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.
Bina Wasunga Kakusa ‘16
Neuroscience and Computer Science
Support technician in the Technology Support Center
What made you want to intern with IT?
I’ve always enjoyed working with technology. I grew up being the go-to IT person amongst my family and friends and had also done a few odd jobs for people in my community. In addition, major aspects of the tasks assigned to me were service-oriented and involved quick problem-solving. It was also a well-paid position that helped with my growing grocery and travel bills. A major reason I stayed on for five semesters is the amazing community I became a part of, which included IT staff and leadership and my co-interns, some of which I’m still very close to.
What were your duties as an intern?
My job in the TSC involved helping students, faculty and staff with their computers, electronic devices, and general technology problems; over the phone or in person. I was responsible for troubleshooting, repairing, replacing and installing new hardware and software; educating users on technology device capabilities, limitations and usage; training new technicians; going on-site to assist faculty, staff and students with lab and classroom computer issues; restocking and cataloging lab and classroom computer equipment and supplies; installing new campus computers; and decommissioning old campus computers.
What were some of the takeaways from your time working in IT?
During my five semesters in the TSC, I developed interpersonal skills from communicating with customers where active listening was key to understanding the details of the problem. I learned how to explain the problems and solutions to customers, with minimal technical jargon, and to inform the customer on how to prevent future problems with their devices.
What have you been doing since graduating?
Professionally, I completed my MD at Stanford Medical School, and I am now a second-year neurosurgery resident at Stanford Hospital. I also work on research in functional neurosurgery analyzing neural signals for biomarkers to modulate human cognition.
Personally, I have since gotten married to my wife Kathy (some of my TSC co-interns were at my wedding) and we have a 10-month-old daughter, Nuri. We all love travelling, cooking and eating, so we spend most of our time together doing a combination of those.
How did your internship experience prepare you for your career?
There are many aspects of my career in patient healthcare that mirror those in IT customer service, including strong interpersonal skills, effective communication of technical details, problem solving and doing this all as part of a team. The experience highlighted my interests in working with and helping people. Further, a lot of the research I conduct is at the junction of neuroscience, computer science and technology, and I use the skills I learned from the TSC to work through technical problems I encounter.