Meet Our 2014 Summer Interns—Part 2

By Benetech, posted on

We’ve just wrapped up a second successful year of Benetech’s Summer Internship Program. You can read about one of our 2014 interns—Pascal Pepin—in Part 1 of this blog series.

Today we’re pleased to introduce you to four excellent interns who worked with our Bookshare team: Priyanka Amin-Patel,Derek Slone, Tara Singh, and Katharine Grant. Their efforts went towards getting the word out about Bookshare, expanding the collection, and helping with the new Bookshare data warehouse.

Please meet Priyanka, Derek, Tara, and Katharine:

Priyanka Amin-Patel
My name is Priyanka Amin-Patel. I am a sophomore studying political science at De Anza College. During this internship at Bookshare, I have worked on Bookshare’s new volunteer project, Team-Up for Textbooks, as well as on collection development tasks like metadata, proofreading, and scanning of books. For the Team-Up for Textbooks project, I helped create instruction documentation for prospective volunteers, draft job descriptions, and make flyers to recruit volunteers. I also helped with the first volunteer event for Team-Up for Textbooks. It was really exciting to get to learn about the inner workings of a nonprofit, as well as about Benetech’s multiple programs and initiatives. My favorite part of the internship was a recent company all-hands demo meeting, where we got to see new tools developed by Benetech’s different initiatives.

I’m really grateful to Benetech for everything this internship has helped me learn and achieve. I’ve learned a lot about how nonprofits and social enterprises work, and how I can succeed in a professional workplace. Thank You especially to Volunteer Program Coordinator Madeleine Linares and Volunteer Program Manager Brenda Hendricksen for all your help and support during this internship!

Derek Slone
My name is Derek Slone and I am going to be a freshman in college. I just graduated from Junipero Serra High School and will be attending Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington in the fall, studying physics. This summer at Benetech, I have been very busy working on Bookshare’s new volunteer project, Team-Up for Textbooks, and on collection development tasks including metadata, proofreading, and scanning of books.

For the first few weeks, with guidance from Volunteer Program Coordinator Madeleine Linares, I learned about Benetech, and more specifically about Bookshare and the workings of getting books into the collection. This helped me understand the process of making Bookshare books accessible. Priyanka and I then began working on Team-Up for Textbooks. We first wrote up instructions for every part of the process involved in this new project. After a few days of instruction writing and editing, we researched the project plan. We wanted to answer questions such as: Who was going to participate in this new volunteer project? What would be the means of communication? Finally, we created rough job descriptions and sample postings that could be distributed for advertising Team-Up for Textbook. Throughout this process, in collaboration with Madeleine and Volunteer Program Manager Brenda Hendricksen, we also determined and helped produce the best tools for this new project.

Tara Singh
Hi, my name is Tara Singh and I am a senior at Mission Middle College. I found out about the Bookshare Summer Internship Program after being exposed to image description work at school, and I wanted to learn more about Benetech and its services. Being an intern at Benetech this summer not only changed my view about nonprofits in Silicon Valley, but also about tech companies in the Bay Area in general. Much of the proofreading and the image description work that goes into making books accessible in the Bookshare collection is done by volunteers. To expand volunteer engagement, Bookshare is looking for new ways to actively reach out to volunteers and more effectively match their interests and skill sets to the kinds of volunteer positions needed. I’m glad I had the opportunity to help the team with these efforts by researching prospective volunteer opportunities. I also produced an article in the Bookshare newsletter!

Katharine Grant
My name is Katharine Grant and I’m a junior at Evergreen State College, studying Linguistics and Sociology. I volunteered at Bookshare last summer and was interested in doing more with the program when I heard about the internship opportunity. This summer, I worked with the Data Warehouse that is used to analyze Bookshare statistics around the collection, membership information, and downloads of the titles by and for Bookshare members.

I primarily worked on the canned and customized reports used to track the book collection, downloads and member numbers. The most critical work I did was to confirm that the numbers were accurate and also to improve the usability and organization of the reports. I also documented the steps on how to make changes so that new people can learn the process, as well as made copies of each report for easy reference. I learned about Visual Studios and how to edit SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS, canned reports) and SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS, customized reports). In addition, I learned more advanced uses of Excel, including pivot tables and new formulas. Mostly, I learned that data is more complicated than I thought, making it a very educational summer!

You can download and watch a slide deck summarizing what I did over the summer, which I presented at an all-company brownbag talk at the close of my internship.

Are you interested in future internship opportunities at Benetech? We invite you to sign up for our newsletter and check back on our blog for details about ongoing volunteer opportunities and next year’s Summer Internship Program.