Name: Joshua Fleming
School: University of Maryland, College Park
Major: Computer Engineering
Hometown: Germantown, Maryland
Why did you choose an internship with Booz Allen? When did you know you’d made the right decision?
It was the spring of my sophomore year at the University of Maryland, College Park when one of my friends, an alumnus of our cybersecurity club and full-time engineer at Booz Allen, messaged our club with an internship opportunity at his workplace. I didn't have my mindset on a summer internship, but figured it wouldn't hurt to apply so I sent in my resume with an open mind and low expectations. But the fates aligned, and a few weeks later I completed an interview and accepted an internship offer. I took it, not fully aware of what I was getting myself into.
I drove to the Central Maryland office promptly at 7:30 am on my first day, filled with a blend of excitement and anxiety. It didn't help that I knew no one in the office, so I kept to myself. Orientation flew by and I was soon ready to meet my team members and dive into our project. To my surprise, not only was I assigned to work with a lot of in-state students, but the same friend who referred me to the internship was one of my mentors. I felt a bit more at ease knowing there would be a lot of things our team had in common. Wasting no time, we dove headfirst into our challenge for the next 10 weeks: Modify existing firmware of a microcontroller in order to build a custom multi-hop network.
As we made progress through the summer, we overcame challenges where we lacked experience. We faced problems in writing custom firmware and network programming—which most students don't see until their final years in college—yet we had the opportunity to dabble in these concepts. Our team dynamic grew as we taught each other skills, while sharing plenty of laughs over a Dungeons and Dragons campaign we organized after work hours. We kept working on our project until we finally presented our hard work to the rest of the Booz Allen interns at the end-of-summer showcase. The rest was history.
Looking back, I realize that interning at Booz Allen was one of my most empowering career experiences. The mentors did as much as they could to help us succeed and grow in our technical careers. It was a truly unique experience to work under a philosophy that places people first, not products. It wasn't until I pondered an offer to return the next summer that I knew my choice to work at Booz Allen was one of the best I ever made.