IST student SURGEs ahead in internship

Courtney Allen
September 25, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology junior Mason Sosnoski has always been a leader. But through his summer internship at SURGE Business Development, he reached new heights. In addition to his day-to-day internship responsibilities for the State College-based business incubator, he served as lead intern, overseeing 22 of his peers.

Pursuing a degree in security and risk analysis with a minor in information sciences and technology, Sosnoski said he challenges himself every day, and this caught the eye of SURGE’s CEO, Kerry Small. He was then given more responsibilities managing the student interns, ensuring that the team’s daily tasks and projects were completed — something that came easily for him thanks to his experiences at Penn State

"When I got into the College of IST, the group work gave me soft skills but also helped me with delegation and team work, that’s the biggest thing," said Sosnoski.

As part of his internship duties, Sosnoski got to work early and created the daily schedules for all 22 interns. He explained that each morning, SURGE utilizes what they call a "Live it," a reflection tool that allows them to reflect on their experiences in internships. Later, interns can use it for portfolios for future companies.

Then, Sosnoski communicated directly with and helped the 22 interns with their individual tasks as well as group responsibilities. The interns would then split up into groups of their choosing, then select which projects they wanted to complete.

“My communication skills have improved as well as my multitasking,” said Sosnoski. “My mom used to make fun of me for not being able to multitask, but now I can juggle numerous tasks while also helping others."

Throughout his internship Sosnoski worked on his own projects while also serving as team lead on three other projects. He says that one of the best experiences was working on SURGE’s new project, "My Professional Guru." This online career-coaching platform provides each customer 24/7 help on anything related to professional development, such as resumes, cover letters and interview coaching.

"Working on My Professional Guru, I have done everything from the ground up,” said Sosnoski. “Marketing, analyzing market competition, developing projected business sales, pitching business concepts to companies, and making a wire frame of the website and a prototype. [It was] a lot, but honestly, it was great."

A change-of-campus student from Penn State Altoona, Sosnoski now plans to expand his interest in technology at University Park. During his time at the Altoona campus, Sosnoski served as an Undergraduate Research Fellow. The fellows completed projects that divided Pennsylvania into seven regions. Then he, along with a team, were assigned servers in those regions that had data and other information in separate buildings. The main goal was to ensure that hacking would be nearly impossible, as a hacker would have to be in both locations at the same time. The project was a success.

Sosnoski explained that this was one of the projects that helped narrow down his interest in IST, but it was his internship that broadened his skillset and introduced him to other opportunities.

"One thing that I really stumbled upon during my internship was website design,” said Sosnoski. “I never thought I would like website design, but [for my] first project I was forced to do it, and I really like it. I have full control."

He added that his favorite aspect is to modernize websites for older clientele and to add plug-ins tailored to the characteristics of each client. Currently, he is working with Eagle Creek Lodge in Port Matilda, Pennsylvania, helping build the business’ website and grow its search-engine-optimization campaign.

“Through my internship I have had knowledge of the business world. I've had to pitch for companies, build prototypes for websites,” said Sosnoski. "I had never even heard of SEO before, but now I can utilize and structure it myself.”

  • Mason Sosnoski

    College of IST Junior Mason Sosnoski spent the summer as lead intern at SURGE Business Development in State College, overseeing 22 of his peers. He says that the skills and education he gained in the college helped him succeed in this position.

    IMAGE: Provided
Last Updated October 04, 2018