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Microsoft High School Interns

2011 August 18
by Hélène Martin

Some of my students invited me to their internship presentations at Microsoft tonight and I was blown away by the quality of what I saw.  Microsoft’s high school internship program is second to none and I commend the company for giving students opportunities to get a taste of high tech careers at such a young age.  Hiring high schoolers is not without risk or cost and it is very impressive that Microsoft devotes significant time to mentoring their interns as they work on real problems.  I hope that more companies will consider replicating their program — it’s a great way to recruit the best students early and could really help change the image of computing careers.

This summer, Microsoft had 17 high school interns in the Puget Sound.  Four Garfield students worked on projects at Microsoft Research.  One worked on a system to translate English task descriptions into short PowerShell scripts, another explored using voice commands in Kinect-based games and simulations, the third worked on translating TED talks from Chinese to English and the last worked on TouchDevelop, an on-phone programming tool for Windows Phone 7 (see his demo video here).  They learned to perform user studies, glue existing software tools together, use new development environments, give presentations, and countless other skills that will put them ahead no matter what they choose to do next.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. September 7, 2011

    I had no idea MS did this. This is pretty darn awesome – I wish I had these opportunities when I was in high school. Even though I just “knew” I would go into CS, I didn’t learn about research pretty much until I started my Masters. I think I would have been in a much better position in research or for industry with internships like these!

    • Hélène Martin permalink*
      September 7, 2011

      I didn’t even mention research, but you’re absolutely right that these students have a much better sense of what that entails. Hopefully they will consider grad school a little more seriously because of it.

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