Learn what keeps this “boomerang” intern coming back.
Teresa Rexin first became aware of “Big Data” in her eleventh grade AP computer science course and was quickly fascinated by its seemingly endless and broad applications. While still in high school, she started interning at Intel’s Folsom site in the summer of 2017—and she’s been back every year since.
During her five (!) internships at Intel, Teresa’s had the opportunity to network with data scientists, many of whom were women and leaders in their field. Developing a strong connection to this discipline, she earned a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics while minoring in statistics at UCLA. Now 21 years old, she will be continuing her studies by pursuing a master’s degree in statistics at UC San Diego.
Her ultimate career goals? Creating solutions to problems that affect our society and to bring new and creative perspectives to our ever-changing world. Below we discuss how returning to intern at Intel has led her closer to her goals through opportunity, mentorship, and purpose.
What drew you to Intel?
During the spring of my Junior year, my AP Computer Science Principles teacher shared with us that the Intel high school internship program was now accepting applications. I knew nothing about Intel microprocessors or SSDs. But, my mother encouraged me to apply, claiming the worst they could say was “no.”.
I applied and was selected for interviews, then shortly after was extended a job offer. I was excited to accept this offer because it gave me an opportunity to experience first-hand if the tech industry would be a good fit for me. Looking back, I am so thankful I took this leap of faith.
Five internships later, what/who inspires you to continue working at Intel?
During my second internship, my team collaborated with data scientists in IT on a machine learning project. I was amazed that one could use a combination of math, statistics, and computer science to create a model that helped people in the real world. From that point on, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in data science.
Intel’s welcoming, inclusive culture is also a great benefit. My amazing managers and supervisors assigned me challenging projects and treated me as an equal member of the team. I also really appreciate Intel’s commitment to giving back to the community. I have volunteered for the PC Pal Program, Intern Day of Service, and Folsom’s Kid to Work Day every year—this year I led the slime creation workshop after being certified as an Intel Employee Service Corps Skills-Based Volunteer. Additionally, I was a mentor to the high school intern program, and it has been humbling to give back to the program that gave me my start at Intel.
Has Intel’s culture changed over the course of your internships here? If so, how?
Over the last five years at Intel, I have worked under three CEOs, witnessed a logo redesign, and experienced virtual internships. One of the major cultural changes I’ve seen is the data transformation. This is especially applicable in my current role—my team was not even created when I first started at Intel in 2017. During my very first day as an Intel intern, my onboarding instructor shared with us something along the lines of “the job you end up in will not even exist for five years,” which I have found to be shockingly true. I have seen a vast increase in the number of data science roles, and it has been amazing to see this ever-changing domain grow at Intel.
I have also seen a redesign of the values on the back of our badges. They are much more focused on collaboration with the values of “One Intel” and “Inclusion.” And these values show up directly in the workplace. Full-time Intel employees have always been willing to have a 1:1 with me to share what they do, impart career and life advice, and chat about the future tech industry.
What have you learned in your internships at Intel?
I have been able to transition from data analytics to data science roles and personally experienced how to apply my coursework in real-world settings, which has been an invaluable experience. Along with developing my technical skills, working at Intel with diverse teams across continents greatly improved my communication and organizational skills and taught me to approach issues with a problem-solving mindset. I’ve also met life-long mentors and friends who am I incredibly thankful for. My many mentors have guided me along the way—colleagues and managers at work have realized my potential and encouraged me to push even myself further. I would not be where I am today without their guidance and support.
What are the most memorable projects you’ve worked on?
One of my most recent projects was with the MAAD (Machine Learning, AI, Advanced Analytics, & Data Science) team leveraging Monte Carlo simulations in a predictive machine learning model for revenue forecasting. I also created an interactive Power BI dashboard to communicate the model’s results in weekly meetings to senior leaders. Some of my other projects include automating a data dictionary, developing a media allocation tool (which received an Intel Department Recognition Award), and automating excel reports with Power BI dashboards.
We still have a long way to go with female representation in the tech industry. What do you believe the tech industry needs to do to change this?
There have been times where I felt like I didn’t belong in the STEM field—working and taking classes in a male-dominated field can be intimidating. Fortunately, my many mentors have guided me along the way. I would not be where I am today without their guidance and support.
I believe the tech industry needs to invest in mentoring young women early on and foster a welcoming environment for all. By building inclusive, uplifting communities and supporting our peers, we can reduce this gap. I aspire to become a leader in the field of data science and to continue to make positive changes in the world as an active, female role model in a STEM career.
What advice would you give future intern candidates about Intel?
Take a chance and apply. You never know what could happen and the possibilities are endless. Be “fearless.” There are so many wonderful opportunities at Intel, and each business group is a new experience! From engineering to analytics to communications, there is a place for you here!
Inspired by Teresa’s journey at Intel? Start your own with us today.