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ServiceDock (through Sage Corps)
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Philip Chwistek

Major: English, Information Sciences and Technology
Hometown: Warrington, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found this internship opportunity advertised on the IST job bulletin system.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Through Sage Corps, an internship abroad program, I was matched with ServiceDock, an Irish startup that specializes in customer service software. At the time of my arrival, the company's main product was a web application that provided customer service solutions through messaging apps (e.g. Facebook Messenger). My task was to flesh out the company’s side project, a visualization tool for customer feedback. ServiceDock had already developed a system for people to complete short customer experience surveys through Facebook Messenger, and needed a way to present all that data. Ideally, the platform would be used by franchises to analyze both company-wide and location-specific feedback. Most of my work revolved around designing and developing the visualization solution. Towards the end of my tenure, the company pivoted focus, and my project became a part of ServiceDock’s primary product.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, I learned the importance of side-projects, especially when it comes to the tech world. Class is really only there to teach the fundamentals. It is with projects, internships, and other hands-on activities that one can really shine as a potential employee. I also discovered the effectiveness of my English major in the workplace. The tech sector in Ireland is incredibly diverse, and in my case, over half of ServiceDock was Brazilian and, naturally, not native English speakers. Quite often, my Brazilian colleagues would comment how much easier it was for them to communicate with me, as my language was cleaner and more precise than that of my other native English speaking colleagues.

It is with projects, internships, and other hands-on activities that one can really shine as a potential employee.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After my internship experience, I have become significantly more interested in data visualization and data science. These new interests have led me to the realm of visual journalism, where big data, data visualization, and writing meet to tell stories, especially ones that relate to civic life. Great examples can be found at pudding.cool and fivethirtyeight.com. I also believe that I can leverage my English degree a bit more in this discipline as compared to more standard data visualization careers. My newfound interest in data science also means that it would be best for me to fill some of my elective space with more statistics and math courses. I would like my next internship, ultimately, to be related in some form to visual journalism.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students only if they are able to receive funding for the Sage Corps program from various grant sources. The internships through Sage Corps are mostly unpaid (I received a symbolic 50 euros a week), and the program itself is quite expensive, perhaps a bit overpriced.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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