Hitting the Internship Jackpot

By Guest Bloggers Sara, Professional Services; Melanie, Support Services; Stacey, Education Content; and Kristen, Marketing/Industry Solutions

No matter how great the area, the job, or the people, new experiences can be hard to grapple with—especially when you move to a new location. Having a strong support system during these transitions is really important, and that’s what we got from each other.

As far as summer jobs go, the four of us know that we hit the internship jackpot this year. To say that we have been lucky to have the chance to spend a summer in Southern California with intern duties that go far beyond the stereotypical coffee retrieval would be selling our experiences short. Here at Esri, we have not only had the chance to put our educational and career experiences to work in roles that resemble full-time employees, but we have also had the opportunity to form strong friendships.

Every year, Esri attracts a wide variety of students from all over the country to participate in its summer internship program. Although most interns share a common love of all things geography, the scope of student backgrounds is vast. In mid-May, the four of us came together to begin our 12 weeks as interns and found that we all had much more in common than our resumés may have initially suggested:

  • Sara from North Royalton, Ohio, is a geography master’s student at the University of South Carolina.
  • Melanie from Phoenix, Arizona, is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s in geography/GIS.
  • Stacey, from Fonthill, Ontario, is a recent graduate from the University of Miami with a master’s in geography and will begin a Ph.D. in social studies education at the University of Georgia this fall.
  • Kristen from Stow, Ohio, is a rising senior and marketing major at Boston College.

Although we all have very different backgrounds, our goals and expectations for the summer were similar. Upon arriving in Redlands, we all anticipated we’d learn a great deal about our respective fields as well as grow our professional network, but we did not expect to meet such amazing friends. In the GIS world, everyone is aware of Esri’s great products and services, but it is the extraordinary people that the company attracts that make it such a phenomenal place to intern. It has been exciting to develop relationships with other interns that share a common drive, motivation, and passion for their work.

These workplace relationships quickly extended beyond the hours of 8 to 5 as we started to explore Southern California together. Because of its central location, Redlands is the perfect location for young intern “adventurers” to take new and exciting weekend trips. For the four of us, this included a getaway to Las Vegas, day trips to some of California’s most beautiful beaches, hiking in the desert, Los Angeles (go to the Griffith Observatory), Hollywood, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs (check out the 40-foot-tall Marilyn Monroe statue or just hit up the awesome outlet mall on the way), Death Valley, Big Bear Lake, and more!

Right outside of the Esri headquarters in Redlands we have found an abundance of great local restaurants, shops, and bars. We spend our free time frequenting the usual favorites of any budget-savvy intern—Trader Joe’s, Target, Kohl’s, and DSW—while also hitting up the Redlands gems that include, but are definitely not limited to:

  • Nectar Clothing Store—for fabulous work and weekend outfits
  • Time in a Bottle Wine Bar—if we feel like being fancy
  • Cafe Royale—for a delicious crepe, and perhaps some red velvet cake!
  • Isabella’s—for some fine Italian dining
  • A La Minute Ice Cream—order the strawberry balsamic … SO good!
  • Breathe Yoga Studio—for the occasional times we feel like exercising
  • The Vault & Romano’s—for Friday night fun
  • The Redlands Dog Park—for Melanie’s precious chihuahua, Tibu

Overall, downtown Redlands is full of wonderful, homey places that offer a great atmosphere for building and developing relationships after work and on the weekends.

An Esri internship will help you grow as a young professional, but the benefits extend far beyond strengthening your resumé. As our time together flies by us, we realize and appreciate all that this opportunity has brought us: improved technical abilities, amazing professional connections, and lifelong friendships that we will treasure for years. Thanks to an open mind and sense of adventure, we will all return home with far more than a nice California suntan.

Bottom photo, left to right, are Sara, Melanie, Kristen, and Stacey.

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