The Benetech Intern Experience: Kevin Leong

By Kevin Leong, posted on

High school student learns the Bookshare operations ropes and creates resource for students transitioning to college

My name is Kevin Leong. I go to Fusion Academy in Palo Alto, and I am going into twelfth grade. I was born in San Jose, but have been living in Palo Alto for around fifteen years. My favorite subject is math; however, programming is my favorite class. My favorite teacher is Elliot who introduced me to the joy of programming. I have been programming for three years, and I am learning a full stack JavaScript framework called the MERN stack. I know HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, JavaScript, and React. I am currently learning Node, Express, and MongoDB.

Kevin Leong sits at a computer with a screen in the background

Bookshare is a Digital Library at My Fingertips

I am an avid Bookshare user and have been using it for the past eight years. I love being able to read books anywhere I go. I enjoy needing only one device to read my books. I had a brain injury when I was six, which impaired my visual brain processing. I get fatigued when I read text in a small font, so I use enlarged print to read; however, I need breaks and can only read for a little while. As a result, I prefer to listen to audiobooks.

Bookshare has been such a big help for me because I have a digital library at the tip of my fingers. I only have to carry my phone and headphones around to read a book. Before Bookshare, I would have to lug four huge textbooks with large print compared to my classmates who only had one textbook. Fortunately, since I started using Bookshare, I no longer need to bring so many books with me. I used to hate reading and still prefer to listen to books; however, I enjoy books a lot more now. I don’t have to stop at the climax because I am tired and can’t read further. I love to get transported into a story, and my favorite book series is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

Internship Offers an Inside Look at Operations

The most enjoyable aspect of the internship is getting to know the Benetech community and the wonderful staff who make it possible for me to access the vast library of Bookshare books, many that I would not otherwise have access to. As an operations intern, I have been working in the Collection Development department. I learned how to scan, upload, and proof the books that go into Bookshare. I was surprised to learn how many steps go into the entire process of making books available on the Bookshare site.

Interns Research College Transition Resources

The most challenging aspect of the internship has been the research to identify resources for students with disabilities who are transitioning from high school to college. With my vision challenges, I have difficulty scanning websites; however, I have learned a lot of relevant information that will help me and other students on the journey after high school. One of the most important skills that students can learn for success in college or in a career is effective communication.

After high school I plan on going to college or a programming boot camp. Benetech has been invaluable for my self-exploration, and I learned about my strengths and weaknesses as well as how to express my needs. Knowing how to advocate for myself is an important asset that will help me as I move forward from high school.

Learn how Bookshare helped another student, Emery, discover a love of reading.

Kevin Leong and Arthi Chandra are the Benetech operations interns for the summer. Read Arthi’s story.