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Unique Summer Xternships Allow Students to Explore Entrepreneurial Career Opportunities

September 5, 2014

Xtern

Learning Valuable Lessons: Students enjoyed this summer exploring entrepreneurial opportunities in Indianapolis as part of TechPoint’s Xtern program. They had real-world experiences at six tech companies around the capital city, and attended this year’s Mira technology awards ceremony. (Photo courtesy of TechPoint)

A one-of-a-kind summer internship provided Rose-Hulman students with a better appreciation of entrepreneurial opportunities in Indiana, and has further paved their career pathways.

TechPoint’s new Xtern program had 12 students--current and recent graduates--enjoying real-world internship experiences at eight tech companies while living in downtown Indianapolis, a community with growing entrepreneurial opportunities.

“I had a blast,” exclaims Collin Trowbridge, a sophomore software engineering student who was an Xtern at hc1.com, a small cloud computing company working to revolutionize the healthcare experience. “I have a better view of entrepreneurship—from what it takes to create a startup, to what it takes to work at one and make a difference.

“In a startup, every resource counts in making an impact to move forward the company. This summer has most definitely expanded my career options. I could now see myself one day opening a business, or working for an entrepreneurial company for a long time,” he adds.

TinderBox, emerging as a sales technology leader (co-founded by Rose-Hulman alumnus Dustin Sapp), provided opportunities for senior software engineering student Ian Hallam. His skills helped in testing new products, fixing bugs, and adding features to established products.

“I saw that solid product application and teamwork need to be paired with a significant amount of dedication to make a startup work,” he says. “Building and maintaining momentum are vital to keep the company functioning. Working at companies willing to take risks definitely gives a lot more room to grow professionally.”

Marie Stettler, a 2014 mechanical engineering graduate, had a similar experience at ExactTarget, a successful global digital marketing entrepreneurial enterprise.

“I have a better understanding of what successful entrepreneurship looks like,” she says. “I saw how big ideas, backed by the right people, can truly become something impactful.”

James Butler, a senior software engineering student, joined Stettler in enjoying the summer at ExactTarget.

Meanwhile, serving as Xterns at Interactive Intelligence, a global provider of software solutions for mid-size to large organizations, were Shane Bruggeman, a sophomore computer science major; Vismay Modi, a senior computer science and mathematics student; Ben Schmidt, a junior computer engineering student; and Jonathan Taylor, a junior software engineering major.

Angie’s List was the summer home for Xiaocen Shan, a 2014 computer science graduate, while sophomore computer science major Luke Zhang was at KSM Consulting and Fang Huang, a senior computer science student, was an Xtern at Smarter Remarketer.

“The Xtern program opened my eyes up to the booming potential that the Indianapolis tech community has and has yet to tap into,” states Stettler, who has gone onto graduate school at Virginia Tech. “It was amazing to see how the collaborate spirit of the area translate into companies that are truly competitive on a global level.”

That was objective in starting the Xtern program, with support from a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant, according to TechPoint President/Chief Executive Officer Mike Langellier.

“This year’s Xterns worked at companies where the work they did actually made an impact. We had students turning down offers from Yahoo! and IBM in order to be Xterns this summer,” he said.