#TeamWP: Intern Edition – Meet Our Engineers!

Whitepages has been fortunate to have an exceptional group of interns this year, including three engineers! As the summer season comes to a close, we sadly have to send our budding talents back to school, but we wanted to highlight some of the work they’ve been doing and hear their stories. Below are accounts from our three Engineering Interns: Coresite, Software, and Premium.


Meet Aaron: Coresite Engineering Intern

Aaron will be a junior at the University of Washington this fall, studying Computer Engineering. He also works as a teaching assistant for UW’s introductory Computer Science courses.

As part of the Core Site team at Whitepages, I am working to make the website experience better for Whitepages’ users. Although I have looked at many different tasks during the summer, my biggest focus has been creating tools to help team members understand problems facing the site and how they can be solved. One thing that surprised me was when, on only the fourth day of my internship, I was able to load the public Whitepages site and see a feature that I had implemented – the company is serious about helping its interns make an impact, and in less than a week I was able to experience the entire process from identifying a problem and building a solution to testing, documenting, and releasing the changes.

From the very first time I visited the Whitepages office, I could tell that their efforts to build an excellent company culture had paid off. Through the supportive attitude of my coworkers, I have never stopped feeling like a part of the team. Above all, people at Whitepages are willing to help me learn and improve, even in areas of the business that aren’t strictly related to my job.

If I have learned anything this summer, it has been that the surest way to build a good product is to build a good team, and this is the value of the company that resonates most with me.

From Aaron’s manager, Mike Spiz: “Aaron’s summer internship was all about finding and tracking website anomalies. Aaron spent the first half of his internship fixing [any] errors and significantly reduced our baseline error rate. The second half of his internship involved creating a site health dashboard that leverages many of the analytics tools that we use.”

Meet Chen: Software Engineering Intern

Chen is a rising senior in the Computer Science Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

What I like the most about the internship is that the things you do really matter. As someone that did not have a ton of experience in web development before this internship, I am constantly amazed by the amount of trust and support our team gives me. Gradually, I’ve become more confident in my ability, more eager to learn, and I feel fulfilled with all the work I have done. As of seven weeks into the internship, I have code that is almost ready to ship!

On our recent intern kayaking trip, the front desk staff asked us if we were a young company. When we told him that our company was almost 20 years old, he said, ‘you all look very young’. Looking around at all of my energetic colleagues, I feel that it is pretty amazing how a 20-year-old company still has all the energy to push out new products and trying different things instead of just doing the same thing day after day. I am truly glad that I decided to come to Seattle and join Whitepages this summer.

From Chen’s manager, Mike Spiz: “Chen’s summer internship involved a massive cleanup of the style sheets for Whitepages.com. Over the last two months, Chen has methodically pored over the code for every page on the site and either standardized or eliminated unused styles and HTML. This was a huge project with a lot of impact on the production site. Chen handled all of this very well and we appreciate her efforts.”

Meet Jack: Premium Engineering Intern

Jack is from Phoenix, AZ, but has spent most of his life in the Pacific Northwest. He is an incoming senior at the University of Washington, pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering.

[For] my summer internship, I wanted a job where I would be doing meaningful, difficult work, and I wanted a job where I would be treated like another member of the team. Fortunately, I’ve gotten all that I wanted out of working with Whitepages. In my time here, I’ve worked with three unfamiliar programming languages and many different frameworks. There have been a lot of challenges, but every time I’ve gotten stuck, there’s been someone nearby who is happy to help.

From the moment I got here, I was treated like a full member of the team.  It was a bit of a surprise the first time my team met for our bi-weekly planning meeting and I was encouraged to contribute. I’ve scheduled meetings, set timelines for my projects, and even been consulted on technical issues that I had experience with.

My internship here at Whitepages has been everything I asked for and more.  Sure, it hasn’t always been easy, but the opportunity to learn so much and contribute to a company who treats me with respect has been invaluable, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

From Jack’s manager, Dhass Thirunavukarasu: “Our interns get real life challenges where they must learn our internal business as well as new skills/languages which are immediately applied to their projects. Jack learned our internal systems, new programming languages, and mobile framework. He was able to use these to build existing new mobile experiences and delivering services that will live on as part of our products.”

We at Whitepages have been so lucky to have such talented summer interns as part of our team. Read all about our Internship Program in this previous blog post, and look for more #TeamWP Intern Edition stories!

Interested in joining the Whitepages team?

View our current job openings

#TeamWP: Intern Edition – Meet Mimy!

Mimy Mersha is a Summer Intern with the Customer Care Team. Mimy’s responsibilities include organizing our customer interview and survey data, analyzing the user experience, and providing product feedback based on those findings. She was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and raised in Seattle, WA. She is currently a Finance Major at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management.

Read about Mimy’s journey to discovering her career path and her internship with Whitepages.

 

At Boston College, I provide free consulting services to start-ups through Consult Your Community, as well as work to empower women through the club Women in Business. Though almost everything I currently am involved in relates to Business, the path to Business School was a complete accident. As a tired and nervous senior in high school, I did not read all fifteen of my college applications as closely as I should have, and this is how I accidentally became a Pre-law Finance Major. At the time, I did not know what I wanted to do, so I took this as a sign and decided not to change my major or my post-graduate path.

Right after high school, I joined Microsoft as a Finance Intern on the Americas Team. (At this point I did not even really know what Finance was, but I knew I wanted to learn.) I stepped onto their campus optimistic, but also anxious. My tasks included compiling client bank information, and creating Excel and PowerPoint slides. When I had some moments of free time I scheduled meetings with employees in different departments, strengthening my networking skills and learning more about the company. I grew tremendously at Microsoft, but I didn’t feel like I was really helping the organization overall. It made me feel as if Business might have been the wrong career path for me. I was so excited that I had gotten an internship, that I did not consider what I wanted out of the experience, and if that specific finance internship would meet those needs.

After a year of business school, I felt I was prepared to try another internship. This time I wanted a great internship opportunity that would get me excited about my future. I chose Whitepages partly because it is a smaller company and they would need every member of their team to do a significant amount of work, including their interns. It is very important to me that I am of use to the company that I intern with. I also chose Whitepages because I love the energy of the company! I enjoy that there is a great emphasis on collaboration. Everyone seemed to be passionate about the work that they were doing and wanted to partner with others to make the best product for the customer. This was the type of company that I dreamed of interning for!

While working at Whitepages this summer, I have found that all my previously held beliefs about the company are true. There were moments during my internship where I felt like I had failed, but in these moments I was supported by many co-workers who were eager to help. It has been a pleasure to see employees who are incredibly invested in the success of the company, not just because it is their job, but because they genuinely feel attached to Whitepages, and as a result, they are willing to go above and beyond to ensure the company does well. My extraordinary co-workers have taught me a lot about work ethic and consistency, as well as a lesson in not taking myself too seriously.

Whitepages has been a great place to grow! I hope to see this company continue to succeed!

 

Mimy (far right) with some of our awesome 2017 Summer Interns!

 

Are you interested in joining Whitepages and becoming a member of our world-class team? View our job openings here!