Our SMASH Rising summer interns recently concluded their summer internships with Autodesk. This was our third year working with SMASH, which is one of the earliest STEM education programs created in the United States. As a long-term, youth-focused organization, SMASH prepares students of color for STEM college studies through SMASH Academy, a three-year STEM-focused college prep program.
Upon completing SMASH Academy, the alumni move on to participate in SMASH Rising, an early-stage workplace readiness internship that equips them with the critical skills needed to succeed in partner companies (like Autodesk!).
Five SMASH Rising students interned with Autodesk this summer and were challenged to design a mobile solution for the Autodesk Foundation’s Employee Impact Hub, a site where Autodeskers can log their donations and volunteer time. For this challenge, we asked the interns two questions:
- How might we design an iOS app that helps Autodesk employees better record volunteer hours and submit donations for matching?
- How might the Autodesk Foundation use that app to share updates, promote Foundation partners and raise awareness about volunteer activities?
As site leads, my colleague Katie Murff and I arranged interviews with Autodeskers for user research, as well as exposure to the vast number of careers that are available at Autodesk. We asked for volunteers to share their personal journeys with the cohort, and more than 25 employees courageously raised their hands!
At the end of the virtual internship, the interns presented their iOS app prototype. But we weren’t done yet – in late July, we met them at our Pier 9 and Landmark San Francisco offices for tours of our Technology Center and the Autodesk Gallery, as well as an inspirational career chat, an ERG discussion, and a fireside chat with our CEO, Andrew Anagnost. The cohort even had the chance to connect with SMASH alumnus Bacongo Cisse, who is now a full-time Autodesker!
Here’s what two of our SMASH Rising interns had to say about their experience:
We hope to continue our partnership with SMASH for a fourth year next summer. Ultimately, our goal is to connect SMASH scholars with careers here at Autodesk because we believe in this program and the level of preparedness students gain through it.
Learn about Autodesk internships and early career opportunities here.