Interning at SAS: A Summer Adventure - Part 1

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Every year, SAS ranks high on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list. The rankings are largely based on anonymous feedback from employees, who consistently rank SAS high on everything from executive communications to work-life balance. But SAS isn’t just a great place to work for professionals; it’s an amazing place to intern. This summer, I have been fortunate enough to secure an internship in the SAS Technical Support Division. I have had such a wonderful experience and became inspired to write about my adventures interning at SAS. I invite you to take a sneak peek at my life at SAS, and I hope you enjoy the posts.

If you’d like to learn more about SAS’ internships and fellowships, you’ll find more information on the SAS Career Webpage for students and recent graduates.

A little bit more about me

Interning at SAS

My manager, Randy Mullis, and me outside our building on the SAS campus

I currently attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill), and I’ll be entering into my second year this coming fall. At the moment, my goal is to graduate with Business Administration, Global Studies and Statistics degrees, but I know that the future might contain some surprises for me I am also involved in various extracurricular activities. I volunteer with Circle K, an international volunteer organization, and the Campus Y, a social-justice organization, to help make a positive and sustained difference in the community. As part of Campus Y, I am involved in the Helping Youth by Providing Enrichment (HYPE) program where I tutor children in low-income neighborhoods and help stimulate intellectual growth. I also serve as a mentor to children in the program. This past year, I helped raise money for the Carolina for the Kids Dance Marathon, and I plan to continue my work with this great cause when the school year starts again.

Orientation Day

On May 15, I drove onto the SAS campus for the first time as an employee. And, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m hoping Orientation Day is just the beginning and that a full-time, future job is the end result! Along with 100 other eager interns, I took my badge photo, bustled into one of the auditoriums on campus, and sat down for the morning orientation.  I quickly learned more about my role as a Technical Intern as the week progressed and met amazing people those first few days.  It has been a wonderful experience getting to this point, and I wanted to use the remainder of this blog to share a little more about special intern events and learning opportunities.

Intern events

After attending orientation, I started my internship at SAS, joining the ranks of more than 150 other interns. I was assigned to the Educational Technologies group in the Technical Support Division, which is managed by Randy Mullis. Throughout the next month, I attended countless intern events and learned more about the intern community

Intern orientation kindled an excitement in me for the upcoming 12 weeks, and speeches from former interns and successful managers helped me to understand the SAS environment. I learned that SAS not only does wonderful things with data (such as improving processes for businesses, hospitals, government, and schools), but the company’s software is also used to aid individuals as well. For example, Marie Lowman, an industry consultant in the Government Sales Division, spoke to our group about the diverse impact that SAS has on the world. She told us a touching story about how SAS analytics helped her doctors diagnose a condition that her unborn child had and how that information resulted in excellent medical care and, ultimately, a healthy daughter. It reminded me that, as an employee of SAS, I will be making a contribution to the larger goals and providing customers with the best service I can.

I also met some wonderful fellow interns from across the country. Although many of the interns said they are currently pursuing a degree in computer science, many others, like me, have different aspirations. It’s wonderful that SAS creates both technical and non-technical opportunities for students, resulting in a much more inclusive, diverse, and stronger workforce. This realization underscored the fact that hard-working and passionate individuals from all areas can work together and collaborate on bigger goals.

For a while, I was only one of two interns in my division, but SAS makes it a point to keep us connect with other interns. Kristen Stewart (Senior Associate Talent Acquisition Specialist, Human Resources) and the rest of the University Recruiting team do a great job with organizing lunches and ice-cream socials in order to foster a sense of community. At some of the more professionally-minded events, I learned skills that can help mold me into a successful intern and discovered the types of growth opportunities that I should pursue.

To stimulate interest in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, I went with fellow interns Matthew Parker and Lucas Molander to a local high school and gave a presentation to some of the students. I really enjoyed being able to talk to them as they start considering their future. Because we are close in age to the students, I also felt like our group could truly connect with and make an impact on them.

What I’ve learned so far

From the very first day, Randy has stressed the importance of continued education. He also explained that because I am interning at SAS, I have the opportunity to take educational courses at no cost. I attended a seminar called “How to Be a Successful Intern” that indicated that different SAS certification tests exist and that there are opportunities each month to become certified. Once I knew the dates for the tests, I registered for courses that would enable me to become certified during my time here at SAS.

The summer before I started college at UNC, I took the SAS® Programming 1 and SAS® Programming 2 e-learning courses. After working hard for a few weeks, I then took the SAS Certified Base Programmer for SAS® 9 certification exam and became certified in Base SAS software! I tremendously enjoyed the learning experience, so when Randy suggested that I continue my education journey at SAS, I immediately started looking for another class. This time, I took a two-week long Live Web class called Applied Advanced Analytics Using SAS® Enterprise Miner™ that met in the afternoons. This class presented me with quite a few useful tools that I can use with my statistics major, and it helped me to broaden my understanding of the field. I plan to take the SAS Certified Predictive Modeler Using SAS® Enterprise Miner™ 14 certification exam at the end of July in the hopes of becoming a certified predictive modeler.

Randy has nurtured my inquisitive spirit, and he pushes me to learn something new every day. Later this summer, I will take a SAS® Visual Analytics class to learn more about how you can present data and effectively communicate your findings.

Stay tuned!

In my next post, I’ll share more details about my intern experience, including the excellent training I’m receiving and the relationships that I’m creating across the organization.

Read Interning at SAS: A Summer Adventure - Part 2

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About Author

Anja de Waal

Technical Intern

Anja is an intern at SAS this summer and very excited about the opportunity to learn something new every day. This fall she will be entering her second year at UNC to receive Business Administration, Global Studies, and Statistics degrees. She plans to study abroad in Switzerland during the Spring 2018 semester. She is passionate about making positive sustained impacts in her community and volunteer with Circle K, the YMCA, and Carolina For the Kids.

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