an actual quote from a recent SIGGRAPH attendee: “Think of everything that has ever made you geek out and feel so passionate about something in your whole life and put it into one feeling … That, my friend, is the feeling you get when being at SIGGRAPH.”

We couldn’t agree more! Once again, Esri will have a strong presence at SIGGRAPH, on the main exhibit floor as well as in the job fair. I sat down with HR team members Shawn and Jennifer to talk about what people who stop by our booth in the job fair can expect.

Why is Esri exhibiting at SIGGRAPH?

Shawn: Esri is the world leader in geographic information systems (GIS) and we also just happen to be a great place to build a career! With the changes in technology shifting more toward 3D technologies, a major component of Esri’s work has to do with 3D, graphics, visualization, and more. Esri has opportunities for all types of people and you certainly don’t need a background in GIS to join the company.

What skills are you looking for?

Shawn: We are looking for innovative people who have the desire to inspire and make a real difference with the work they do. We want forward thinkers who are ready to dive into different technologies. Esri is always interested in people who run the gamut of technical knowledge, but people who have expertise in 3D software development will be especially desirable at SIGGRAPH.

Jennifer: One of the most important things we stress about Esri is that our company is doing work that impacts people and our planet. GIS is and can be used in almost any industry imaginable. On the 3D side, Esri has a product called CityEngine that allows users to turn flat designs into vivid 3D visualizations. It can be used to improve urban planning and architecture and design, as well as to create cities from the ground up for utilization in many applications. In fact, our booth in the job fair will have a reader that links to CityEngine to create a 3D city using the contours of your thumbprint. Pretty cool, huh?

A scene from Esri CityEngine software

What are you looking forward to most?

Jennifer: Well, I’m excited to spend some time in Canada!  I can’t even imagine how taken I am going to be surrounded by all of that incredible technology and the brilliant minds that create it.

Since this is my first year going, I am so amped to experience new things! Of course, speaking for both of us, we are also looking forward to meeting the creative and daring individuals advancing these technologies … hopefully even finding a few future Esri stars in the group.

Shawn: Since I have been to SIGGRAPH before, I have in mind what I think we’re going to see, but I am also looking forward to the new technologies and such. I think with the explosion in 3D printing in this last year we will see a lot of companies doing something with that. It will be interesting to once again see where Esri fits into the mix. And to agree with Jen, we are definitely looking forward to talking to some potential candidates.

Have we left you wanting to know more? Check out the Esri CityEngine web page, or better yet meet us at the job fair and talk with Shawn and Jen face to face. You’ll leave as excited about our technology as we are!

  • Have a question or want to schedule an interview at SIGGRAPH? E-mail us at
  • Take a sneak peek at the positions we’ll be talking about at SIGGRAPH

Make a Note!

Want to learn about about a cool new 3D modeling tool that allows users to transform polygonal objects? Check out this session being presented by staff in the Esri R&D Center in Zurich: PushPull++. Catch it Wednesday afternoon in East Building, Ballroom B-C.

Wondering how 3D technology fits into Esri’s ArcGIS platform?

3D is across the ArcGIS platform, from the desktop to sharing 3D content through the browser and natively on mobile devices. Esri CityEngine is a stand-alone software product that provides professional users in architecture, urban planning, entertainment, GIS, and general 3D content production with a unique conceptual design and modeling solution for the efficient creation of 3D cities and buildings. CityEngine uses procedural modeling to transform 2D data into 3D city models and can import/export both geospatial data and industry standard 3D formats. During the last several years, Esri has continued to integrate key parametric components of CityEngine into ArcGIS for Desktop, culminating in the release of the parametric design tools in ArcGIS Pro.

Posted in Hot Jobs, Recruiting Events, Students and Recent Grads, Technology | Leave a comment

Finding the Art in C(art)ography

By Guest Blogger Jennifer, Software Products Intern

We all come from different parts of the world, but at the same time we are connected as one, linked in our quest for knowledge of both place and identity. Even at a young age, we are taught spatial awareness in one way or another—we play hide-and-seek, build cities with blocks, hunt for treasure, and imagine magical kingdoms. As we grow, we become curious thinkers who strive to learn about space and place, whether it be the space of the universe, the Earth, society, or even of the mind and body.

