I’m thrilled to welcome six interns to NLX’s first-ever ten-week summer internship program! Our interns will be working under Marketing, Product, and Engineering to help NLX continue to grow while also sharpening their skills, networking, and getting real-world experience.
Our first class of interns hail from all over the United States and abroad, bringing a new, fresh perspective with them. They’re majoring in Business, Finance, Data Science, Data Analytics, Art, Human-Centered Design, Computer Science, and more.
These are not coffee-getting interns, no. We wanted to ensure we stuck to our people-first company culture and crafted an intern program that met our needs as much as theirs.
Our interns are assigned company initiatives to own and implement, with guidance and direction from their respective managers - all Director-level leaders at NLX. Marketing Interns are gaining hands-on experience advancing our speaking, awards, email marketing, and social strategies. Product and Engineering Interns are working on integrations to continue to advance our platform, while our Brand Interns are translating NLX’s unique look and feel throughout all of our technology offerings. Thanks to their hands-on work, our interns are giving an additional lift wherever they contribute.
We’ve seen similar patterns with interns we’ve hired in the past! At the time of their internship, our previous interns were in the midst of career transitions. But the skills they gained and the work they contributed at NLX not only advanced the company, but also ended up catalyzing their careers as software engineers.
One of those interns, in particular, was introduced by another NLX employee, his friend. Following an informational interview, we mutually decided to start him on a six-week internship so he could explore a career role transition with us. Proving to be a quick study, we moved to onboard him as a full-time employee and member of the Product Team after six weeks. Cody Lane, or “Coco” as he nicknamed himself, is a cherished employee who strongly embraces our company culture and is quickly growing in stature in his new career as a Product Manager.
Our internship program was intentionally designed by our Director of Operations, Ellie Ransom, who had prior intern program management experience from Columbia University. She designed a program for our company that matched our stage of growth and our culture. She began by crafting the steps and processes required for onboarding, standups, budgets, and more, ensuring that the professional and personal growth of interns was embedded as part of NLX. Special thought and care went into the intern training and orientation program to ensure each person understood what we do, how we talk about ourselves, different aspects of the business, and what they would be working on during their ten-week experience… so that everyone feels connected, included, and supported.
I’m also proud to share that our interns are made to feel a part of NLX by receiving competitive pay and many of the same benefits our employees enjoy, like a stipend to create NLX swag, weekly UberEats credit, and more.
I’ll never understand the “cost-savings” approach taken by organizations by not paying interns, regardless of the prestige of the brand. Businesses effectively incur a different kind of cost - corrosion to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) and culture - that can be reasonably offset by fairly compensating hard-working interns.
Not everyone can afford to work for free - or even pay to work for free if housing or food isn’t subsidized. By failing to pay interns, businesses reduce the number of interested applicants, diminish the diversity of candidates, and erode equity within the organization. It doesn’t make sense to save a few dollars just to sacrifice something so important as the company's DEIB.
Additionally, it makes your business less competitive! According to a recent article by Bloomberg, “The fight for talent in the tightest labor market in decades has arrived at a new phase: the battle over interns.” Companies that don’t pay their interns may miss out on entry-level candidates who are looking for better compensation elsewhere.
While our internship perks and pay meet best practices within the tech industry and startup space, our internship program, and the intern benefits we offer, serve us best by aligning perfectly with our people-first ideology.
I’ll end with a quick personal anecdote about how my college internship had a lasting impact, almost ten years later…
During my first semester at Columbia University in 2013, I was an intern. My internship was with the Digital Science Center under the management of a young librarian by the name of Ellie Ransom. It was a great experience and Ellie and I developed a great working rapport. Nearly eight years later, Ellie is now NLX’s Director of Business Operations.
Ellie said it best when introducing herself to this semester’s summer interns, “You never know - we could all be working for you one day!” I love that idea - and I hope to see that happen.
On that note, welcome JinMei Merchant, Wendy Huang, Monika Sembiring, Max English, Rashi Dhir, and Kyra McLaughlin!