Between May and September of this year, Coursera will have 24 summer interns. Among the group are rising juniors, MBA candidates, math whizzes, student activists, those born and raised within 20 minutes of Coursera as well as those who live an almost 24 hour plane ride away. As part of the Meet the Courserians blog series, we wanted to provide a window into the Coursera intern experience.
First off, we chatted with Software Engineering Intern Gaurav Pasari, a rising senior studying Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As the first generation from his family to come to the US from a small town in India for college, Coursera’s mission hits home.
“My father always impressed upon me the importance of giving back, leaving a legacy,” Pasari says. Even though he is just starting his career, he’s already had experiences more seasoned professionals dream about, including internships with Amazon and hedge fund Citadel. One major tenet he looks for in an employer is the opportunity to serve and help others.
“The mission is huge for me, but so is the culture,” Pasari says. In contrast to some of his past experiences, he feels “supported professionally and personally” at Coursera while also being tasked with intellectually stimulating technical challenges, such as one of his summer projects to add flexibility and expediency within the platform for varied instructor grading policies.
On the opposite side of the Coursera office, we sat down with People Operations Intern Rachel Song, a rising senior studying Psychology and Asian American Studies at Pomona College. When Song applied for the internship earlier in the year, she was pursuing a position that didn’t yet exist. With a passion for diversity and inclusion, Song helped Coursera realize the importance of having a People Operations intern focused solely on these issues.
“I think my obsession with diversity and inclusion is tied to Silicon Valley’s female whistleblowers,” Song says. As a Bay Area local, Song has been surrounded by the tech world her whole life and seen the industry’s biggest problems up close. Throughout her internship, which has coincided with a particularly tumultuous time for diversity and inclusion in the tech world, she’s gotten to work towards tangible change, such as helping facilitate unconscious bias training and contributing to employee resource groups.
Finally, we chatted with Software Engineering Intern Franck Nijimbere, a rising senior studying Math and Computer Science at Morehouse College, who, like Song, is focused on tearing down barriers in the tech world. Part of the reason Nijimbere chose to apply for a Coursera internship is the company’s partnership with Code2040, a US nonprofit focused on empowering underrepresented minorities, particularly those who identify as Black or Latinx, to succeed in tech and close gaps within the industry.
Nijimbere sees parallels between the Code2040 and Coursera missions. Both organizations focus on giving individuals the tools to elevate themselves. Hailing from Burundi, a landlocked country in Eastern Africa, Nijimbere used e-learning throughout high school. He cites this “unrestricted access to education” as a major factor in him coming to the US for school and gaining access to top professional opportunities, such as interning at Google, Goldman Sachs, and now Coursera.
In his role at Coursera, Nijimbere has helped with database migration from SQL to Cassandra. On his own time, he and two friends started an organization called Build257, which is inspired by Nijimbere’s own experiences with online education and aims to connect high schoolers in Burundi with mentors and the tools they need to succeed in the tech and innovation fields.
As summer’s end fast approaches, it’s bittersweet for interns and managers alike to reflect on the past few months. Whether collaborating in the boardroom or go-karting at a team offsite event, our talented, passionate interns become an integral part of the Coursera community. Looking ahead, the fall intern program will start in September and we’re excited to welcome new ideas and energy to the Coursera family.
Interested in becoming part of the Coursera team? Check out our Careers Page to learn more about available positions, company values and perks and benefits of working at Coursera.12