Within this desire to learn, our strengths and passions sway us towards various fields, like magnets, pulling us to ask the right questions about life. To explore one’s calling is, unfortunately, a privilege to some and a dream to many, which is why we must not take these questions lightly. As geographers, we ask, “where?”; as philosophers, “why?”; as anthropologists, “who?”; as engineers, “how?”; as historians, “when?”; and as scientists, we ask, “what?”. The end goal is to bring every field and school-of-thought together to create integrative solutions that address every side of the issue. The beauty of this is that individuals do not fit neatly into little boxes; each person has a different story and experience that provide a unique perspective to every situation. After working with Esri, I can assuredly say that it is a company that understands and embodies this ideal.

I am drawn to Esri because it is able to see the beauty and art in everything and in everyone. Each person contributes to the team and often finds themselves moving from niche to niche, depending on his or her changing interests and strengths. After speaking with numerous employees, I was placed on the Content Team within the Software Products division. I can now see that I was given the perfect position, as it has allowed me to pursue one of my passions: finding the art in cartography.

Jennifer showing off the Urban Observatory exhibit at the Esri UC.

One of my first projects entailed adding around 50 new cities to the Urban Observatory. TED conference founder Richard Saul Wurman, Radical Media, and Esri envisioned this captivating exhibit. Manipulating strikingly bright hues atop dark gray basemaps, themes such as population density, historical boundaries, and urban footprints are vibrantly displayed to compare each city’s shared and unshared experiences.

I exercised my creative thinking and storytelling skills through the creation of two Map Journals. The first was a World Cup Map Journal that highlights the United States’ level of participation in soccer, Major League Soccer viewership, and World Cup viewership by ZIP Code. The second was a Global Poverty Map Journal that utilizes storytelling, videos, and interactive maps to tell a portion of the global poverty story. There are countless perspectives at play in this story of poverty: the perspective of the poor, the government, aid agencies, researchers, and the people indirectly involved. The goal is to bring all of these diverse perspectives, experiences, and expertise together to find solutions.

As the internship comes to an end, I am left to continue asking the questions described earlier in this post. Who are the people in need? What can I do to create change? Where am I headed? And how can I continue to learn and collaborate with others?

So with all of this in mind, my question to you is, What are your questions?

Want to do meaningful work like Jennifer did this summer? Check our website next month for information on how to apply for a 2015 internship.

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Internship Tips Straight From the Recruiter!

We’re well into summer, and most of us Esri interns are in the middle of our internships. Whether you are heading back to school in the fall or you are looking for a full time position, it is important that you give an internship everything you’ve got! In this interview with Lara McLaughlin, Esri’s Internship Program Coordinator and University Recruiter, you will hear what to do and what not to do as an intern from someone who works with students year round.

Describe your role at Esri.

This is my third year here, and since starting I have made a lot of changes to the internship program. I managed the internship program for my previous employer, so Esri hired me specifically to work on the program. Every year I am tasked with finding students and recent grads who may fit into Esri internships, and then I forward their resumes to hiring managers to see if they are a good match for their specific position.

What makes an internship during college so important?

First of all, you have something extra to put on your resume. I look at a lot of resumes, and when I see that a student has had internship experience it gives them an edge over other applicants. But the experience is not the only benefit of an internship. For you as the intern, working in an actual business environment is a short period of trial and error and is an opportunity to get your foot in the door, if you are interested in working for that employer full-time after graduation. Internships are a great way to have a 12-week interview. I say, get as many internships as you can while you are in school! Even if you don’t love what you are doing, use the internship to course correct your career path, make connections, find a mentor, or just get some great references for the future.

Once a student secures an internship, what should they do before it begins?

Hopefully you have researched the company already! That’s key. You may have known enough to answer some interview questions, but it will be really important for you to know details about the company when you start. You never know how that information might help you. It also never hurts to ask either the person who hired you or the person who will be your manager if there’s anything you can be doing to get ready. They may send you articles to read or suggest new things you may be able to teach yourself. Any way you can find out more about the role to hit the ground running before you start is a great way to show your ambition early on.

What about after the internship?

Definitely keep in touch–not only with your supervisor, but with the people who hired you and anyone else you may have made a strong connection with. If you are interested in a full time role, make sure they know. Typically, we tell our interns to take a look at the Esri careers website to see if there are any positions that fit what they are looking for. If you are an excellent student and you did well during your internship, we will work with you to try to find a position that aligns with your career goals. And many companies will do the same. Great companies want great people.

What are some common mistakes interns make?

