As I drove into Oregon to begin my internship, I was stuck by the wondrous landscapes and scenery. The beauty of Oregon is beyond compare. Tapestries of wildflowers lead to snow-capped peaks, varied shades of ferns and moss line babbling mountain streams, beautiful waterfalls as tall as office buildings are around every bend, and the tidepools and ocean beaches provide surprising discoveries with each low tide. Even the food is a sight to behold, with farmer's markets bringing new delights each week to tempt your palette.
The second thing that continues to inspire me is the hospitality of Oregonians. As a newcomer in a strange place, never have I felt more welcomed by my co-workers, fellow Audubon volunteers, and even my landlord, as I have felt here. My co-workers instantly made me feel I was a valued part of the team, my landlord has become a cherished friend, and Audubon allowed me to join their fundraising teams and help raise over $150,000. I've only been here a matter of months, yet I feel as if I've always lived here; I belong here.
The internship itself has been the perfect mixture of fun activities for the interns and meaningful tasks. There were so many fun activities from which to choose; there was always something going on so it was easy to connect with people and build relationships. Outside of work, I got to go whitewater rafting, and hiking and camping at Mt. Hood. I ate until I exploded at the all-you-can-eat ice cream event with the gamers, and I stuffed my face at the cheese-lovers events and factory outings. I visited a ton of museums and historic sites, I collected a small mountain of geological treasures at the Rock and Mineral Festival, and I got in touch with my roots at the Scottish Festival.
The projects I was assigned were precisely the type of work I hoped for. The work was fascinating, and while it was challenging, help was always available if necessary. I was always so excited to get to work that I never had to set an alarm! My team was fantastic! My boss Yedu Jathavedan (below), my mentor Nagendra Ketineni, and my second line manager Alex Henstrom had open door policies and were exceptionally supportive. I learned more than I ever dreamed possible, and I felt I accomplished something and contributed to the team.
Thanks to Laura McCarson, my internship at Intel culminated in two rare honors (1) speaking directly with CEO Bob Swan (above left) and (2) meeting with CSR Director Suzanne Fallender (above right). From these awe-inspiring individuals, I received sound advice, I grew even more excited about the direction Intel is taking in the future, and I developed a deeper appreciation for Intel's commitment to social and environmental issues. The culture of Intel is unusually supportive - not just supportive of one another, but also of the community. When I walked in the door my first day, there was an immediate sense that Intel is a company that has a real heart. That culture starts at the top, and I am so fortunate to have met with two of the people responsible for Intel's heartbeat.
On my final day, I was pleasantly surprised and very grateful to receive a note from Mr. Swan. In the note was a piece of advice that I intend to follow: "Every minute of every day is an opportunity to have an impact on someone or something. Don't waste them!"