Interning at Schoolhouse is such a unique experience! | Intern Spotlight: Viraj K
Hi everyone! My name is Viraj K! I’m a third-year Computer Science student at Georgia Tech and I had the great privilege to be a Summer ‘22 Software Engineering Intern at Schoolhouse.world! I worked on a variety of projects at Schoolhouse, from automated safety reports to our Classroom Tools feature, and I’m excited to share my experiences with you all!
How did you become interested in computer science and software engineering?
Since the first day I got to tinker with a computer (which subsequently resulted in said computer being taken apart), I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that a bunch of sand and “fancy” rocks cultivated what is one of the most impactful inventions humanity has ever interacted with. It was by mere chance that my journey with computer science began in 9th grade when I was placed in my school’s AP Computer Science Principles class. On our first day, we learned about the endless impact computer scientists can have across all different kinds of industries, and to an individual like myself who has a vast amount of interests across many different disciplines, computer science was the thread that tied all the beads together for me. From that moment onwards, I knew that computer science was the field I wanted to pursue.
Did you have a favorite project you worked on during your internship?
My favorite project I worked on during my internship happened to be my intern project itself which was Classroom Tools! I’ve always loved building products from a simple idea to a full blown application for anyone to use. Classroom tools started off as an idea to elevate the experience for teachers using Schoolhouse and allow them to use in-platform features to better understand and support their students' academic journeys. We began with interviewing teachers and understanding their current and ideal use cases for Schoolhouse. We scoped out what Classroom Tools could look like feature wise and then passed our list over to Schoolhouse’s Summer ‘22 product design intern Jennifer H to turn our bullet points into beautiful visuals. From there, I went from a blank screen that just had “hello” on the top left to what is now our live Classroom Tools feature. This project was everything I could have asked for!
What was one challenge you faced while working at Schoolhouse?
Like any intern, you usually start off pretty intimidated with the preconceived notion that you should be able to figure everything out on your own, and I was no different. However, through various talks with my mentor (shoutout Justin!) I learned that was far from the truth. I overcame my fear of asking questions and learned the importance of accepting that when I don’t understand something, it is important to get help when I need it. At the end of the day, we’re all here to help each other and that everyone around you wants to see you succeed.
How have you grown during your time working at schoolhouse.world?
The way I grew the most during my time at Schoolhouse.world was learning how to be a better team member. The more I collaborated with my teammates, the more my knowledge of the codebase and various techniques grew and I ended up contributing back the knowledge that was graciously passed to me. As I gained a better understanding of our mission and goals outside of the core platform (such as making our community’s experience better), I was able to provide thoughts and ideas of how we can improve and grow. Throughout the course of the internship, I learned to construct thoughtful responses to various questions and craft plausible action plans which helped me be more comfortable in contributing to areas outside of engineering.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I’m a huge sports fan (mainly football and motorsports) and like to either watch games and races or participate in them myself. If I’m not glued to the TV screen or out on the field, I’m usually exploring different nature spots or restaurants with my friends from school.
What is next for you as your internship comes to an end?
In a couple of days, I’ll be starting my third year at Georgia Tech studying Computer Science! On campus, I’m an active member of our flag football club so I spend a lot of my free time on the field.
Do you have any funny stories or notable moments from your time at Schoolhouse?
There are many notable moments and fun times I’ve had during Schoolhouse! The memory that immediately comes to mind is the time when part of our team went to an escape room in the Bay Area. Justin, Elysa, Mariah, Akshay, April, Prakruthi, and myself were split into two teams-team Tigers and team Dragons-and we were tasked with finding enough evidence against the other team to have them “locked up.” Getting to do an activity with everyone in-person and just having fun in each other's company was an unforgettable moment with the team.
What advice would you give to future interns or students looking to get involved with schoolhouse.world?
If you’re reading this and have the awesome opportunity to intern at Schoolhouse, my biggest advice would be to enjoy every moment because interning at Schoolhouse is such a unique experience. Being able to see the impact of your work and interacting with the amazing community of Schoolhouse to not only understand how to better their experience, but also how Schoolhouse has impacted them as learners and tutors is a testament to the amazing work being done.
What makes Schoolhouse special is the team and the community so if you’re wanting to get involved with Schoolhouse in any capacity, I highly encourage you to create an account and dive in. Join a session, get certified in a topic you want to tutor, and host a session yourself! Learn new topics and contribute back to the community!
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