Of course, there’s the added bonus of potential employment.
Last summer, six interns, students from the University of Hawaii, had the unique opportunity of using virtual reality (VR) to recreate the opening minutes of the attack on Pearl Harbor for a local not-for-profit, the Pacific Aviation Museum, located on Ford Island in buildings that still bear the scars from that day.
Booz Allen suggested the VR project to the museum; several of our employees serve on the board of directors and the project was a great way to extend the firm’s commitment to its mission, while also showcasing our virtual and augmented reality capabilities.
Interns were exposed to and learned many new skills, from VR-specific techniques using the modeling tool Maya to programming in Unity, an industry-leading VR/AR (augmented reality) engine.
The interns ramped up fast.
“As with any project, there were a lot of hurdles, but we really let the interns own this project. They were passionate about it and it showed—they engaged the client early and often and delivered the product the client wanted,” says Staff Technologist Peter Justeson, one of the Honolulu experts who spent hours coaching and supporting the interns through their programming learning curve.
One intern is already a Booz Allen employee and four others are anticipated to be joining the firm soon.
“The Summer Games experience gave me a taste of Booz Allen’s culture. Everyone took time to answer our questions—to share their expertise to help us learn,” says intern-turned-employee John Paul “JP” McManus, a consultant. “I enjoyed the give and take with the client, the need to meet the client’s expectations, while also understanding, from an operational perspective, what’s feasible from our end.”
And Michael Jacob, a recent graduate of James Madison University, also made the intern-to-full-time jump after his Summer Games experience.
Michael is one of the founders of BeatAwake, a tool that analyzes biometric data to help prevent life threatening situations. It's an idea he came up with during the Summer Games. He worked with André Nguyen, now a technologist, to create technology that pairs up to wearable device and leverages biometric data to determine anomalies in heart rate, and alerts the wearer when one occurs.
Michael and Andre both presented a prototype of the technology at the 2016 Amazon Web Services’ re:Invent conference.
"I was able to take an idea, find someone who believed in it too, and see the technology come alive. That's what so cool about Booz Allen, and this idea that was born out of the Summer Games. We're not just sitting around thinking out loud, we're making our ideas happen."