One mistake interns might make would be missing deadlines. And not just work deadlines, but getting to work on time and being on time for meetings and such. Meeting project deadlines and not underestimating how long a project might take is very important. Chances are, your deadline is the company’s deadline, or close to it, and the end product may be riding on you.

Something else would be not speaking up when you don’t have enough to do or when you need clarification. Honestly, there are no dumb questions when you are learning. You may want to prove yourself, but if you do something entirely wrong it doesn’t look good. This is also the time to prove you are a hard worker. If you finish something and don’t have anything else to do, ask for more. If your supervisor doesn’t have anything at the moment, see if you can ask others in the office. There’s always work to be done somewhere and it is a great way to cross train.

Lastly, be professional with your email! Texting is one thing, but remember that paragraphs and punctuation are important in a business setting.

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to really stand out?

There are many things you can do to stand out, but something that has caught my attention in the past is interns who anticipate needs or show interest in doing other things. Let’s say, for example, your manager asks you to count up the different types of blog posts your company did last year. That’s simple; it’s just a number, right? One way to go above and beyond would be to count them up, see which categories they fell into, analyze if there were any blogs that got more attention than others, and then make a suggestion for some future posts. That will show your manager you were thinking ahead, and you will have probably moved on to the next task they were going to give you. It may not always be the easiest thing to do, but sometimes it’s just about taking one little extra step.

What makes Esri’s internship program stand out?

What’s great about Esri is that employees are very approachable. When an intern has a question or may be interested in talking to someone higher up in their field, that conversation can happen easily over lunch. There is a lot of knowledge to be shared at Esri, and community is a real part of our culture.

Additionally, and this is partially because Esri is able to hire so many interns (105 this year!), we really focus on giving the interns time to get to know one another. We know that interns are generally close in age and can relate to one another, no matter what department they are in. Also, our interns come from all over the world and we want to help everyone feel connected during the short time they’re with Esri.

Lastly, I think we do a good job of immersing interns into the company. We invite them to be part of Esri events, they travel to our User Conference for at least a day, and we set up company presentations for them so they see the cool stuff going on.

Have a question for Lara? Email her at Interested in applying for a summer internship next year? We’ll have information on the website this fall.

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Behind the Scenes at the Esri UC

Each year, the Esri International User Conference (UC) brings together thousands of GIS professionals as well as social, economic, business, and environmental leaders from around the world to get the latest Esri product updates, learn from each other, and hear from incredible keynote speakers. This year’s theme was “GIS–Creating our Future.” Esri president Jack Dangermond urged conference attendees to think about the issues our world is facing and how we can combat them using GIS.

This year’s UC attracted more than 16,000 attendees and took up the entire San Diego Convention Center. Help was certainly needed to pull off this huge event! That’s where participants in the Esri UC Student Assistantship Program come in. The assistants help with everything from registration to conference logistics to working in the Esri Store. As a thank you for their hard work throughout the week, they receive registration to the conference and hotel accommodations as well as a per diem allowance for meals.

So what do the student assistants actually do? I was able to sit down and speak with a few of them to see what their roles were for UC.

Logistics: There are 60 assistants every year who arrive Friday before the conference begins. During their first couple of days they work and train for the week ahead to help make sure everything is ready for conference attendees to enjoy. During the week of the conference, their schedules are split. Thirty assistants work in the morning and 30 work in the afternoon. Everyone needs a break, right? This also gives students time to explore the vast conference and all that it offers.

Student assistants play a significant role in conference and hotel registration. All of the assistants pitch in to help get names sorted and badges printed. They also make sure attendees get to the right hotels. Prior to the start of the conference, this is crucial and their help makes a significant impact.

Technical Workshops: One of the main purposes of UC is to show users what’s new with Esri products and this is done through technical workshops. Student assistants were assigned to help with setting up technology, making sure the presenters had what they needed, and being the first line of defense if something went wrong.

Esri Store: One of the biggest attractions at UC is the store where conference attendees can find all sorts of Esri t-shirts, pens, books, coffee mugs, and much more. The student assistants spend much of their time rotating through the store helping customers with their purchases.

And more: Student assistants also spend their time helping with social media, setting up the conference banner stands and other equipment, and being “on call” in case they need to relieve someone.

It may be a part-time job, but their help is always immensely appreciated. The assistants were the first group to be thanked by Jack Dangermond at the close of the conference!

Interested in being a student assistant in 2015? Check the Esri Careers website in the fall for information on how to apply (AND make sure to block off the week of July 20-24 for UC 2015!),

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