Alexis Costales never really had an interest in Computer Science. That was until she and her team placed 1st in state and 3rd in the world at Technovation, an all-girls mobile app-based technology competition. From there, she and her team were featured in the documentary titled “CodeGirl” and toured the headquarters of several large tech companies.
The journey inspired her so much, she took on a Computer Science and Financial Engineering double major with a minor in Math at Washington University in St. Louis. The more she dug into the world of computer science, the more it stood out how few women are in the field. Since then, she’s worked hard to show younger girls they belong in STEM careers too – including becoming the Vice President of Girls Who Code at her university, a program that seeks to close the gender gap in technology. Now she's bringing that same passion to AT&T in our Technology Development Program (TDP).
“I met an AT&T recruiter at a Women in Computer Science (WiCS) event on my campus last fall,” Alexis said. “She gave me the resources necessary to apply and continued to help me throughout my application process. And the experience has been great. The most surprising part of the internship so far is that after two days of training, I was able to dive right into my project and participate in real, meaningful work.”
The TDP charges participants with different tasks and projects, learning as much about AT&T as they do about what kind of work they enjoy the most.
“Currently, I'm working with a fellow intern as part of the Mobile Security Dashboard (MSD) Team. We're working to use different machine learning techniques to create clusters and different visualizations of threat data. The idea is that in the future, AT&T analysts can look for patterns in the potentially malicious data being sent to its customers.”
Plus, all TDP participants take part in a coding challenge featuring groups of four to seven people. Alexis and five of her fellow interns at the Chicago location are set with a prompt of creating an application that uses either virtual reality or augmented reality to add value to AT&T. And special projects like these are what keep even her most typical days full of surprises.
“Normally I have a call for a half hour every morning. After, I’ll start working on an assignment that my business partner told me and other interns about. Around 11 AM we have another meeting where we have an opportunity to talk one-on-one about what exactly we’re working toward and the different ideas we have,” Alexis said. “It’s really great that I, as an intern, can participate in a discussion like that. In the afternoon, I’ll spend a couple of hours working on an intern project.”
With all the work our interns do, it’s important that we provide an environment where every intern is supported – not only from their peers, mentors and management, but all the way up to our leadership team.
“You can ask any question and people are happy to answer. We have a lot of meetings with the head of the TDP program in Chicago, and we have many additional areas of support as well. Everyone around me has been extremely kind and supportive in answering my questions and helping me get settled at AT&T.”