Inside the life of a Curology intern

How I got here

I’m currently a senior at Miami University of Ohio graduating this spring with a degree in software engineering. For my final semester of college, I participated in the study away program as a software engineer intern on the Product Engineering team in San Francisco (working remotely once shelter-in-place was mandated in CA). In addition to my 4-days-a-week internship, I’ve also been attending networking events and touring tech companies to broaden my exposure and increase my network.

 Prior to arriving in San Francisco, I was a bundle of nerves—I was starting a new job, had never been to the West Coast, and had no idea what to expect. But turns out, I had nothing to worry about; walking into the office on my first day was amazing. Everybody was so welcoming that I lost count of the number of people who introduced themselves to me that day! Also, the city was a blast. I fell in love with the chicken pesto sandwich from Homegrown right around the corner, and I could eat Salt & Straw ice cream every day for the rest of my life.

Getting to know the team

One of my goals was to have 1:1s with my team members, so I set up time to get to know them all a little bit more in the first few weeks. The Product Engineering team is split between those who work out of the SF office and those who work remotely from all over the country—our team spans 6 time zones! It was pretty easy to get to know teammates working in the SF office because I was able to see them every day and go on coffee walks to get to know them in a more casual setting. It was a little more challenging at the onset to get to know those who are permanently remote. For my remote teammates, I scheduled Zoom calls to chat about their career journeys as well as fun things they like to do outside of work. I have to say that my team is probably one of the most nerdy, funny, and genuinely caring groups of people at Curology (and let me tell you, it’s a very high bar). Throughout my time here, I never experienced a problem or challenge that someone wasn’t willing to help me figure out. 

My projects, and the impact I made 

Switching gears, I want to share a bit more about the work that I did during my internship. Product Engineering is in charge of developing both the patient-facing site and the medical providers’ internal site, and prior to this semester, I had very little knowledge about web application development. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to focus my time on frontend development (everything a user sees in the browser) or backend development (the server side that communicates between the database and the browser). 

Ultimately, I told myself that I should throw myself into the deep end and get as much exposure as possible, so I decided to go with fullstack development. While I knew this was going to be extremely challenging, the reward would be learning a ton. In fact, I think I learned more in the past few months than in a single semester at school. On top of that, I got to do some incredible and impactful work. Some projects that I got to work on were:

  • Displaying the number of video and phone consultations on the inbox page
  • Filtering out only valid supervising MDs for state licenses
  • Comparing how different interfaces for the cancellation flow would affect retention on the patient-facing site (this one was definitely my favorite because it was my first team project and I got to explore frontend development, which I ended up loving)

Not only was my work a lot of fun, but I also learned about a lot of new things, like A/B testing, working with Figma, and prioritizing projects and time management within a tight six-week building cycle. I worked on a lot of projects, but it was all worth it in the end; the absolute best feeling in the world was getting a notification saying that my code had been approved! Every time that notification popped up, it felt like Christmas morning or like that scene in The Breakfast Club when Bender throws his fist up in the air.

A pull request approval on Github from super awesome teammate Danny

Internship highlights

Looking back on my internship, I have two really big highlights that stand out. In second place: I got to represent Curology at the Women Impact Tech Conference in San Francisco. I was unsure at first if they would let an intern go, but I was so thankful they did because I got to both meet inspiring women in my field and spend more time with coworkers. I had such a good time talking with people about our company, values, and the work that we do. I also attended a few talks, and it didn’t hurt that they fed us breakfast, lunch, and dinner either!

Our Curology booth at the Women Impact Tech conference in SF in early March 2020

Drum roll please… 

In first place: a few other new employees and I flew to San Diego for three days to spend time at our other office. While in San Diego, I shadowed providers and Support Team members, as well as toured the lab and fulfillment center. I even got to pack a customer’s shipment, which was a blast! I also loved the complimentary happy hour at the hotel, dinner on the beach, and a big dinner that we planned with some of the San Diego team. But I have to say that the absolute best part was when Jasmin, one of our providers and the medical liaison to the Tech Team, brought in the most mouthwatering donuts that I have ever tasted. If you ever see Sidecar Doughnuts, drop everything and check it out!

Farewells and thank yous

Now comes the sad part and no, it’s not just because I’m about to wrap up my internship. When the pandemic started to rapidly spread in the Bay Area, my study away program told all of the students to fly home immediately. I took the next flight out to Chicago, where I have been finishing up my internship and my classes. While it hasn’t been ideal, it has been truly inspiring to see the entire company come together to support one another and adapt. I’m going to cherish all of the memories I have made here and apply all of my new knowledge towards my future career. I want to give the BIGGEST thank you to everyone who has helped me during this crazy ride!

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