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Name: Tori (Victoria) Poncy
College/University: Virginia Tech
Major: Chemical Engineering
Hometown: McLean, VA
Why did you choose an internship with Booz Allen?
The choice to intern at Booz Allen was an easy one. I'm from McLean, so I frequently run into the firm's enthusiastic employees. Whether they’re recent graduates of my university or parents and siblings of hometown friends, it seems everyone has a personal connection to the firm.
Last year, I was ecstatic when I was offered the opportunity to participate in the Summer Games internship program for the first time. Not only because it was my first “big girl” job, but because of the reactions people had. Everyone was so excited, impressed, and eager to tell me about their neighbor, or cousin, or in-law who works here.
When did you know you’d made the right decision?
I went into that first summer internship young, inquisitive, and ready for anything. What followed was one of the best experiences of my life. Some college students spend their summers sailing through the Virgin Islands, but I spent mine with my team in DC, meeting and collaborating with tons of senior leaders, and creating a product from scratch that had real-world impact. All of these experiences made my internship worthwhile.
It was a no-brainer when Booz Allen asked me to come back for a second summer. With a whole new project and team, I see this as another chance to grow my personal brand and step into a new role with more confidence and relevant skills. As the only returning intern on my team, I often feel as though there are answers or sage advice I should have, but there’s still so much to discover. I don’t let that discourage me. We are all here to learn and grow, and this internship lets me go out and explore what Booz Allen and the consulting world has to offer. Each summer is a new and exciting experience and I’m grateful for my two opportunities to intern here. In addition, as I am taking 5 years to finish my bachelor’s degree, I might just have one more summer open. Did somebody say “three-peat”?
What skills are you hoping to build this summer through your internship? How will it affect the rest of your career?
This summer, I’m hoping to learn a lot more about myself and what it means to work in the world of federal consulting. Last year, I tried to learn as much as possible about professionalism, etiquette, and good business practices. It was my first internship, so I focused on the basics of integrating myself into the “adult world” and the Summer Games internship program helped me do just that.
This year I set a few new goals for myself. One thing I want to become better at is public speaking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a completely average public speaker,
Another thing I want to learn more about is leadership. I’ve held leadership roles in the past, but I think this is an area where you never stop learning and challenging yourself. Since I am the only returning intern in my group, there are times that my team looks to me for guidance or advice, and, if possible, it is my responsibility to aid them any way I can.
Lastly, my big goal for this internship was to develop a more technical skillset, so that I can bring a little something extra to the table. My team is based out of the Crystal City office, and we are working on creating a platform that takes in recent utility bill information and calculates/predicts what your future savings and best-case scenario costs could be. I am on the development team and oversee the programming of the user interface. Aside from a small fraction of one class I took freshman year, I had no experience with programming, and I’ve had to teach myself a lot as I go this summer. But it has been extremely rewarding. We currently have a working prototype of our program, and we are going to spend the next few weeks refining and editing to try to make our final deliverable as smooth and aesthetic as possible. I am proud of what we have accomplished.
Throughout the past two summers, this internship has helped me cultivate skills that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my life.
How did your work this summer help change the world? How did it change you? What are you most proud of?
This summer my team designed a program that tracks the energy consumption of large installations and calculates how much each installment should be spending on their utility bills. The calculations are based on different factors such as population, square footage, and weather, and the program also determines how much installations could ideally be saving. Our program was originally designed to be used by the Department of Defense, specifically the Air Force, however throughout the summer we expanded its functionalities so that it’s now applicable to various types of installments, including hospitals, warehouses, and college campuses.
This project can change the world. If inpatient health centers or large corporate headquarters use our tool to help save money on their energy bills and avoid excess spending, they can filter their extra money to internal improvements. They could also hire additional employees, buy new equipment, or even fund humanitarian efforts. If someone fails to shut off the lights in a space and lets them remain on 24/7—especially in non-essential rooms or buildings—it may be hard to see just how much money is wasted. But with our tool, entities can closely examine monthly utility spending to make internal evaluations of their systems and implement new practices to save energy and money.
For the development of this platform, I was on the programming team. At the beginning of the summer none of us knew how to code or create any type of web application, so we didn’t know what we could accomplish. But we set out early and started doing our research, and eventually things fell into place. I became the lead front end programmer, and my other teammates focused on functionalities and back-end programming. I used to think that programming was this reserved, superior knowledge that took years to understand and even longer to utilize, but this summer changed my mind. Now I know how useful this knowledge is, and I want to learn more about it so that I bring more to the table in my future endeavors.
There are many things from this summer that we can all pride ourselves in. My team and I had no background on energy, and only sporadic bits of programming knowledge. But, we persevered and worked together and now we have a product that can be marketed and used by real companies and organizations. The best thing about the Summer Games is that most of us are put on projects we really don’t know that much about, with teammates that have very different specializations or areas of study than we do. But in the end, we all come together to create something that can help change the world. It’s never too late to learn something new.