This summer, I had the pleasure of interning at Microsoft. While many of you may think of Microsoft as a software company, they have an entire group dedicated to hardware called Microsoft Devices. Microsoft Devices has mechanical engineers working on anything from the design of Surface products to the testing of HoloLens. I worked as a Devices Program Management Intern working within a group called Strategic Sourcing. While sourcing isn’t a direct application of mechanical engineering per se, sourcing engineers work with mechanical engineers (and other types of engineers!) at Microsoft as well as suppliers to get components made for all of our devices. This role is both challenging and exciting because it requires one to leverage engineering, communication, and business skills.

A shot taken at Microsoft’s Redmond campus, where I worked!

For me, the biggest theme of my experience at Microsoft was learning. Every day at Microsoft, I had the opportunity to learn something new. All the engineers I worked with were so friendly and willing to help me understand anything from optics to how we test and verify Surface Devices. This knowledge, and the professional relationships I developed along the way will stick with me long after this summer.

Another highlight of this summer was getting involved in the Seattle community with Microsoft. Microsoft as a company is committed to giving back. There are so many ways as a full-time employee or even as an intern that people can use Microsoft as a platform to engage with their community. One way I was able to do so was through a program called DigiGirlz, which is part of Microsoft’s efforts to open opportunities in tech to middle and high school girls. Fellow Trojan Celeste and I volunteered at one of their day camps, where we did an Arduino activity with the girls. This event helped to generate excitement about engineering not just for the students, but for me as well! It’s so encouraging to see more girls empowered to pursue STEM interests; we need more girls in tech, and events like these can help produce awareness about the field.

Microsoft DigiGirlz Volunteers

Outside of work, I spent my free time exploring Seattle. One of my favorite things to do was taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island. I also bought a road bike and picked up cycling—the Seattle area has so many bike trails. I even took my bike on the ferry to Bainbridge!

Bikes on the ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle

While this summer was full of great experiences, I am super excited to be back in LA and am ready for USC football, tacos, and classes.

Audrey Roberts

Audrey Roberts

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2021 HOMETOWN: Denver, Colorado PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @audrey.roberts On campus, I lead outreach for the USC Rocket Propulsion Laboratory, do materials research in the M.C. Gill Composites Center, and am the Academic Chair of my sorority.