To accurately describe how I accidentally became a TechPoint Xtern, I first should explain what led me to apply for an internship at Mimir. As an incoming junior in Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, my area of study has been finance and marketing. Last fall, I began to pursue a summer internship and my goal was to get real world experience in a field related to my major. My expectation being that my internship would help me decide my career path.

I found out about the sales and marketing internship at Mimir through a friend who had a mutual connection with one of our founders. I was drawn to an internship with a startup company that was founded by other Purdue students.

At that time, Mimir was headquartered across the street from Purdue’s main campus in The Anvil, a former church converted into coworking space. The first time I walked into the 800-square-foot, one room office and met the team, I loved the atmosphere and entrepreneurial spirit. I knew that I could thrive at Mimir.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned at a startup tech company, it’s that plans change. While I was excited to be able to remain on Purdue’s campus, in early March I was notified that Mimir would be relocating and expanding to Indianapolis. That’s when I also learned about TechPoint’s Xtern program.

The 2017 Xterns gathered for a class photo on the front steps of The Union 525 during Xtern orientation.

The Xtern program is made up of 126 students from universities throughout the nation who are holding internships at Indianapolis-area tech companies. According to Alex Correa, Program Experience Manager at TechPoint, 88 percent of these students are are computer or technology focused while the remaining 12 percent are in fields of study outside of technology.

So when Mimir’s internship coordinator told me that I could be an Xtern I was a little hesitant because I would be part of the 12 percent of students who weren’t focused on technology in their undergraduate studies. However, I felt my talents and non-technical perspective could be a benefit to the Xtern program and decided to move forward. My uncertainty quickly transitioned to excitement to participate in the fast-growing tech community in Indianapolis.

There are so many events included in the Xtern program ranging from social getaways to hearing from a variety of local leaders in tech. At the recent INX3 event that I attended with Mimir, it was great being able to connect with fellow Xterns who were present with their own companies. Because of the events and connections that the Xtern program has provided me, I have become educated and immersed in the Indy tech scene. So much so, that I have decided to pursue a career in the tech industry once I graduate.

It’s crazy to think that just six months ago I was offered an internship at a startup and knew nothing about computer science or the tech industry. Now, immersed in my position, I can truly say that the Xtern program has shown me a career path that I may never have considered.

About the Author
Natalie Stephenson is an outreach & engagement intern with Mimir, a startup founded by Purdue University students coming out of The Anvil in West Lafayette. Mimir provides the tools for instructors to efficiently teach Computer Science courses of any scale without compromising quality of education for students.