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.
Brian Russell ‘14
Student Support Technician
What made you want to intern with IT?
I was really into computers in college and was looking for a part-time position during school. I decided to see if W&M IT had any positions available, so I called the office and learned that there were some available. I landed a position and started to learn the basics. I was able to learn the ins and outs of the IBM ThinkPad and other technology that students used. It was interesting, working with the computer leasing program and fixing computers for students.
What were some of your duties as an intern?
I worked with the Technology Support Center answering phone calls and troubleshooting problems. I mainly helped people with connectivity issues, general questions about software, or computer issues. Occasionally the problems were too serious to resolve on the phone so we would have the customers come into the office and help them in person. We worked with students, faculty, and staff on a variety of issues on a daily basis. We would replace and/or repair items like hard drives, keyboards, and mouse pads. We also worked on general upkeep of the school technology like refilling printers with paper in the academic buildings. I truly enjoyed working with IT and the community of people.
What were some of the takeaways from your time working in IT?
Working in IT helped me to understand the direction I wanted to go in terms of a career. I learned that I wanted to stay in that realm. A customer service job requires a lot of self-reflection.
What have you been doing since graduating?
After graduating from William & Mary, I began my career at Ferguson Enterprises and worked my way up to a tax analyst position. I wanted to learn about the finance side of the technology industry, as well as apply the knowledge obtained from my business education. I took this experience and applied to an operations finance position at Newport News Shipbuilding. While employed at Newport News Shipbuilding, I was referred to the Federal government by a colleague and was asked to send my resume to apply for a contract specialist position. It was the perfect intersection of business, finance, cost and price analysis applied in the shipbuilding industry. I returned to W&M for my MBA in 2017 to further enhance my business education where I concentrated on engineering and technology development, which allowed me to explore the more technical side of business. I enjoyed the technological and analytical courses. After earning my MBA, I began studying for the project management professional certification and passed the exam. As a contract specialist for the Department of Defense, the project management professional certification combined with my contract professional certification have proven to be invaluable tools.
How did your internship experience prepare you for your career?
I learned so much from this internship that I still apply to my career today. I was able to work on problem solving for clients and using resources like Google to my advantage. I still think of this experience as truly invaluable as it taught me so much about working with technology and different people.