June 21, 2022
As an In-Step summer intern with the Infosys Foundation USA, I have been given the opportunity to learn through real-world experiences. A highlight has been the planning of the CT Lieutenant Governor’s Coding Challenge ‘Recognition Event’ which took place on June 8th in the Infosys Digital Innovation Center in Hartford, CT. Over the past few weeks, I have worked closely with Lt Gov Susan Bysiewicz’s team to plan the in-person celebration of students from grades 3-12 who took part this statewide STEM initiative. Of the 300 applicants, 39 students were selected as winners and their families were invited along to celebrate their success.
At the beginning of the planning process, I quickly learned how many moving parts go into a large-scale event. I traveled to the Infosys office in the weeks leading up to the event to help determine space requirements and solve potential technology issues. I also contributed to organizing the event’s timeline, starting when the guests arrived through to their departure. Finally, I played an instrumental role in organizing the catering to satisfy the 130 guests and attendees.
On the day of the celebration, I assisted the Foundation team in putting the finishing touches on the preparations. By the time guests started arriving, we had every food platter, chair, and table perfectly in place. I also managed the sign-in table, where I greeted each participant and their family and provided them with their name tag. The critical skills I learned include the ability to think quickly on my feet to solve any problems that arise, while also remaining calm under pressure.
After listening to various remarks from the Lt Governor, Department of Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker, and other CT leaders in higher education, as well as the students who presented highlights of their projects in the student exhibit section; I developed an even greater appreciation of the importance of this program. The students radiated passion for the apps they had conceptualized and prototyped and were delight when their names were announced as winners. As the Lt. Governor called the students to the stage to take a picture, I could see parents moving around to capture this special moment. Pride beamed on their faces as they saw their children for who they are: the future of STEM. Without the efforts of the Lieutenant Governor’s office and the Infosys Foundation USA, as well as other CT corporate and non-profit sponsors with whom they partnered, many of those students would potentially be limited in their STEM dreams. Instead, the Infosys space was filled with unlimited potential from the students who imagined solutions to health and wellness problems through technical applications. For example, the project, “The True You” is a program developed by an 8th grade student that asks the app user questions about their life and provides positive and motivating answers in return. After the presentations, a group of young students asked me how they could become involved in technology jobs in the future, hoping to take their passion a step further. I proudly said I am an Infosys Foundation USA In-Step summer intern and told them to apply to this leading program once they enrolled in college.
This partnership between Infosys Foundation USA and the Lt Governor’s office provided an opportunity for students to explore the magic of coding and set dreams beyond their wildest expectations. As a result, the Foundation has fostered its connection with the Connecticut government and community, resulting in a smarter and more empowered group of young people. The combination of the lessons I learned and the passion I saw from the students made this a transformative experience. I am excited about the coming weeks and look forward to helping create positive change with the Infosys Foundation USA throughout the rest of my internship.