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Name: Cesar Rivera
College/University: Prairie View A&M
Major: Computer science
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Why did you choose an internship with Booz Allen? When did you know you’d made the right decision?
Booz Allen’s Summer Games program gives you the opportunity to find solutions to real-life problems and expand your professional and personal network.
I decided to return to the Summer Games for a second year because I felt as though one summer was not enough to learn and explore all the things that Booz Allen offers. Booz Allen is a large and prestigious company, but I was amazed by how so many people were willing to set aside time in their calendar to speak to me. Not once was I told by someone in the firm that they were too busy. I met with CEO Horacio Rozanski, and was amazed that he wanted to talk to an intern like me—an 18-year-old who just finished their first year of college.
The opportunity to sit down and speak with various leaders in the firm is what made me realize I made the right decision choosing Booz Allen. Everyone is so willing to clear some time and have an open conversation, which shows that senior leaders really do care about their employees.
What skills are you hoping to build this summer through your internship? How will it affect the rest of your career?
This summer I am working with the Epi Pen Innovation Team to create a user-friendly device that will administer epinephrine— an emergency medical treatment for life-threatening allergic reactions. Our team developed a business plan to move the technology forward. The main difference between our innovation and the EpiPen currently on the market is the administration. While the existing EpiPen requires a swing and jab motion, our team’s innovation requires a simple push of a button to administer epinephrine, creating a more user-friendly device that will eliminate the fear that many users experience in administering this life-saving medicine.
As a computer science major, I am interested in enhancing the epi pen prototype, however I decided to focus on building my communication skills during my internship with Booz Allen. This is a new area for me and I feel like I’m already improving and stepping outside my comfort zone. Coming in to this project, I had little to no knowledge of the topic, but my mentors encouraged me to reach out to various people on the team to understand what the end objective is. I am now able to clearly communicate what we’re trying to achieve. Communication is a key skill in any line of work, and I’m learning more about the nuances each day. I’m certain the ability to improve my communication skills will help me overcome future obstacles.
How did your work this summer help change the world? How did it change you? What are you most proud of?
The work my team and I did will help change the world by introducing a new way to administer epinephrine to someone experiencing a life-threatening allergic reaction. We developed a mechanism that eliminates the swing and jab motion required of epi pens currently on the market. With our device, those who suffer from serious allergies simply need to hold the device to the side of their thigh and press a button.
This work changed me, too. Now, I am more cautious about what I eat around people. Prior to participating in the Summer Games, I didn’t think much about what people with allergies must go through and the pain they endure while administering epinephrine. One thing I learned, is that it’s a blessing to not worry about carrying around an epi pen with me at all time.
The thing that I am most proud of is being able to say I participated in the Summer Games—not just once, but twice. The Summer Games is a unique program that provides interns a fun experience building and finding a solution to a real-world problem by navigating and using the tools that Booz Allen offers. I plan on returning next summer to participate in this amazing program because two times just wasn’t enough.