Interviews and internships shape IST senior's future

Courtney Allen
June 14, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Students in the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology are required to complete one internship to graduate. Senior Ryan Feng has exceeded that requirement, holding an internship every summer since beginning his college career.

Feng, who is majoring in information sciences and technology in the design and development option, has completed 27 interviews in this school year alone with some of the world’s most successful and highly regarded companies.

“I wanted to pursue more than one internship because of the opportunity to make a difference in the world.” said Feng. “Having my voice heard at a big company was very rewarding, and I wanted to get out there and make another positive impact on society.”

Penn State is well known for its various career fairs, including the College of IST’s annual Future Forum and Pro Expo. These annual recruiting events allow students to explore career and internship opportunities from a number of companies that are specifically looking to hire IST students.

Since he was a freshman, Feng has applied to 90 internships and attended four career fairs per semester.

“The largest thing I gained from career fairs is wisdom in approaching recruiters,” he said. “You just have to keep going and going and never feel discouraged, even when interviews or conversations go wrong.”

He explained that he tries to remember that recruiters are humans, too, which makes it easier to confidently approach employers.

“Learning how to make small talk and talk confidently about my past experiences led me to the six offers I have today,” he said.

Out of the 17 companies that granted him 27 interviews, Feng had offers from J.P. Morgan, Boeing, Deloitte, Johnson & Johnson, Exelon, and Eaton. He is currently interning at J.P. Morgan Chase in San Francisco. 

Feng’s ambition first landed him in Chicago as an intern with UnitedHealth Group. He explained that his first internship experience was significant because he learned how his IST education could translate in the business world, and how essential computer programming is to all fields of work.

“It was my first paid job and my first time working in a corporate environment, so I had much to learn,” he explained. “I entered with some expectations about what I would like but ended up surprised.”

Feng credits the success of his college career to the real-world experiences he’s gained from his internships. Being able to fluidly and efficiently work in teams to develop and present projects are skills he’s applied to his IST coursework.

“I also learned which IST classes are the most important to focus on,” he said. “These classes are very in-depth and each topic showed up in the internships and in my 27 interviews.”

Feng credits his courses in data organization, object-oriented software design, and organizational structures with providing him the foundation needed to succeed in his internships. In those courses, he has gained extensive knowledge and experience with the foundation of software development, such as user experience design, front-end development, quality assurance testing, and automated data visualizations.

While Feng has been preparing for a successful career, he also values the opportunities to get involved in the overall Penn State community. He volunteered during Penn State Startup Week, a weeklong University event dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship, as a member of the student committee. Throughout the week, Feng hosted keynote speakers, set up networking workshops, and encouraged students to start their own businesses and explore internship opportunities. 

In addition, Feng delves into acting and stand-up comedy as a theatre minor, which he says has allowed him to be more confident with recruiters.

He also credited his success to the morals and values his family instilled in him as a child.

“I am the son of Vietnamese refugees and my parents’ love, sacrifice and advice contributed to my drive for internships and career advancement.” said Feng.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, he came to Penn State to explore the East Coast and to pursue the career opportunities Penn State offers to its students.

“We are lucky we have so many different clubs, career fairs, info sessions and opportunities to network with the industry,” he noted. “As IST students, we can work in any industry we want, and our skills are in demand.”

As Feng reflects on his diverse internship experiences, he advises future students that the most important thing to look for when exploring career options isn’t salary or location. Rather, it’s the compatibility between the employee and employer.

“I learned career stuff is like dating where you see if your personality and the company’s personality clicks, and if you truly enjoy the company and industry,” he said.

  • Ryan Feng

    Ryan Feng

    IMAGE: Provided
Last Updated June 18, 2018