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Intern Spotlight: Eliza Steele

Catching up with past IT interns

Internships are a critical aspect of a William & Mary education. No matter what a student is majoring in, so much can be learned by gaining real-world work experience. W&M Information Technology has a long-standing tradition of welcoming student workers and incorporating them into our overall strategy of providing a reliable, flexible and secure technological environment that enables swift and skilled solutions for rapidly changing needs. 

Eliza Steele ‘12 

Undergrad: Major in Economics and Minor in Math    

Graduate Degree: Computational Operations Research 

Internship position

Student Support Technician

Eliza SteeleWhat were your duties as an intern? 

During my four years at W&M IT, I did a lot of everything. Primarily, I worked in W&M’s Technology Support Center (TSC) where I was responsible for password resets, hard drive swaps, screen replacements, operating system wipes, and virus removal. At the time, I was a level one tech support student so I learned how to perform a lot of these tasks from Patty. I knew how basic PC parts came together, having built my own PC when I was 15, but learned a lot about customer service during my time with W&M IT. I wasn't constrained to doing only tech support. Some of the miscellaneous tasks I did were burn hard drives and paint the level 2 office of Jones Hall. As a whole, this internship helped me combine my tech skills with my passion for solving problems. 

Who did you work closely with during your time here?

I worked closely with Tracey Encarnacion, Kitty Smith and Patty Herrera Cox who were all highly experienced and skilled at relieving customer problems and concerns. I would see extremely frustrated people go to Tracey, and as if she waved a magic wand, they would calm them down completely and feel confident that their problem would be solved. I thought it was so cool! 

What were some of the takeaways from your time working in IT? 

Professionally, working in IT gave me my first look into tweaking Windows, modifying registry keys, doing performance testing, and configuring IPs. These lower level (foundational) skills all carried over and were very beneficial when I began working at Microsoft on Windows. Personally, working for W&M IT helped me realize my performance obsessions and dream to pursue a career in the software engineering  

What have you been doing since graduating? 

Currently, I work as a senior software engineer at Microsoft. I own automation for executing and analyzing performance benchmarks/scenarios at cloud scale. During the last ten years, I’ve worked on all kinds of products and services including Windows 8 (client), Windows 10 (client), Windows Phone, Surface, Windows Server 2016, and Azure. I live in Seattle and work remotely from home. Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, wood working, backcountry hiking/backpacking, music production, and drumming. 

How did your internship experience prepare you for your career? 

Without W&M IT, my graduate program, and experience working with ITPIR (now known as the Global Research Institute), I would not be at my current position at Microsoft. Without these experiences, I may have landed at a less technical job doing work I am not as passionate about. I hope W&M IT continues to employ student interns because it helps build work experience that employers are looking for.